Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Yesterday went okay. I managed to accomplish my goal of getting the students talking, seeming to perk their willingness to share their thoughts and insights. Something that has been sorely lacking for these past few weeks.

Despite this, though, I still had one student fall asleep. There were others who looked at me with skeptical eyes. Hence I wasn't surprised about the email from the department chair, informing the course head (and the rest of us) that the graduate students are complaining. And despite the idea of asking for feedback, the truth of the matter is the issue stems from something a lot more fundamental and primal. That something drastic needs to be done to shock them out of their current state and help them reset.

And it needs to happen tomorrow.

The idea came while I was looking over lecture slides. Feeling once again that this relationship was far too one-sided, encouraging them to sit back and absorb (which we know doesn't work), I found myself staring at the glass of hopped apple cider in front of me. Only a few moments before I had been asking the barista what "hopped apple cider" was, to which the response was "you have to experience it to answer that question." Not a bad sales pitch, huh?

Which is when it dawned on me that these students didn't have ownership because they weren't experiencing all that comes with problem solving. To them, the answers were already a given. And they need to be reminded that this is rarely the case (and if it is, then they really haven't earned their PhD).

So tomorrow, as we dive into RNA interference and CRISPR-Cas9, we'll pause and do a modified flavor tripping experience with white vinegar.  I'm both excited and terrified as there's really only two possibilities for the outcome of this experiment.

Wish me luck.


  1. Good luck!

    And seriously, PhD students need to be encouraged to participate? I'm surprised.

  2. Not only is sleeping in class stupid (waste of tuition), it's just rude. Maybe I say that as a fellow teacher who is also struggling to engage her students.

    I can hardly wait to hear how your experiment goes, and I'm so impressed that you came up with it. Genius, you! What are the 2 possible outcomes? (not a genius) I wanna try out some miracle fruit.

  3. I agree with Mali and Lori. Sleeping in class at a graduate level? Really? Good luck! I can't wait to hear how it goes!

  4. Good luck... I guess it`s true that this generation needs to be constantly entertained...!


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