Video: COM242’s half-time special (or how to “unlecture”)

About this video: In the latest COM242 class on Scientific Research Methods (wheee!), students prepared a little “half-time” surprise. Watch for the girls in the center row… (full 1hr class video here)

As most college professors will attest, one and a half hours isn’t a lot of class time (my grad classes can stretch 4hrs!). In the local context though, it might be a little different… Singaporean students want breaks. I’m not against the idea, so long as students learn better, which is the point. The only thing I’d need to do as an instructor is to make sure I can fit boat-loads of class material under the clock.

This was where I thought we’d have some fun…

Since I’d tend to forget about giving breaks in class, I made a deal with the students. If they got creative with the way they asked for breaks, I’d give them longer ones. Now before you start thinking, “oh boy, there goes the class”, I’ve found that I could still talk about the week’s class topic in an “un-lecture” fashion. While it appears to be a diversion, class conversation can continue casually, with other materials projected on screen (e.g. possibly relevant YouTube videos). Since SIM gives out tea/coffee and pastries (does feel like kindergarden… to which I’d ask, “when’s nap time?”), students can munch and yak openly about class, ask strange questions and essentially break the linearity that is the sin of lectures.

In summary, break time = no lecture time, but it doesn’t mean learning needs to stop.

Aside: Judging from the murmurs from a student blog, it looks like we’ll beat this lecture stunt sooner than later… stay tuned!

10 thoughts on “Video: COM242’s half-time special (or how to “unlecture”)

  1. Great idea!! Encouraging students to stay creative all the time. It’s fun and if I am your students i will look forward to this innovative pranks – don’t overdo tho:). As for the pastries and coffee (and possibly nap !), I frowned at first but on second thought, it does make alot of sense to ensure that students are comfortable before learning can be optimised. SIM is bold enough to make a difference. I wish my school can do the same. You are on track – teaching COMMUNICATION.

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  3. haha… scary to know sometimes we are being watched… hope u dont flim during tests too..hahahaha

  4. When Sandra (my partner) taught at SIM she commented on the coffee pastry thing too. They broke the final class early (once only!) and the students wouldn’t leave until the coffee and pastries had been delivered and consumed. They began to think that the students only came for the refreshments. šŸ™‚

  5. M-H: I agree… there was a class when the pastries didn’t arrive and they wanted me to call security about it. Imagine that! šŸ˜€

  6. Bet the other lecturers are muttering, “This Kevin ah, spoil market for us…” LOL. Nice one, Kevin. A word of caution though — students may just focus a bit too much on getting creative (in obtaining breaks) and get sidetracked from the lesson proper.

  7. yahhh… you give alot o assignments!!!
    we are all drowning… *gurgles*

    but it does give us (well me at least) a sense o achievement after finishing an assignment, and i know i have prepared it well. =)

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