of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Value of Final Conferences

Conferences ended today.

The two images I have posted today represent some of the value of the conferences. I the one on the left, a student from early American history is showing a PowerPoint she did of her research on food in early America.  The students who are discussing it with her are from other history classes, film, and ENG 102.  Because they are not from her section–or even taking the same course–the positive feedback she is receiving has even more meaning.  Also, she–as the other students who present research during conferences–gets to appreciate how much she knows on her topic; something that best comes from answering questions.

The student on the right is showing a film he made in ENG 200.  There were about eight people in my office at the time.  For people to watch and enjoy his film is an affirming experience.  The film was humorous and there is nothing quite like having a real audience not made up of your friends laughing and enjoying your production.

The fact that I bring students together from a variety of classes is what helps make the final conferences so enjoyable and so important.

Both yesterday and today, some students stayed more than two hours enjoying each others’ company.  I know that at one point a lively discussion concerning film was taking place in my office and students were pulling up films and film clips on YouTube.  During that period, I worked with students in the area outside my office.  One film student came for his conference and I mentioned the film discussion.  He went into my office and more than an hour later asked if it was OK if he left without speaking to me because he had another class.  The student had become so involved in discussing film with other film students–as well as with students who were not in the film class–that he had lost track of time.

Gratitude To Faculty Colleagues

My three days of final conferences inconvenience the colleagues with whom I share my bay.  Not only is the noise level increased significantly, but they often need to move through a group of students to go to their offices or to retrieve items from the printer.  The bits of sweets they take are not nearly enough to repay them for their inconvenience.  However, because they are dedicated to students and see the value of the conferences, they are very gracious.  Without their support during finals week, my students could not participate in such a valuable experience.


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