Course involved: Counseling 107, The Freshman Experience (1 section)
Professor who participated: Sherri Blake
Number of students involved: 35 students
Method used to incorporate work: Prior to viewing Randy Pausch’s video “Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams” on You Tube, students were asked to think about the following four questions (obtained from the Education Guide link on The Last Lecture web site: http://www.thelastlecture.com/pdf/LastLecture_EdGuide.pdf)
- What are your childhood dreams and how might you achieve them?
- What were your parents’ dreams and how did they fulfill them?
- Who are mentors or supporters of my dreams that I can turn to and what lessons have I learned from them?
- What brick walls have you faced in your life and how have you gotten over them?
Students watched the video and were then given a take home assignment to compose and bring back the following week a typed, 2-page paper incorporating their responses to the four questions listed above. The class is often conducted in a group format, so students were invited to share what they had written with their classmates.
Outcomes of Activity: Many of the students disclosed their dreams, and the dreams of their parents and also talked about the brick walls they’ve encountered, and how sometimes they’ve let those walls get in the way of what they want to achieve. They also shared how they have been able to overcome those brick walls. They often named special individuals and former teachers and coaches who were instrumental in helping them achieve some of their dreams, or who have encouraged them when they have felt like giving up on themselves.
Faculty Feelings about Success of Activity: It was the first time I had used The Last Lecture, I thought the assignment was a great tool to assist my students in thinking about and then expressing what their dreams were and what challenges they have faced and over come. I’m not sure yet if I will show the video in Spring 2011 to our new cohort of Freshman Experience students. I am teaching a different Counseling course this coming Spring semester and I am not planning on repeating this assignment.