Debriefing: clickers, being, and bad faith 
My last day of teaching for the Spring semester was yesterday. As usual, I asked some debriefing questions.

Although I always take student questions in my Introduction to Logic, there are more than a hundred students. So the reality is that there are just ten or so students who raise their hands with any frequency. This semester, I tried to get more involvement by using clickers. Each student buys their own remote, and I ask multiple choice questions during lecture. They get credit both for participation and for getting right answers.

The only question I asked yesterday was how they felt about clickers, whether I should use them next time I teach the course.
good- use them again  79%
meh - who cares? 13%
bad - don't use again 9%

From my point of view, the clickers were an improvement over the take-home quizzes that they replaced. So I guess I'll use them again next time.

In my Existentialism class, I asked some variant of my usual debriefing questions. For the texts we had read, I asked whether students considered them essential or dispensable; that is, should I definitely include them next time I teach existentialism, definitely leave them out, or otherwise. I didn't take a separate show of hands for the 'otherwise' response, and students were allowed as many yays and boos as they wanted.
                                    yay     boo
No Exit (Sartre) 17 0
ex'ism as humanism (Sartre) 15 4
Being & Time (Heidegger) 14 3
Being & Nothingness (Sartre) 27 0
Ego and its Rel'n to Others(Marcel) 3 5
Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir) 20 1
Is Bad Faith Bad? (Hazlett&Feldman) 0 13

The Hazlett&Feldman was only added at the end because we had a couple of days free. So I am not surprised that nobody considered it essential. I was a bit surprised that so many students were enthusiastic for jettisoning it.

I was also surprised by the enthusiasm for Heidegger. Perhaps it is because I sternly warned them at every opportunity, from day one until we finished with Being&Time, that Heidegger is a terribly poor writer and that the book is wickedly hard to read. So it became a kind of challenge, and if they teased any meaning out of it then it was a victory.


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