Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Peer to Peer peering

Today was lecture five of 11 and the the Peer-reviewed session - though my 'Peer' was a tall, distinguished professor (as opposed to my short undistinguished self). For the second time in five weeks, my slides stuck - but I just busked through the first part of the session....and then got a student to crank the presentation on.

It helped that today's subject matter was the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan so I could talk without any great need for the slides anyway.

The students were alive, awake and chipped in usefully when asked - they're a good bunch - over 70 turned up today which, at week five on a wet windy afternoon seems pretty decent.

The immediate feedback was 'very good and no substantive criticism' - that made my day. Now it's on to NS-68 and the formation of NATO.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The demanding transition

Today I'll deliver my fourth lecture on American foreign policy - 1945-62. I'm a third of the way through the teaching and we're still on...1946.

Actually the first lecture covered 150 years' of the new Republic's flirtations with the rest of the world while weeks two and three covered the US entry to World War 2 through to Kennan's Long Telegram.

Now we're moving on to the serious stuff; the real Cold War if you like. Today's romp covers the Sinews of Peace speech; Byrnes statement of "firmness" in dealing with the communist 'threat' and the various flashpoints and potential flashpoints that put the US further on edge.

More than 90 students have signed up for the module - and more than 80 of them attended last week, despite no policy of compulsory lectures and seminars at Brunel.

it seems to be going well - but I've yet to receive any formal feedback...peer assessment is next week.