by Susannah Koch
The Group Project: La segunda presentación!
As I described in one of my earlier blog posts, part of our grade in Spanish 332 consists of participation in a group project with a few classmates. Marlee, Taylor and I have worked a lot over the semester preparing the documents for two presentations, and last Tuesday we finished our project at the Service Learning Showcase. I was expecting the same sort of set-up as the Public Engagement Symposium, but was surprised to find that this was much more about student-driven initiatives. The showcase consisted mainly of Learning in Community (LINC or ENG 315) courses, where each team of students had to present on the project they worked on all semester. We found ourselves a bit out of place as student after student came up to our table and asked us to “explain our LINC project”. Despite this SPAN 232 and 332 fit in really well with the other projects as we still have goals for all of our community volunteering and there are major benefits to both the student as well as the community. The students had to fill out a worksheet about various other projects and so they all asked roughly the same four questions. We all got pretty good at answering them and it sparked some conversation between us as we were asked to reflect on our own experiences. The question “In what ways can the project be improved” left us thinking more so than the other questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience in both of these Spanish courses, but have not taken the time to think of how they could be improved. We ended up saying that we could benefit from more location or task-specific training in our given volunteer position. In addition to this training, we also think that creating a document with past volunteers suggestions and experiences might help make things easier on the new volunteers.
Going into the first symposium we knew very little about what to expect or how to talk about the class in a more structured and formal environment. At this second presentation we were more comfortable answering questions and had learned what parts of our multi-media presentation were most effective. For example, we had not taken into account the amount of noise within the room during the first symposium and, therefore, were disappointed to find that our video was too quiet for people to hear given the noise surrounding our table. We decided against the video for the second showcase and I think that it was for the best as this presentation required much more interaction and talking than the previous one. The handouts were taken by a few students and some seemed generally interested in taking the class, which was great to hear. The poster seemed to be a point of confusion and interest to some students as it was all pictures and very different from the others around the room. One student even went so far as to say he did not like the poster because it was so simple. We explained that that was intentional, but you cannot please everyone! Overall the evening went well and we got to talk to a lot of students about the impact that SPAN 232 and 332 have on the community and we even presented in Spanish to a few Spanish-speaking students.
This group project was a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about the great things that these Spanish in the Community classes are doing on campus and around CU. I also ended up making new friends and enjoying the time we spent together working on all of the components!