Monday, May 17, 2010

The Theme is Urbanization, Planning and You--The Recap Statement

With summer starting and other research on the horizon, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on New Adventures in Digital History for Spring 2010 semester. I started this blog after seeing some of the great result some of my colleagues had with student feedback on blogs. For me, the blog has always been about creating a space to reflect on the union between the book and more hands on projects in my classes. To be honest, I do not know if the students get the same benefit. They are required to do it, so they do it. They could learn from each other using it, but they probably do not to the extent they could. This opens the door to questioning the utility of the whole thing. I think, that given Rollins' history, the blog is a good idea. Thinking about some of the applied liberal arts mission the at our core, I can't think that making the students use primary sources is a mistake. It is a learning process, but that is the Rollins way.

This semester my HIS 143: United States History 1877-Present, had research and reading focus on Atlanta and Florida. The reason for this was two-fold. First, I am working on a manuscript on Atlanta. It is easier for me (yes, for me) if the students are reading history about Atlanta. Ironically, since I had book issues with this class, I literally had to substitute readings with my articles I have written on Atlanta. Which, from the student perspective, could be good or bad. Beyond easing the pressure on me, the focus on Atlanta also allowed me to explore a Sunbelt versus Rustbelt theme. Much of our in class dialogue focus on big development issues and we spent a great deal of time talking about fundamental changes in terms of policy and practice in the United States. Here again, my own research played a part. I recently completed an article looking at Winter Park development with a colleague and my participation with the Global Challenges: Florida and Beyond RP means that the Florida experience have been on my mind. These things never go as planned, but I think I did get some of the ideas that have been floating around in my head into their heads:)

Overall, I think class was OK. I never can tell and why ruin my summer by reading the class evaluations? One way or another, it was an adventure:-)

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