Structure and leadership

Class coordinators

Class coordinators have a weekly leadership role in cooperation with the professor. Normally two will be assigned to each week.


The class will decide as a group how they want the class coordinators to work. The decision will take the form of basic rules, which we will revisit at week 3 to confirm that they are working for everyone.


Several functions are required, which coordinators will divide between them:

  • time-keeping. start, finish, break, and continuity in order to meet the objectives of the class (i.e. don’t let anyone monopolize the time – this includes the professor – tell him to sum up if he drones on!)
  • steering the class. You share responsibility with the professor for guiding the class through the learning objectives. Try to be responsive to the wishes of classmates to pursue interesting sidebars, within the limits of focusing on topic. This may mean that you help assemble and disseminate notes on the key terms, for example, in order to free time for discussion of more engaging ideas. Keep in mind how best to use limited class time; use email or Moodle for administrative tasks, for example.
  • Helping to guide activities. The activities listed in each week are suggestions for a starting point. Class coordinators can adjust these activities or their execution with the consent of the class and professor.
  • knowledge-brokeringYou will help to find and curate useful resources on the week’s subject, including individuals, organizations, web sites, journal articles, books, media feeds, youtube videos, etc.  Provide them in advance to the instructor for inclusion on the web site, or add them yourselves on Moodle.
  • Record-keeping. What did we actually learn during the class? This is an important function because the class will only be examined on what they learn, but they have a collective responsibility to meet the learning objectives, which are all potentially examinable. The team responsible for the exam review will draw on the notes of each week’s class coordinators.


Each week, class coordinators will discuss with the professor how to prune and focus the potential list of activities for the week, and how to divide them between the three periods (or fewer, in some weeks). Based on the resources provided by the professor or found by class coordinators or class members, some areas will be of more interest than others, and class coordinators can influence the timing and sequence of the activities.


How do you prepare for your class coordinator role? Start early. Think of it as an opportunity rather than an assignment. Look at the weeks that precede it, where it fits (Next up from the previous week and Introduction for the week in question). Do the readings well in advance, look at the learning objectives, and discuss with classmates. What do you really want to know about? What is exciting, interesting and different? What will affect your life and career? What would you want an expert to talk about? What knowledge or experience would they have and where would you find them?  Who can help make the connection (start with me, but think wider).

Class organization

Each class will consist of a series of activities that will require you to work with each other in groups. You will contribute to decisions about content, resources, and evaluation. This course is not subject to the commonality policy.

All work will go through at least one layer of commentary before submission or presentation:

  • list revised – see Moodle

David Last, lastdav(at),  updated December 2016