I gave them a sheet with instructions (things like, take turns introducing yourselves, your topics and your arguments), opened by introducing to them what the concept of "active listening" means, and let them have at it. They could do the thing where they take turns talking about their outlines and their current problems with it, or exchange outlines (passing outlines one direction, so everyone gets a shot at looking at it). That way they're exchanging ideas and making suggestions as thoroughly as they can.
As usual, there's a range of finished outlines and unfinished outlines, so I had prepped some questions they could ask each other, depending on how done the outline is.
One group was the general social science group, and I think only two students had the same major, and they told me how interesting it was to listen to everyone else's major. There was a group of psych students, having spirited debate on their various topics. The engineering students were diligently passing their laptops and outlines to their right, and the bio group were split between people talking more (because they had unfinished outlines) versus people very quietly going over outlines. And there was a group of Humanities (English and Creative Writing) who were slightly awkward but visibly very earnestly discussing their majors.
For Wednesday I have them bringing in their past essays and reflecting on things they need to keep and improve for this essay, which will hopefully keep them informed on what to do for the paper (which they'll inevitably write on Thursday). On Friday they have to have a full first draft by then, and they'll be doing a workshop on essay structures next. I'll prep another worksheet for them to think through.
When I teach this class again, I'll have all these materials again and I think I'll definitely re-use them, because they seem to work out really well. I feel I can focus on my own work a lot better right now because of it.
Anyway I downloaded Nanaca Crash yesterday and there was no work done on my dissertation as a result. Whoops.
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