A little dissent before breakfast

Can’t say I’m thrilled to hear about the caps being imposed upon the CMs, or really how the entire process is being handled. I understand why these restrictions were put in place — fifty people will not fit in the Mythbusters colloquium one way or another, for example — but in practice all they seem to be doing is making people unhappy.

I believe that limitations set in stone are not the way to approach the creative and flexible world of CMs. Highly structured CMs have never had to happen before — in my mind, they’re meant to be as much about bonding with a group of peers who share your interests as they are about their laid-back, casual style of presenting new information. That’s not to say that they’re not “real classes.” Heck, I learned more practical life skills in Main Campbell’s Apocalypse Planning Contingency CM last year than I did in most of my other academic courses. What distresses me now is the number of freshmen and transfer students who are still new to this process, and are now stressed out over something that’s meant to be fun.

I suggested a drop-add period might be wise to instate, as people’s schedules are bound to shift over Christmas break and it would be awful for them to have something that conflicts with their colloquium but no other options because the sections that might work for them have been previously filled. And there are the unfortunate souls who missed the 7:00 window (sometimes by just refreshing a page too slowly) and might be stuck in a course they’re totally not interested in, with no options to force-add or trade. Perhaps instead of hard limits to the number of students in a class, the CM leaders could opt to accept a limited number of additional students (20 in total might make a nice high-water mark) if they’re comfortable leading that many and they feel like their class would lend itself well to a slightly larger group. While Classic Russian Literature would probably work best with a smaller number of people to facilitate intense literary discussion, for example, something like the Mythbusters CM could handle more people as they’ll just be watching an episode and demonstrating experiments together.

Hopefully we’ll get this process figured out. I’m leading the Tea CM this semester, and I’ll be sure to ask the students I’m working with how they feel about this process, and see if we can’t generate some solutions together for the next time sign-ups roll around.

2 Comments

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2 Responses to A little dissent before breakfast

  1. Patrick

    I appreciate your comments Erika. I hope we can come up with a solution that everyone can agree with. Great blog! Bookmarked!

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