A Shared Language



Recently the topic of “consistent language” came up during a lunchtime discussion here at the Centre. What was the difference between a “course” and a “class?” Our director, Jim Greer recommended the University’s 2011 nomenclature report.

The report defines a course as:

the smallest formally recognized academic unit of the curriculum is the course – a unit of study in a subject area identified by a description of activities…While ‘course’ is used to identify subject matter, ‘class’ is used to refer to the offering of a course to one or more students within a term (p.3)

My interpretation of this is that a “course” has the number and four-letter description found in the catalogue while a “class” gets a little more personal with a specified instructor offering that course in a particular term with particular students.

Browsing through the defined terms in the report reminded me of an article by Anurag Saxena about introducing and reinforcing the basic language of Pathology through crossword puzzles.

The teaching and learning vernacular can be off-putting if it is a new language for you. Becoming familiar with the vocabulary opens up new vistas and conversations.

Often before we travel to a country where a language different than our own is spoken, it is not unusual to prepare by learning some key words of greeting (and important beverages).

Just for fun, I prepared a word search using a free puzzle-generating site (http://www.armredpenguin.com/wordsearch/) that incorporates some of the terms you’ll hear members of the GMCTE team often use in our conversations about teaching and learning. (FYI: The puzzle took about 2 minutes to create and generate.)

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