Final WrapUP :)

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As a transfer student, this was my first semester here at the U of M and to begin with I was a little hesitant about what classes would be like. In my other courses this semester I was surprised to find that TA's were grading my assignments and I had very little, if any, interaction with the professors. I hadn't really put into thought until the last few weeks of the semester how Sara doesn't just stand at the front of the classroom and lecture/give out assignments. Being new to campus, I found this class more inviting and friendly than the others taken this semester. Sara greets us, sometimes individually, talks and participates with us in class discussions, and grades our work herself. She even does some of the assignments along with her students on the blog. I've never experienced a course quite like this. To be honest it was a little weird to get use to because instances like this don't happen often enough within your undergraduate career. Sometimes I even felt shy to say anything because I knew she was always there to hear what we said. Overall the structure of this classroom wasn't what I had expected, but it was a great experience to have received.

Not only was I new to this campus and this structure of classroom, but I've never taken a GLBT/GWSS course before. I've also never blogged or twittered before! It was all new and very overwhelming at times. Throughout a lot of this course I found myself feeling so lost in the readings and assignments. I felt like even if I tried the hardest I could, I still stood below what others would consider their worst (if that makes sense). I felt very behind and as if I missed a prerequisite to get into this course. But this course really made me think, it really made me have to challenge myself and my thinking - and that's a very good thing. I felt relieved when others would voice that readings were a little hard for them as well. Toward the end of the semester I began to feel a little more comfortable with accepting where I was at, and that I wasn't as advanced as some. You have to start somewhere, and that's what I was doing. I felt there was just the right amount of assignments. There was always something to be done, but it wasn't complete overload. Today in class, someone voiced that maybe there could be a list of assignments and different ways to complete the points, like in our diablogs - I thought this was a great idea. You'd still be doing assignments, but you'd get to pick what ones. I also had the slight thought that maybe this wouldn't be a good idea because then you might not be pushing youself to do the harder assignments that don't interest you. It was good to complete a well rounded circle of assignments.

Blogging and Twitter stressed me out to the maximum the first few weeks of class. Although I still have more to learn about blogging and how to get all my cool pictures and videos to show up (like Mary) - I feel great with what I've accomplished. I no longer sweat about how to post entries and comments on the blog; nor to do I curse at Twitter any longer. I'm glad I was able to figure out the technology part of this course.

Because I didn't have anything physical to hand in, I sometimes found myself posting assignments to the blog a little late. But I think it's a great idea to have a blog and reduce paper use. I enjoyed the blog because I was able to look at others' posts about readings in case I didn't understand the article. It was neat that I could read others' assignments instead of people just handing in homework to the teacher that I'd have nothing to compare my work to, or help me develop deeper thoughts. The blog was also a neat way to interact with our classmates thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Overall, I liked the blog (once I got use to it).

I would like to say thanks to all of those who exchanged kind words to me during this semester, as this course was a challenge for my thought process. I'd also like to say thanks to the great blog posters, and the few people who had big voices in the classroom - your ideas and perspectives were heard, and helped me to learn more in depth. This course took a lot of thought and a lot of time for me, but I'm glad I stuck with it because I'm coming out of it with new ideas and views that I wasn't aware of in my daily life before.

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Thanks for all of your helpful feedback here. In your entry, you write: maybe there could be a list of assignments and different ways to complete the points, like in our diablogs - I thought this was a great idea. You'd still be doing assignments, but you'd get to pick what ones. I also had the slight thought that maybe this wouldn't be a good idea because then you might not be pushing youself to do the harder assignments that don't interest you. It was good to complete a well rounded circle of assignments. Your comments here point out a tension that I struggle with a lot in my teaching/structuring of classes. I am always working to find a balance between pushing students out of their comfort zone, but still allowing them to choose how/when/where to experience that discomfort. This is especially true when it comes to using social media/blogs in the classroom. I have found that if I don't structure the assignments fairly rigidly, students won't do them. I also find that if I offer up too many options, it usually overwhelms students. I was very pleased to see how well the diablogs worked and that you all weren't freaked out (well, at least you didn't express your freaking out to me:)) about the different options.

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