Technology in the Writing Center
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My (limited) LMS experiences in a nutshell

My biggest concern with an LMS is if students will have the skills and access to fully utilize the the system to fit their needs and learning style.  When I was teaching a hybrid class at Sacramento State University, I worked primarily with Canvass, and I felt that it was easy to use, and I was able to set up my class and add materials quickly. I also like several aspects of Turnitin for facilitating student feedback online. I like that with Turnitin I could program my quickmarks for some more explicit grammar instruction, and I could highlight where a mistake happened, embed the grammar rule via the quickmark with a built in example, but I would not correct for them, and then the student would be able to try and self-correct later. My beef with Turnitin is feeling Iimited with how thorough and focused I could be with positive and revision-based feedback. The margins just seem to not offer the right amount of space. I cant draw arrows to specific areas of a sentence- something that is part of my feedback pedagogy. I think Blackboard is clunky and generally feels old fashioned to me, but I am interested in learning how to utilize Moodle, I just need the time and motivation. 

At Montana State University, we used Desire to Learn (D2L) and it was pretty awesome. You could create content via drag and drop. You could embed images and there was a web conference option that I tried a few times to have conferences over student drafts. there was even ways to personalize, and create analytics to see how your students were progressing. Students said it was pretty mobile phone friendly too.

Shift to the writing center…

In the Writing Center, If I could invent my own LMS for online writing feedback, it would be an interactive white board that would have an alert and pop up the web cam of the student when they were ready to work. There would be a synchronous way to see the essay on the screen and both myself and the student could capture notes and revision ideas with our finger- I am thinking a sort of drawing tool can write right onto the essay. there would also be a blank whiteboard canvass next to the essay that could be used to capture brainstorming, model sentences, or we could cut and paste in a helpful website or link. There would also be digital sticky notes and highlighting options, so we can better facilitate reading strategies online. I just need a degree in coding and about a million in Angel money funding, and I could invent a platform! Did i say there would also be a recording option, so the student could go back after we signed off and re-visit aspects of our session? I know a lot of this exists, but my experience has been that they crash… so not crashing would be nice. 

Warnock’s argument that students need the skills to utilize the communication tools (19) is one of the main concerns of the Writing Center and barriers to moving towards a synchronous online feedback system. Students without the skills and access face so many barriers from navigating the platform to eating up their appointment time just trying to get online, to not knowing how to upload their draft. Any platform for online synchronous feedback needs to have a high ease of use for our students. Any advice or ideas for upping our online approach or services is appreciated.


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