Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Student Perceptions of Professors' Opinions in the Classroom
Author(s):Harper, Erin
Subject(s):Student Perceptions of Professor Opinions in the Classroom
University of Illinois
Fall 2009
RHET 233
Abstract:Politics in the classroom has always been a controversial topic because it is so difficult to monitor what topics are covered in the classroom. After this, the issue arises of whether it is wise to monitor it at all, how much, and what information is monitored. Plus, once classroom subjects are censored, other information must be censored as well. I began to think about this topic when my professors themselves expressed their political opinions in the classroom. It must be noted that this did not happen every day, but it had occurred on occasion and I had to assume that it had for other students at the University of Illinois as well. Thus, when the opportunity came for me to find out what other students were experiencing related to professors and their political expressions in the classroom, I decided to design my research to figure out what these students thought about this. I did so by conducting student interviews as well as surveys and interviewed a professor that was knowledgeable about the same material I would be researching. I also did outside research observing articles pertaining to other universities and the topic of politics in the classroom as a whole. All in all, I wanted to gain a better understanding of this topic at a collegiate level and what students truly felt when their professors did bring politics and their personal political opinions into the classroom.
Issue Date:2009
Course / Semester:Under the title of “Writing and Language in the University,” this course centers on two interrelated topics: language, including variations in dialects and registers and the ideologies surrounding those variations; and academic writing, including its many genres and disciplinary differences. As we read, write, and talk about these topics, we explore how writing and language can vary and what makes us consider a way of speaking “standard” or a way of writing are more “correct” or “appropriate” in university contexts than others. We then move on to apply these concepts to our campus by exploring how writing and language are used at UIUC. Each student identifies a specific aspect of writing and/or language at UIUC to focus on for their in-depth research project. They might, for example, look at the range of writing genres used within their major; compare and contrast the academic writing expectations of different teachers, classes, or majors; explore the speech or writing experiences of a particular language or cultural group on campus; or examine current trends in student language use such as texting or slang. In their research, they pull from a wide range of scholarly sources including advanced academic articles and books as well as their own original ethnographic research (interviews, observations, surveys, and/or analyses of University texts). At the close of the course, they not only will have produced a polished final research project, but they will also have the option to share their research with the wider university community through presentation and/or online publication. As part of the EUI (Ethnography of the University Initiative), this class gives them the opportunity to create original scholarly research based on their firsthand experience with people, texts, and places on campus.
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-05-20

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  • Student Learning
    This collection examines student learning both in and beyond the classroom.

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