“Mini-Courses” let students become the teachers
This semester, TCNJ students taught their counterparts everything from how to shoot pool, take great photos, speak Russian, and improve their video-game skills.
As a volunteer posed motionless in the middle of Brower Student Center room 210, students opened their sketchpads and set to work capturing the moment. For 15 minutes the model stood still, trying to maintain composure, as the student-artists worked their pages to develop a portrait.
But there was no college professor in sight. The lesson was being taught by Rachel Razza, a senior art education major, whose Life Drawing course gave students the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed to begin drawing from real life images.Her course was one of several to offered this semester as part of the BSC Mini-Courses series. Classes ranged from billiards to photography, learning Russian, to improving videogame skills with the game Halo. Current students taught all the courses.
Seth Zolin, Brower Student Center manager, explained that the purpose of the Mini-Courses was to “provide the opportunity for students to share knowledge and engage with one another.”
“Many times the focus of higher education is placed on information being passed from professors to students,” Zolin said. “We forget that students learn just as much if not more just by engaging with each other and developing their shared interests.”
Razza was proud of the response she received while running her course.
“The students have been very receptive to the subject matter being taught,” she said. “I think after taking this class, students are coming to a better understanding of how to reproduce what they see in their daily lives through the act of drawing.”
Senior Tim Lee taught a photography course to help others learn basic skills. “My lessons are built for beginners who most likely have small compact cameras,” he said.
“I’d like to show that good photography doesn’t necessarily need expensive equipment. The majority of my focus is on fundamental photography techniques, general rules, and easy-to-follow tips,” Lee added.
Senior Tyler Barnes, who taught a billiards course, saw her students develop their skills after a few weeks.
“They have already improved and enjoy making shots they didn’t think they could make,” she said.
Zolin said the response to the mini-courses has been outstanding.
Posted on May 6, 2011