I have two new favourite websites this autumn: Flickr’s Creative Commons search page and Wikimedia Commons. They are both great sources of pictures that are free for anyone to use for pretty much any purpose. It’s the secret sauce that keeps my students from falling asleep.
My teaching responsibilities have changed a bit this time. When I was teaching in my first year as a PhD candidate, it was mostly as a seminar leader for first year students in environmental studies. I don’t teach as much now (thankfully—two early mornings in Norrköping every week was exhausting!), but I have some more variety. Since September I have been teaching in four different courses, and a combination of lectures and seminars.
Three of those courses are within the Science for Sustainable Development master’s program that I started five years ago. Life has really come full circle! I gave lectures in two first year courses and one of the second year electives, which I took when it was a brand new course. In these courses, I have given lectures on three topics. The first was about the concept of infrastructure, based on two journal articles: how the infrastructure behind biodiversity databases can affect which species are protected, and how Panama Canal’s infrastructure includes not just concrete and locks, but also watershed management plans that affect farming practices. Later in the term, I also gave a lecture about energy security and one about smart cities. It was a lot easier to prepare a lecture about my own research than a more general topic.
My other teaching assignment was quite different. I was a seminar leader and graded course papers in a course called Technological Development from a Societal Perspective. It’s a mandatory course for first year students in logistics. It’s one of the very first courses they take, so it’s a lot of new experiences for the students: first time participating in a seminar, first time reading academic papers, and first time writing an essay. It was also new for me: the first time teaching students who are not studying what I used to study. It was good experience, and I hope that my future teaching career with include more courses outside of environmental science or technology studies.
As fun as teaching is, it takes a lot of time to prepare lectures. A lot of time finding just the right picture for each slide. So I’m happy to be done for the term. Now I can focus on writing my first article (challenging but fun) and transcribing my backlog of interviews (somewhere between boring and torturous). And I can look forward to next autumn, where I hope to teach most of the same courses and give better versions of the same lectures.