Almost Here

We’re a little more than a week away from the start of the fall semester. Every semester is an entertaining mix of old and new for me. Sixteen of my 48 students this fall will be returnees – students who have made it out of the intro classes and into the advanced sequence. 

But 32 of them will be new, total unknowns in the two sections of intro to photojournalism. (Okay, I know two of the 32 this year, because they have been very active with the student newspaper and took a Maymester course I taught this year.)

Every semester I make notes to myself, what we did in class, what worked, what didn’t. Stealing a phrase from my AP days, it’s called a carryover and sits on my desktop, a double click away from whatever I’m doing. Earlier this summer, I was asked to review a new (British) photography text book and it had me thinking about the order in which I present information to my intro students. All summer I’ve been rolling ideas in my head – move that assignment up, drop that one, how will not doing this then affect that later?

It’s crunch time now – within a week, I need to generate two new syllabi (which, apparently, I’m not required to hand out on the first day anymore, just post online) and, maybe, rebuild all of my presentations. 

Now I enjoy building those presentations (as a Mac guy, of course I use Keynote instead of PowerPoint), and I think I keep them pretty tight. But I’ve sat through lots of really miserable ones (as I’m sure many of my colleagues are doing right now at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in Chicago right now). This morning, I came across a blog entry that talks about why Steve Jobs’ Apple presentations are so strong.

For everyone prepping this week for the semester, the 10 points are well worth studying. (I probably get seven out of these into my classes, need to work on the unforgettable moments, giving them a show and rehearsing.)