The Awards: 3

The Department of Psychology's Teaching Honour Roll just came out for Winter, 2010. I'm happy to say that I (*modestly*) was placed on the Honour Roll with Distinction for all three of my courses. Woot! I also have to mention that 75% of instructors who taught in that term also got on the Honour Roll. Nice going, Department of Psychology colleagues! (But why the pic of the FIFA World Cup Trophy? Because...well, because. The World Cup is on right now. That's why.)

I also had the honour of winning two (!) of the inaugural Tolman Undergraduate Teaching Awards, or TUTAs. (Just say that out loud: toot-ahs, toot-ahs. Fun!) The two I won were:

  • “The adoption of fake accents for educational purposes” (blimey!) and
  • “Assignment most likely to results in a missing-persons report” (because of this assignment--but I've never lost a student...yet)
Why are they named for Tolman? He never studied/taught/researched at the UofA. It was the choice of the Associate Chair of the Department--she's got this quote in her email sig:
"Since all the sciences, and especially psychology, are still immersed in such tremendous realms of the uncertain and the unknown, the best that any individual scientist, especially any psychologist, can do seems to be to follow his own gleam and his own bent, however inadequate they may be. In the end, the only sure criterion is to have fun." (E. C. Tolman, 1959)
So, yeah, the "TUTAs" are tongue-in-cheek awards. But I'm still gonna frame them and hang them up somewhere. Maybe in my Awards Room. That's a good place for them. As soon as I get an Awards Room.

Finally, by popular demand, here are some selected comments from my courses in the Winter, 2010 term, followed up by the every-popular snarky responses:

Intro psych:
"[I] pay to be taught, not to read a textbook"
"Textbook reading should NOT be mandatory for exams"
(Why no love for the textbook? You rated it 4.1/5, which is not spectacular, but not bad either. Like it or not, you're going to have to read in university.)
"exam...focuses too much on [lecture] notes"
"Exam questions need to be better constructed & peer-reviewed"
(OK, I admit I do have to work on my exam questions. But peer-review? And usually, I get criticized for having too few exam questions from my lectures.)
"notes are too straight forward, you can't understand"
(Er, what? I should make them less they are more understandable?)

"not very helpful out of class"
(That's right: I'm not going to explain some theory when you run into me at West Edmonton Mall.)
"Your blog was very interesting & insightful"
(Thank you. That's a very interesting and insightful comment.)
"I missed a day and could not get the notes from the missed class"
(Did you ask me? All you have to do is ask me.)
"kept the class interested and attentive"
"tedious...class was very boring"
"repetitive...maybe try new ways of presenting information"
(What if you three were all trapped in an elevator for 41 hours?)
"I had no time to read [the textbook] since other psych courses also require textbook readings"
(OK, so it's the fault of those other courses. Those darn profs, making you read textbooks. Egad.)

Advanced Perception:
"would be nice to have a real textbook"
"readings were well chosen and definitely preferable to a textbook"
(There are no appropriate textbooks for a 300-level perception course. But that's OK, because you like the readings I chose.)
"quizzes were annoying...but in the end, I was thankful for them--it engages me & forced me to read [the assigned readings]"
"[quizzes] helped solidify my understanding of the main topics &...ensured I stayed up to date with the readings! It also taught me a useful study habit."
(See? Toldja.)
"I often left the class feeling as though he was talking down to us"
"was difficult to approach and was very short with me. I find him extremely snobby and condescending"
(I don't know how I screwed that up. I apologize, and I will honestly try to adjust my tone in the future.)
"forced me to work harder and think longer about the subjects covered" [in a positive context]
(Yeah, sorry about all that work and thinking.)

Why aren't you studying?


Anastasia said...

Congratulations on the fake accent award! What an honour, what an accomplishment, what a thing to add to your Curriculum Vitae! One wonders why you gave no speech - preferably in one of those accents - thanking all the people who helped you get here, telling us of all your hard work and struggles to the top, how it finally feels to be acknowledged, et cetera...

Oh and congrats on the other things too I guess.

Michaela said...

Haha, I like the joke awards! That assignment for 494 looks fun. I totally wanted to take that class, but couldn't fit it in, bugger! Maybe next year.

About that first Perception quote, or rather your response to it: This gives me a fun idea. One night before finals, you rent out WEM (or maybe a less expensive place, like a laser tag arena) and have a game of Psych Theory Tag. The rules go: if you get tagged, you have to explain a concept to whoever tagged you. If you can't then you become It and try to tag someone else. The game continues until everyone has a good understanding of the material and can recite it on cue, or collapses from mental and physical exhaustion.
You know, like a typical study session for finals.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that assignment. I didn't have to call anyone to come find me, per se, but I did bring a friend who is attending Grant Mac with me as a preventative measure because my sense of direction is notoriously bad. He had a grand time laughing at me for that 7-306 one. The number of times I had to climb up and down between the 6th and 7th floor for that was just sad.
Award well deserved. :D

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