FGCU professor schedules two classes together to maximize learning
A Florida’s Water Resources class, which is intended for seniors majoring in environmental science, and an Issues in Science and Technology: Water Wars class, which is open to all majors, are scheduled in the same room at the same time once a week.
The classes share certain presentations such as guest speaker lectures, but each of the two classes has its own grading scheme, their own homework and everything else.
“It’s not exactly joined because we can’t allow a student to register for a class and get credit for doing things for another, so what I think of is sort of flexing or articulating the two classes,” said Donald Duke, the professor of both courses.
Duke said the idea grew out of the fact that he has certain presentations that he wants both classes to see. This semester, it’s only two classes, but usually, it’s three classes — including a graduate one as well. The guest speakers are typically people from water resource agencies — for instance, people from the South Florida Water Management District and hydrologists from Big Cypress National Preserve.
“They give the agency perspective,” Duke said. “They get information from the text and the web and the other readings I assign, and then, they get it straight from the horse’s mouth — the agencies. They’re going to have a slightly different viewpoint because they are doing these sorts of things and what they see as their challenges and achievements.”
Duke wanted these lectures to be a requirement for all of those classes. He started by encouraging it, but it did not really work. So, he ended up scheduling both classes with an overlap in time.
“We go through all sorts of things to make sure it’s all compliant with the university regulations and all fair to the students,” Duke said.
Per registrar and all of the students’ syllabuses, the Issues in Science and Technology class meets from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the Florida’s Water Resources meets from 2 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Thursdays.
An extra large room is scheduled for Thursday, which is the lecture hall in Seidler Hall.
Florida’s Water Resources usually takes a break at 3:30 p.m., which is usually when the other class comes trotting in. Sometimes, when the classes are together, they separate into groups to work separately and then come back and discuss as a whole. Florida’s Water Resources gets more advanced and indepth assignments, while the Issues in Science and Technology get assignments that do not require background knowledge.
“I have done this a number of years now after I observed that there is a deep interest in water resources among our students of all majors,” Duke said, “in particular Florida’s highly contentious and scientifically challenging water resources problems.”