Thursday 5 November 2015

Reading week?

We used to have a reading week. This would be Week 6 Semester. Some colleagues programmed one in Semester 2 as well. Now we have some concern that student aren’t getting their money’s worth, at £9,000 a year, if they’re not getting more contact time.  We’re now making sure they get nine hours per week for twelve weeks per semester. Some universities anyway offer ten hours of contact time a week.
One colleague argued that our second and third years are used to a reading week. So we should keep it for them.
I’ve personally planned a bit of a hiatus anyway. No new material will be taught this week, nor week 12 for that matter. It will be time to go over some try out essays, a time to give feedback. Some classes are having one-to-ones. They did ask for more of this in the recent NSS. I’m giving one-to-ones in class whilst those without work do a class exercise.
Another colleague argues that students do need reading week. What about all of those big novels, especially the Victorian ones? They need that breathing space to get some reading done – or even some writing in my case.  
Anyway, assignments are coming in. We’re getting lots of questions.
Perhaps we need to give some other context here as well: students may only see us for 36 hour per semester per module but they’re supposed to study for 200 per module. They have to do a lot on their own. So, our classes become another resource. We must provide what they might find the most useful. This may well be Reading Week, perhaps backed up with the opportunity for one to ones, phone tutorials and feedback via email.
Intriguing anyway is that a first year started talking about Reading Week. They’re not supposed to know the concept. Maybe she knows people from other years or even graduates.                     

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