Flying on the Edge: Teaching Through Excitement and Fear


This session will address the theme of edge effects by offering lessons learned from three semesters of teaching my drones course – a class that typically causes an overlap of some common emotions in the learning process: excitement and fear. However, this is no common learning process. Students are controlling a flying robot that has potential to cause physical damage and bodily harm if these competing emotions are not controlled properly, as well. It's beyond interesting to be an observer as student after student pushes themselves to the edge, pun intended, of their comfort zones and, in many cases, tackles his or her emotions in the name of learning.


Attendees will hear from students interviewed in the moment of transitioning from excitement to fear (and back). How did they succeed in this scenario? What was going through their minds? How can we, as educators, create more scenarios like this to challenge our students?


Learning objectives and assessment are, justifiably, the main considerations when designing a new course. But what about the student experience? What emotions, if any, will they experience during the process of learning? Over the course of three semesters, the drones class in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University has repeatedly given students the opportunity to tackle two of the most common human emotions – excitement and fear – as these emotions overlap in a unique learning environment. This paper will explore how students overcome these emotions that are, oftentimes, competing for attention – all while students hold the controls of a flying robot with the potential to cause physical damage or bodily harm.