Design, Cryptocurrency, and Crochet: Student Instructors Talk About College Courses


Illustrated by Katherine Chui

By Shiyu Miao 09/21/22 at 10:15 p.m.

Rice students have the chance to teach other students in college courses. Thresher spoke to four current student instructors to learn more about their classes and experiences. Students can always add COLL courses – exploring topics such as deep listening, cooperative storytelling, and Cleopatra – to their schedules before the add deadline of Friday, September 10.

COLL 113: Not your grandmother’s hook

When Wiess College senior Leenah Abojaib entered COLL 300: Pedagogy For Student Instructors last fall, she was thrilled to find another student who wanted to teach a college course on the hook. Since then, Abojaib and Avery Bullock, senior at Will Rice College, have made their vision a reality: they co-teach COLL 113: Not Your Grandma’s Hook.

“We all shared which classes [we] were interested in teaching… We were both interested in crochet, and we were like, “Great! ”, Said Abojaib. “[I thought,] “I don’t want to teach this on my own and have another person teach it on my own. It’s better if we work together ‘… I didn’t know Avery before class. So I think it’s really cool that our friendship is built on the hook.

Not Your Grandma’s Crochet focuses on both crochet skills and the cultural position of crochet, according to the Description of the course. Students start with the basics of stitches and create their own crochet project at the end. Bullock said they also plan to invite speakers and possibly organize an optional excursion to a yarn store.

According to Abojaib, she wants students to learn about crochet, incorporate crochet into their lives as a stress-relieving hobby, and understand its prevalence and value in society. Bullock said she hopes the course can counter existing notions that crochet is only for grandmothers or old ladies.

“We called the class ‘Not Your Grandma’s Hook’ because it [are] a lot of stereotypes around crochet, ”Bullock said. “Much of our class is simply showing the place crochet has in modern society. … Cool people can crochet… There [are] lots of really cool, modern and trendy things you can do with crochet.

Bullock said she was blown away by the popularity of their course, which had 17 students on the waiting list at the time of publication. Abojaib said she and Bullock had considered teaching two sections of the course next semester, and if they did, students who didn’t get a spot that semester could take it then.

“I am very honored that there are a lot of people on our waiting list,” said Abojaib. “Unfortunately, we can’t specially enroll people in our classes as they are limited to 19 people, which is so sad, and I would have really loved to teach more.”

COLL 102: Introduction to Crypto – A Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Another popular course taught by students is Charlie Lockyer’s COLL 102: Intro to Crypto – A Future of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency. Lockyer, a sophomore at Baker College, said his course was intended to teach people how society and the future of finance are affected by cryptocurrency. Students do not need any technical training to enroll in this course, according to Lockyer.

“I teach this class more like a high level description [of] the impacts of cryptocurrency on society, how it works from the perspective of someone who is not a [computer science] major and then how it’s going to affect their daily lives in the future, ”Lockyer said. “A lot of my students aren’t computer science majors and I don’t teach them anything technical. “

Lockyer said he hopes his students understand the values ​​of cryptocurrency and how blockchain is being used as a technology for it. He said he also plans to teach cryptocurrency investing as a practical skill.

“I’m going to explain to them how to buy cryptocurrency for themselves and how to invest in it if they want to,” Lockyer said. “It’s an educational thing only. I’m not like telling them ‘Oh this one is going to make you money, so you should buy it’… I’m just educating people [about] how to set up their account if they are interested in participating.

Lockyer said that during the first meeting, he realized that his students had varying knowledge about the topics of the course. According to Lockyer, who starts teaching in person this week, class discussions such as “What is Bitcoin?” help him structure his future lessons so that all his students can understand the lessons. He said he is very open to feedback from students.

“I’m very open with the students and tell them all, ‘I want feedback immediately,’” Lockyer said. “All of this is super important because I am also a student. A lot of the students in my course are seniors and I’m just a sophomore. So some people might know more than me. I have already had a few students who came to me and said, “Why don’t we have a group to talk about this? “”

COLL 136: Foundations of digital design

According to Elena Margolin, a senior at McMurtry College, her COLL 136: Fundamentals of Digital Design course garnered a lot of interest last spring. So she decided to teach it again this semester.

“When I started teaching it, a lot of people emailed me saying, ‘When can I get off the waiting list? »», Said Margolin. “It makes me really happy to know that there are a ton of people at Rice who care about design. For this reason, I really wanted to teach it again and focus more on the fundamentals of visual design, applying [them] to the user interface so that people can learn these foundational skills.

Margolin said students will use the fundamentals of visual design, which include color typography, layout, Gestalt theory, and composition, in their final project, creating an app. According to Margolin, preparing for teaching was a challenge in itself.

“It took a lot of thought, to put myself in their shoes – people who had never touched design before,” said Margolin. “How do I go from zero to a final project? “

Having taught COLL 136 fully online last semester, Margolin said she really wanted to teach it in person, as this format is great for collaboration and discussion.

“One thing I really want to focus on is design reviews and making sure everyone gets feedback – good and bad constructive feedback – on their design so that we can really improve ourselves,” said Margolin. “It’s something I couldn’t do last semester, but I think in person [class] will really help design reviews.

Margolin said she wants to teach Rice students what design is for and that she wants them to develop an appreciation for it.

“[I want students to notice] design in their daily life, whether on a screen, like digital design, or simply on paper anywhere … and then also [be] able to apply it to their lives, ”said Margolin. “So when they are preparing a slide show for a course or a research paper, [they feel] more comfortable using their knowledge [of] color, layout and typography to create something they are familiar with that communicates the message well.

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