Continuously, the LaunchCats, as an organization, are being asked to help design, promote and execute events for faculty, and other organizations at Montana State University. Often, an idea to present to a body of students is proposed. Something a speaker may feel inspired by or strongly about. The pitfall comes when empathy for the student is overlooked.
What is in it for the student?
- Students spend their week attending classes in which they are required to attend. They are presented with homework and projects that require time and usually effort they may not want to give. When hosting an event on campus, we must create something that captures their interest and makes them want to stay on campus for another 2 hours to learn. Inspire learning and motivate students to engage. This may come down to a raffle, music, unorthodox speakers or presenters, etc. Make the event different from anything they have related to traditional education. Otherwise, they are just at another class they aren't getting credit for.
- Students spend their day in a chair facing the front a classroom listening to their teacher for an hour per class. No matter how great of a speaker you may be, students are checking out. Our attention span lasts about 5 minutes before our concentration shifts. Traditional hierarchy in a learning environment no longer works. By creating interaction in the workshop learning environment, events allow students to be heard and empowered. Every student has ideas. We just need to extract them and give them the attention. Allow for small groups to collaborate as big groups identically replicate the traditional classroom in which one person says everything. If everyone is heard and engaged, they will enjoy themselves and come back for more.
- Break the rules. University settings have remained regulated for too long. Want to have fun and capture students attention? Get rid of rows of chairs and put them randomly everywhere, don't present from the front of the room, don't use powerpoint….etc. Do everything opposite. Music in the workshop is the simplest form of disrupting traditional classrooms. There are many ways to disrupt "old" workshops and breaking the norm may be the most powerful way to create an environment students want to be apart of.
These are very basic ideas to think about when developing workshops and events yet many times overlooked. People look at the LaunchCats as a creative group of students putting on unique events - Really, we are just empathetic with our target market.