Review of the autumn semester

A belated review, since it took me a while to receive and analyse the student data.
Undergraduate – delivered two new lectures, one on the Second World War, and one on Affluence and Social and Cultural Change for our British History since 1945 1st year course. I thought I did a better job on the second than the first – there was simply too much to fit in. The course organiser mentioned in his feedback that some students commented that lecturers spoke to quickly: I’m pretty sure that was me. I had tried to distil the war years down to 4 key themes. I think that next year, I might try to work out what the two big things the undergraduates need to know for the rest of the course are, and plug away at those. Since it’s the first lecture they have here, it perhaps needs to be easier to access (not least because of the likely hangover:sobriety ratio).
Britain in the Second World War course: very pleased with the course redesign, which I think will give the students a better sense of developing themes as they go through. The ‘themes essays’ which I introduced instead of course logs have worked really well: rather than the ‘parish meeting minutes’ which tended to be submitted before, students have really thought about links between seminars. Still some problems with the review essays, however – I need to spend more time making sure that students understand the requirements next time it’s taught. I haven’t been fully satisfied with the WebCT provision either – it’s still going to take another iteration of the course to fully integrate the online material with the taught seminars.
Masters: museum visits worked well I thought, but the Victors to Victims course needs to be revised before I teach it next year. At the moment, I feel as if it runs out of steam as it goes on. At the moment it’s taught in two chronological sections – one on the representation of each world war. It might be better if I did a couple of weeks at the beginning setting a framework, then carried the themes through both world wars.

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