popUp Curriculum Review and Plan for Spring 2015

What I learned this fall.
Coordination of schedules is a major bottleneck. Typical session requires these steps

  1. identify topic
  2. poll student interest (and times)
  3. identify person who can offer the session and when they might be available
  4. decide on time/place
  5. confirm with instructor
  6. check space available
  7. sign up RSVPs
  8. reminders and publicity

Topics initially identified via brainstorming among faculty and staff. I created a catalog of possibilities and put these in front of students as a survey. Follow up topic identification by conversations with students and instructors.

We were successful, I think, in "branding" popUps with students and staff, less so with course faculty. I attempted to sit down and talk with each instructor but by the time most of these took place the semester was well underway (meaning little opportunity to do what I'd planned which was to identify common elements of courses that could be "shared" via popUp and specific skills that might be outsourced by instructors).

For spring 2015 we have asked students to reserve Fridays between 9 am and noon for popUps. This does not mean that all popUps MUST be in this time slot, but it does mean that if we schedule popUps in this slot we can be fairly sure most can attend without academic schedule conflict.

Our plan is to offer at least one session every Friday over the course of the semester.

Opinions differ as to whether sessions shorter than 3 hours should start at 9 and end at 10 or 11 or whether they might start at 10 or 11 and end at noon.

  • The start at the same time protocol is supported by habit being using tool and the ease of setting a social context like (Friday morning bagels at the Garage) around the sessions.
  • The end at same time protocol would permit social thing at the same time after each session and would yield to student requests for things not to start earlier than necessary.

I imagine us running parallel sessions sometimes - same time frame but a choice between, say, a workshop on tool X and a field trip to location Y.

  • Every topic is not necessarily right for every student
  • Some sessions might work better with fewer than 30 people

Suggestions

Sit down with spring instructors between end of fall classes and start of winter break to talk about syllabi and potential complementary popUp topics.
Decide on protocol for what kinds of presentations we give stipends for and what kind we do not.
Determine an actual budget for stipends so that coordinator has flexibility to arrange things with.
If it's "bagels and popUps Fridays" then allocate funds for semester worth of hospitality and coordinate this with (?) Grace - perhaps we involve students so that teams of two take turns making it happen?