Thursday 14 March 2013

An Options Fair

Out students highlighted recently that they sometimes picked modules that they found to be very different from what they expected. We do produce booklets for them with a blurb for each module. These “booklets” however, run to twelve pages or so, so we couldn’t consider making the blurbs longer.
Of course students could actually contact the module convenor to ask more but it doesn’t always occur to them and if every single student did that for every single module they were considering we’d be working 24/7 for a few weeks on this alone.  
So, we held an options fair where we all made ourselves available to discuss the modules we are offering. I was there to talk about my Intro to Children’s Literature course and also represented a play-writing course, which involves input from regional theatres and a course that works with and is partly delivered by the BBC. The colleague who teaches that only works in Semester 1. As I coordinate three programmes I also had some general queries about patterns of choice.
I didn’t stop for the whole 90 minutes. We must have had at least two thirds of the cohort turn up and most of them were there for most of the time. Some of the things that had been niggling some of them were easily cleared up. Importantly we were able to show that though there appeared to be little choice in some levels / programmes, there was actually plenty of choice within the modules themselves.
There was a real buzz and students were queuing to talk to staff. I talked a lot. It reminded me a little of parents’ evenings when I was a High School teacher. You get dizzy from talking so much and come out thinking “yes, that’s what it’s all about.” Except there were even more positives in this case.           

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