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balance the advanced discussions and teaching activities in iMechanica

Henry Tan's picture

Dear Moderators:
Is there anyway not to show the posts from my class (including mine) on “recent comments”?

Too many student posts (around 170 students) and my discussions with them will crowd the space of the "recent comments" section, which should be reserved for more advanced discussions that come up.

Any other suggestions on the classroom behaviours that may not be appropriate for iMechanica?

There are good reasons that I do not want to move my class website to WebCT or other places.

Thanks a lot.


Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Henry:  I don't know a way to remove comments from your students.  I'll think about it.  You are pushing the boundary of iMechanica.  To fulfill the mission of iMechanica, at some point we will have to find a way to address the request like yours.  For now, please just do what you think is best for your students and your class.


  Maybe you could just use WebCT for the comments?   

Henry Tan's picture

The most important part is comments. Part of the reason for using iMechanica is that I want the outside world in mechanics to read their comments, and see what will be asked and what are their concerns in this new generation.

I would suggest then, Henry, that giving them points for simply posting a comment may not be the best way to proceed.  The comments should have some substance to them. 

Perhaps you could also do this just once in awhile, and not for every problem set or lecture.    

But not everyone WILL comment. With 170 students posting comments regularly, trying to keep up with everyone else on points you website will probably not be able to cope with the load, and more importantly, nor will you, you won't have a way to track what everyone is posting, certainly not efficiently anyways. Moreover, yes discussions certainly do help learning, but it doesn't mean to have to be involved in the discussion, lots of people prefere to simply observe and learn that way, which is just as valid a way of learning as taking part is, not everyone learns in the same way.


But the most important thing is that as good as discussion are, that is NO way to assess the progress and ability of your students. I can blag my way through conversations with people about stuff I've never even heard about, and through this way of assessment that would still mean passing.


Frankly, there must be examinations of some form, preferably in a physical way as opposed to computerized. Computers and the internet are invaluble learning tools, but they simply cannot replace real life lectures and examinations, at least not yet, but i wouldn't like to see it happen ever.


This is my opinion at least, if you agree please say so,



Henry Tan's picture

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