Our class times are times for discussion. Today, Dr. Thomas revealed her vision for the ideal classroom environment. It would be composed of students, not her, that would be leading the discussion, giving input, and providing insights into what has been read. As she mentioned today (January 29th), it has been her leading the conversations, asking the questions, and hammering out questions to the audience. Our class has not quite lived up to her expectations for a classroom environment (yet).

As a consequence of her speech, I tweaked my observation and decided to look into response times of our class following a question from Dr. Thomas. They are, by no means, exact, but are approximate. After the professor finished her question, I began counting until someone responded. When a response began, I stopped counting and jotted down the duration of the silence. After looking over the data, I was quite surprised to find that the aggregate duration of silence was lower than I thought.

Not including the times that there was an instant response from a student, there were 28 responses that were preceded by some discrete pause. Totaling the approximate duration of silence puts the aggregate duration of silence at 71 seconds. Mind you, this does not include the duration of silence between moments when Dr. Thomas finished asking a question and eventually interrupted the silence to further enrich her statement. This also excludes times when no discrete pause preceded the response. This places the average response time of the class at about 2.536 seconds. If I include the “instant” responses as a 0.3s delay, we get 77 seconds of silence and an average response time of about 1.604 seconds.

In addition to tracking response times, I also noted down the number of responses to Dr. Thomas’ requests for more information about a topic (when she asks “What else?” or “What do you mean by that?”), and compared that to the total number of responses she received, regardless of the question. There were 20 responses of this type out of the total 48 responses (includes delayed and “instant” responses), making up ~41.67% of responses.

I’d be interested in seeing how these values would change over the course of the semester, especially if the format of the class changes significantly.