I believe that the classroom is a safe space for students to explore, to make mistakes, and discover their strengths and weaknesses, but most of all, to challenge and exceed expectations of themselves. Clearly defined student outcomes make goal achievement possible, and small but frequent self-assessments illustrate growth to the students. My students will learn through lectures, in-class discussions, online discussion postings, introduction to and interaction with new digital humanities technology, and a semester long research project that mimics the scholarly research process. Students are encouraged to become experts on specific topics or books, fostering a sense of ownership for their maturing research and writing skills.
The semester long research project serves multiple purposes. It allows students to experience the process scholars go through when conducting their own research: an artifact inventory, key issues list, preliminary bibliography, rhetorical analysis, abstract, paper proposal, contextual document list, rough draft with peer review, and a mock conference presentation of the final conference paper. These assignments will build their critical analysis skills, cultivate clear and precise writing, incorporate self-assessment, and enable students to become “experts” on their chosen text. Additionally, their commitment to the course should increase. By placing the research project online, students are asked to stretch their technological boundaries, as well as participate in a scholarly conversation with each other about their projects.
My role is to provide my students with a framework of critical analysis skills, which will serve them in both their academic lives and post scholastic careers. Though my students may not refer to the specific works of literature used in my courses, the skills they’ve learned will extend beyond the classroom: the ability to read critically, develop original thought, and express their findings in clear and concise writing. I also believe it is my role to foster a student’s confidence in their abilities to learn new material by providing challenging but realistic assignments and assessments.
My Teaching Philosophy is available as a downloadable PDF here: Stroup.Teaching Philosophy.