The regular professor in the graduate class I am T.A. for, Career Development, allowed me to teach the entire four hour job searching class by myself. I was very excited, as I had never taught an entire class by myself before.
I really enjoyed formatting the entire class by myself. I included elements I thought were important to teach the students about job searching that aren’t a usual part of the curriculum, such as: general business etiquette, including how to shake hands properly, and proper interview attire. They also had the “usual and customary” lessons about how to create effective resumes and cover letters, how to prepare for a job interview, etc. For the resume portion, I had them split up into teams to critique each others resumes using the resume rubric from our career center.
Now, onto the activity I want to highlight. The students were required to research a “little known job search fact” and email it to me a few days before the class, along with the article citation. I used this information in a question/answer format to create a Jeopardy! game. I split the class up into 4 teams and played the theme music. The particular website I used, http://warp.byu.edu/jeopardy/, kept score automatically.
Results: The students were actively engaged, perhaps a little too much so. The teams were really competitive with each other, arguing between themselves and me about how they should have gotten credit for the right answer, etc., getting upset that I was “favoring” one team over another, etc, etc, etc. Other than the griping, which the professor said was “mild” compared to what she has experienced, the game was really fun! It was an active way to process the information the students had researched and it was edifying to see them get many of the answers correct, even though they weren’t the ones who provided the fact. I would definitely do this activity again. With roughly 15 items, it took about a half-hour of classroom time.
What I would do differently: Make sure you print out the question/answer sheet and bring it with you. In the heat of the moment, it is unlikely you will remember the exact correct answer. And exactness is key in this game! If there is behind-the-scenes information, such as an article quote, summary or citation, you may want to bring that as well or at least hang onto it for reference. Finally, I think I would state in the beginning that only EXACT answers will be accepted, and adjust the answers ahead of time to make them a little more inclusive; rather than having exact answers on the screen and then making a judgment call in the moment if the student was close enough. I think this would greatly reduce the aforementioned griping, which was the only annoying thing about the activity. Back to the positive side, I heard a few students say “cool” when I told the class we were going to play Jeopardy!