So yesterday I wrote up the syllabus for the second part of the Introductory course in my program. (We have Intro Part I and Intro Part II.) I'm so excited about this one. These students were really good...and Part II is going to be half the number of students...nice and intimate (well, intimate for a first-year class.) The ones who are taking Part II are the cream of the crop in terms of their interest and engagement, too.
And, if I do say so myself, I am just damn proud of the syllabus. I feel as if it's a really coherent set of readings...They are all up-to-the-minute and either Canadian or global...(It's a problem that so much of the available literature is American, speaks to the US situation - it's really easy to default to that.) I've built in good films. The units work together as a wonderful, interlocking whole. We end on an "up" note. And I've put in a couple of cool assignments. I think they're really going to like it!
My question for the blogosphere: I am having the students do presentations in groups of 2 or 3. Fun ones, I think. But I've assigned no group assignments, ever. I've resisted it, for some reason. So I am a complete novice in this area. I am wondering if you could tell me what you've found is the best way of grouping students? Having them choose their own partners/groups, or assigning them into groups? Also, what have you found is the best way of spreading out the presentations? I.e. there are six presentation days spread across the course - there's one at the end of each units...and I'd like to have them choose what they're most interested in, but what if they want all the same dates? What are your ways of spreading it out? Do you ever just assign dates/topics randomly?