Thank you to everyone who responded to my earlier email about face-to-face classes. Here’s how the numbers broke down.
I received responses from about 40 people who wanted face-to-face classes. Of those 40 a few will be out of the program this spring or summer, a few wanted more face-to-face time on the east coast, and one liked the idea in principle, but wouldn’t be able to attend face-to-face classes. A few people also used the opportunity to vent their frustration at not having more F2F meetings, which is fine.
There are approximately 160 people enrolled in the student organizations (the group that got the email asking for a virtual show of hands). 25% responded that they’d like more F2F time.
There are approximately 500 students enrolled in the USF SLIS program. Only about 1/3 live close enough to the Tampa campus to make attending face-to-face meetings a reasonable expectation.
So, the early indication is that it is difficult to advocate for more face-to-face classes. While the show of hands would fill several classes, we know that not everyone is interested in the same classes, nor is everyone in the same place in the program.
I’ve discussed this with several faculty who would also like to have more face-to-face classes, and are frustrated at having so many online classes.
The bottom line seems to be that despite some people’s fervent desire to have more F2F classes (and I am one of those people) the hurdles are significant.
So, our next step is to spend some time being creative.
What I’d like to ask from all of you is to send me some ideas about how to increase opportunities for face-to-face time. There are no bad ideas at this point. All we want to do now is collect as many ideas as we can.
Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
– Integrate video-chat software into classes so there can be a face-to-face component even in online classes.
-Have one of the core Library Administration classes actually run a special collection in the library school which would require regular visits to the collection on campus (provides hands-on training and more face-to-face time).
-Have something like the brown bag meetings, but in the evening or on the weekends.
-Increase the number of student organization social events.
-Have multiple “orientations” throughout the semester when all the faculty gather for a day so students can meet with them and other students.
We want to hear your ideas. I’ll collect them for the next month (and send out a few reminders). Pretend you just got a job at the USF SLIS and your first task is finding a way to bring students and faculty together more often, without burdening those who simply cannot make it to Tampa regularly. In April I’ll post some of these ideas and we’ll include them in an end-of-the-semester letter to the Director and faculty.