Notes on Pedagogy
(for my students)
My courses favor the independent and self-motivated. Course activities are aimed at providing the students with opportunities to demonstrate their self-directed learning. Teaching philosophy is about facilitating activities and conversations around philosophical themes or issues that students help pick.
These courses seek to fulfill general intellectual functions of the philosophical discipline, namely: analysis and synthesis. Concepts and relationships are analyzed, while at the same time students are encouraged to display creative thinking by being able to synthesize otherwise disparate lessons into coherent views. Most of the time, the course is about "thinking about thinking," where the objects of inquiry are thoughts themselves and their relationships to each other (and possibly to the world). You'll see such emphasis reflected in our course activities like the Q&A Wiki Project.
Manner vs. Matter. My courses seek to strike a balance between substantial coverage of topics (matter) and the manner by which the class grapples with the materials.
In an information-awashed society, we'll take advantage of your own access to online resources. We have a "flipped classroom," where course materials are already available online and students are encouraged to go through them before coming to class. The face-to-face time in the classroom will be used as follow-throughs, for deepening our understanding of the course materials.
There's a conscious effort to make my course "easy" by using materials with high readability. But there's no getting around certain materials that we just have to grapple with because of their value to the course, however challenging they are to most people.
Platform. Our UVLe course site is a centering platform. Activities are coordinated through it. So keep checking UVLe regularly. It's possible to look at positive learning outcomes as being directly related to how often and how deeply immersed your are with the materials on UVLe. Often being more than 3 days out without logging in to UVLe will likely result to poor outcomes.
Pick-up Skills. Self-supervision and management are outstanding skills for you to have. You're training to be your own boss. The use of online educational technologies (like UVLe or some learning management system) also brings side benefits. In today's world, it's almost unthinkable not to be "delivering" courses (or some parts of a course) via an online platform. Being skilled at using UVLe is a plus.
Collaboration skills are as important as self-directed individual skills. The contemporary workplace is nothing without complexity (necessary or otherwise). Many tasks are almost impossible to accomplish without collaborating with fellow workers. In my courses, successful collaborative outputs are well incentivized.
Incentives. Grades remain an important signal to employers (including future you?) and non-employers alike. My courses are "unoable" (UP-speak for getting the highest grade), provided you put in sufficient time to stay on top of the activities. It's mostly about putting in the hours! The rule of thumb is at least 3 hrs a week for assigments and other course-related activities. Give yourself time, and you might just love one of my courses. When you do, time flies!
To incentivize logging on to UVLe, there'll be occasional unannounced low-stake quizzes. So keep coming. Even attendance has points. Part of "winning" is showing up.
There's also an incentive to fact-check the things I say or prove erroneous certain arguments I make. These are the "supalpal" points to help me stay honest.
The computation of grades is straightforward. The equation used is: 6-[5 * (score/highest possible score)]. The weight of an activity or its degree of difficulty is already reflected in the number of points.