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Sunday, April 21st, 2013 10:22 pm
Quite a while ago, I mentioned the "#WowGood2Know" facts that I'd started including with the homework assignments in my intro physics classes; folks seem to like them. Well, this semester I mostly ran out of my existing list of those, and I decided to do something a little different: I shared a slightly longer discussion inspired by a (linked) blog post. That went over pretty well: according to my anonymous midterm course feedback survey, most people were at least a little interested and read what I'd written (even if they didn't usually follow the links), so I kept it up sporadically throughout the semester as I found more relevant links to share. I've now collected all of those discussions onto a web page: "Important Stuff Nobody Thought to Tell You (probably).

If you have a look at that list, you'll find that I wound up focusing on a specific theme: broadly on our social attitudes toward women, and more specifically on sexual violence. I might go further and say that the topic was fundamentally "rape culture", except that I made a point of not using that bit of jargon anywhere (though of course some of the articles I linked to do). I think that every single week that I included one of these discussions on the homework, I had at least one student stop by either after class or at some other time to thank me for drawing attention to these issues and for sharing such thought provoking reading. (A few became downright enthusiastic about what I was doing.) That made me feel awfully glad that I was doing it... and kinda cruddy that the bar was so low.

Not surprisingly (but disappointingly), every single person who gave me that sort of feedback was a woman.

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