In all of my syllabi, I include a list of “Top Ten Reminders.” The last reminder is dedicated to interaction and sharing: “Avoid learning in a bubble. Interact. Take chances. Risk embarrassment. Help your peers become better writers and thinkers. Help build a unique community. If you discover something on YouTube that’s related to a reading, share it with the class. If you watch a movie that’s relevant to our discussions, share it with the class. If you find a brilliant sentence that makes you jealous and keeps you from sleeping at night, share it with the class. Don’t be selfish with the good words. Sharing is better than not sharing.” With this in mind, I just wanted to thank you all for sharing the goods. I feel super lucky to have ongoing access to all of you and your amazing ideas. My students will no doubt benefit from your generous minds.
In terms of my dream class, at the recent mid-semester meeting, Violeta Sanchez, Tyrone Nagai and I shared six approaches or six ways of thinking about the shared lens assignment:
- Overt vs. Covert
- Discovering vs. Rediscovering
- Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up
- Narrow vs. Wide
- Backwards vs. Forwards
- Bound vs. Unbound
On the one hand, these approaches were offered as a way to sort of breathe new life into the assignment. On the other hand, they were really about teaching and calling attention to the options we have as writing instructors. To use a food metaphor, in my mind, they are some of the best ingredients we have available to us. How we’re able to cook with them, however, changes based on the kitchens in which we cook and those for whom we do the cooking.
In the F2F classroom, I feel free and excited to play with these kinds of approaches. Using them here feels far more doable and like I have a greater chance of creating those magical “ah-ha” moments we strive to create. I love teaching covertly, for instance, and introducing without introducing, so students can rediscover that which they had just discovered but in a way that’s suddenly meaningful. In the OWC, it ain’t so easy. I mean, using these approaches is possible, sure, but at this point, because of my lack of experience and execution, I find the effect to be far less magical. It’s like experiencing bananas foster tableside versus onscreen: there’s fire and yet there isn’t.
In addition to featuring holograms and teleporters, my dream course would be one that enables me to utilize these kinds of approaches in a manner that somehow feels more like the tableside spectacle. There would be heat and smell. Speaking of which, early celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse used to remind his audiences during Emeril Live to call their cable providers to request Smell-O-Vision. He wanted them to experience what he was smelling in the studio from their couches. In many ways, my OWC could benefit from something like Lagasse’s Smell-O-Vision. If I could find ways to migrate these approaches to the OWC, meaningfully and frequently, and ultimately use them to build rich communities, that would probably be better than a hologram and pretty close to a teleporter.
Here are my posts. Thank you again, folks: