January 30, 2006

"Power lectures."

The Daily Cardinal -- a student newspaper here -- has a poll today:
Poll Results
What's the earliest class you would take?

8:50, I'm a trooper 48%
11 is doable 45%
Night classes only 3%
Whenever, just no power lectures 3%
"Power lectures"? I've never seen that term. Does it refer to the use of PowerPoint or to some intense, oppressive style of lecturing? Well, the option is only getting 3% so why is there even a special term for this sort of thing, whatever it is?

IN THE COMMENTS: I'm told a "power lecture" is just an extra long class. Not a very descriptive term then. "Endurance lecture" or something would be better. As a lawprof, I don't even like the use of the word "lecture," unless the teacher actually opts to lecture.


Tom said...

A power lecture is a 75 minute lecture, rather than the standard 50 minute lecture. I happen to like power lectures because they allow me to have a schedule where I only have classes on Tuesday and Thursday.

Charles said...

What about web classes? Some universities are offering them with the idea of attracting more paying students, but without the cost of more campus facility support. It can backfire though, as campus students take them to time-shift the class to a more desired time, or just to avoid lectures.

Tom said...

Personally, I hate web classes. The idea of them lured me in at first. Never having to go to lecture and doing things at my own pace sounded great. In reality, it becomes very difficult to keep up with, at least for me, because I would usually have my web class as the last thing to study, and sometimes never got around to it.

Theis said...

We always called them power hours. There's really nothing that rhymes with "endurance".

Bruce Hayden said...

Reminds me of college, doesn't it? Freshman year, when you are young and stupid, you ended up with 8 am classes. I think I was stuck for the year because it was something brutal like a year of chemistry.

By sophomore year, I was on a mostly afternoon kick. We didn't have evening classes, and besides, I had a girlfriend by then. She, of course, was up by 6, practicing flute for an hour before breakfast before her 8 am class.

The only morning classes I remember taking after that were a couple of 8 am accounting classes. It sounds brutal, but we had 5 or 6 of us in my fraternity taking the class, and one would always go to turn in our homework and get the next assignments. It was supposed to rotate, but really didn't, with one guy doing most of the work. We weren't surprised when he was the one who went to Harvard B School, and the rest of us to lower ranked business schools. Still, I was quite happy to get A's in that class, given that I made the first day, mid-term, and finals.

Talking about Tues. and Thurs. classes, I have a number of friends who went to Western State College in Gunnison, CO, not too far from Crested Butte. Most of them were on two day a week classes by their sophomore years so they could do what they went there for five days a week - ski.

Henry said...

8:50 AM is early?

I admit, in grad school, when most classes were "by appointment", I mostly kept a noon to midnight schedule.

Undergraduates do get the bad time slots, I think. I once took human anatomy as an elective, and the once-a-week cadaver lab was 6:30 AM.

Whether or not a 75 minute lecture is any good probably depends on the lecturer. Even a 50 minute lecture can be deadly. On the other hand, I once took a general education civics class in a huge auditorium, probably 500 students, and at the end of the course we gave the professor a spontaneous standing ovation. That guy was very much the exception, though.

Elizabeth said...

Theis, that reminds me of the gospel show, Hour of Power.

I'm offering my second web class as part of my school's coping with Katrina. We've got some buildings still out of commission, and students still scattered around the country. So, we go to the web.

I'm not a big web learning fan. It's a lot more work for me, in that I often end up communicating the same thing 30 times, rather than once to 30 students. Almost everything is written, so that's a time-consuming effort. And this time my course is an intro to poetry section; sound is so important in poetry, so that's causing me headaches in coming up with effective means of getting sound files from and to my students. Ugh.

Pooh said...

I always thought a "power lecture" was the Prof. just barreling straight through - no dialogue, no questions, etc. (Nightmares of Tax Law dance through my head...)