Inside the Classroom
What's it like to be a student at the College of Letters and Science? This series is written by current students, giving you a front-row seat at a typical day in an undergraduate or graduate class.
Take a look inside the classroom.
It's 10:30AM on the first day of class. After wandering down the halls of the brand-new Earth and Physical Sciences Building, students file in cautiously and identify their seats. This is obviously a place for discussion, as the room welcomes groups of five students to gather around six blob-shaped workstations, each featuring a laptop, a tall metal stand with elastic dangling from it, a spring, and an adjacent chalkboard. Everyone seems curious about their new surroundings, their new teacher and their new group-mates, with whom they will be working for several weeks. Physics Professor David Webb walks over to the front chalkboard and begins the Spring 2010 quarter of Physics 7C with, "this is the most lecture you'll hear from me in this room."
As the sun sets on a crisp fall Tuesday evening, Geology 198/298 convenes in a small conference room in the new Earth and Physical Sciences building. One by one, each student enters the room, setting large textbooks down onto the table, and joins spirited conversation about the Giants in the World Series that evening. It's clear the students are close; geology majors and graduate students are collegial after spending time out in the field together. Geology 198/298 is not just any regular course. It is one of the first ever to blend both undergraduate and post-graduate study work in geology.
It's a beautiful Wednesday evening during spring quarter. For the most part, the hallways of the Chemistry Building are fairly empty. One exception lies in room 179. The “classroom” for tonight transcends the boundaries of the chemistry building and that of a “traditional” classroom.
It's a typical Wednesday outside Olson Hall. Bleary-eyed students file in the building clutching Cargo Coffee cups, unwrapping scarves in the welcome warmth.