I have taught doctoral-level, Masters-level and undergraduate level courses before, and in most of these, much to most of my fellow professors’ dismay, I did a lot of lecturing and less seminar-style discussions (though my undergraduate students thought I did a little bit too much seminar-style teaching! – what a paradox). I am currently designing two doctoral-level courses and I want them to be taught as seminars, rather than me lecturing most of the time. Both courses would be surveys of the field (with reading lists similar to a PhD field comprehensive exam). I did not provide much context for my request, for which I apologize.
One of the seminars would be more than a survey of the field (Doctoral Seminar on Frontiers in Water Research) and thus I would need to increase the breadth (so that my students would read in the humanities, engineering and social sciences). Regardless, because of the fact that I speed-read and I have a photographic memory, I often feel out of touch with how much reading is appropriate. I have read very widely simply because (a) I love scholarship and (b) I have the physical capability to read a lot and understand and absorb it. Not everyone reads and comprehends at my speed.
So I turned to my Twitter following (which includes many fellow professors, graduate students and folks who have been touched by academia in one way or another) to ask what an appropriate reading load for a PhD level seminar would be. This resulted in an enlightening and lively discussion. For those scholars who shun social media for scholarly applications, THIS is the reason I stay on Twitter: I can have wonderful, fast-paced, interactive conversations with fellow scholars and learn from them. I would not have had the chance to have this discussion in an asynchronous medium like a conference or even a departmental seminar. I encourage scholars who don’t see the value of using social media (and in this case, Twitter) to read the discussions below (which I created using a tool called Storify).
Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega (BSc. Chemical Engineering, Universidad de Guanajuato; MBA/MEng. Advanced Technology Management, The University of British Columbia; PhD. Resource Management and Environmental Studies, The University of British Columbia) is an Assistant Professor in the Public Administration Division of the Centre for Economic Research and Teaching, CIDE (Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, CIDE, AC) [...]more →