Monday, June 18, 2007

Using Students' Disclosures

Getting information from the keepers of the university computer system is nearly impossible. We can hardly get a class list for a math class, let alone other information about students (especially incoming students). We don't have any way to get much information to or from the freshmen, as most of their interactions with the university during the summer are through the advising and orientation offices.

I'm trying to get enough students into my honors gen-ed course so that it will run. Unfortunately, a lot of the advisors are math-phobic, and they seem to be discouraging students from taking this course. This is not a weeder course. It is not going to kill someone's GPA. It's a nice, non-remedial, terminal math course that teaches some nifty mathematics to anyone who wants to have a well-rounded education but who doesn't want to take calculus. This course is ideal for smart kids who are planning on studying the humanities. 

My latest coup has been perusing the "Class of 2011" group on Facebook. There is a discussion thread where students post which classes they're taking. When I see a student taking two honors courses and the regular (non-honors) version of the gen-ed course, I pounce. I look up their name in the campus directory (yay for real names on Facebook), and I send an email to their university email account welcoming them to the university and telling them about the honors version of the class.

I just need to find two more students by mid-August.