Category Archives: Teaching

Geotechnical Engineering – Assignment 1

Why is my course important?  We’re asked to explain this “to” our students or “for” our students in our syllabus.  Not that I can’t do this, but should I?  Is explaining the “importance” of our class just another example of … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in assignments, Pedagogy, soil mechanics, syllabus, Teaching, Teaching Soil Mechanics

The Dreaded First Exam

My students are taking a test right now.  It’s the first test of the semester and they look pretty terrified about it all.  If only they knew that I’m just as terrified as they are.  It’s hard setting them free.  … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Exams, Students, Teaching

A lesson from the farm

Wendell Berry writes in Andy Catlett about a young boy of the same name spending time with his grandparents on their farm.  The youth is gently forced outside on a cold winter morning to help his Granddaddy and a family friend, … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Pedagogy, Teaching, Wendell Berry

Motivated Students

I’m an anomaly in my department.  Generally graduate students hit the ground running as they come in, teaching an introductory recitation from their first day on campus.  Because my advisor had a large grant, I was able to, instead, stay … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Motivation, Students, Teaching

The power of a crumpled piece of paper

My office mate, who is teaching for the first time this semester asks, “How can I explain the concept of specific surface area (SSA) to my students and the difference between sands and clays?” For those uninitiated to soil mechanics, … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in demonstrations, soil mechanics, Teaching, Teaching Soil Mechanics

Breaking the Ice

I feel as though I should have some grand first entry, some elaborate introduction to the cyber world, but I suppose enough of my personality will become known soon enough.  For now, I’ll just jump right in. I had a particularly good class Wednesday.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit that it took me until […] Continue reading

Posted in Discussion, Examples, IceBreaking, Teaching