Putting a face to the name
The Blackboard feature, “Course Photo Roster,” has students and faculty feeling positive over its possible benefits. The photo roster option allows professors to access their students’ pictures prior to class.
Freshman Tracey Caballero admitted that at first the idea was a little weird, but it’s not a bad one.
“Students appreciate being recognized by name,” Caballero said. “I think that this feature is helpful for teachers in order to have a better working environment and whatever helps students and teachers to better understand one another and communicate is most important.”
For faculty, the feature can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom.
William Connell, a professor in the history department who has not yet used the feature, said it is a good idea because it oftentimes is difficult for professors to keep everyone’s name straight.
“I think it could be helpful – particularly for considering factors like classroom participation,” Connell said. “I’m generally in favor of anything that makes the university feel more like a living community in which students stand out as individuals.”
Adjunct media law professors and law partners, William Brennan and Paul Callan, use a similar tactic in the classroom. Brennan and Callan ask students to e-mail a headshot of themselves before the first class so they can better identify their students.
They also ask that students sit in the same seats every class period.
“We think it’s important to know who we are speaking to,” Brennan said. “We don’t want it to be impersonal.”
According to Brennan, having students’ photos in class has been immensely helpful. In the future, rather than waiting for students to e-mail their photos, the two professors plan to look into the Blackboard feature.
At this time, the “Course Photo Roster” has been temporarily removed from Blackboard, and there is no word of when it will be restored.
Ashley Duvall can be reached at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org