I beg to argue that the print book is being re-enforced rather than murdered by new technology. According to this article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “more books are produced in print each year,” since the advent of digital formats. Whether you hold a physical book or an eBook the opportunities to engage with text has positively increased with the rise of technology. Rather than forcing students to choose the only option that many generations had before the end of the 90’s we should build classes that give students the opportunity to choose the kind of book that support their learning style. I personally, love highlighting and taking notes in an eBook and then being able to search for key words when I want to find a particular quote. I love the convenience of having my whole library on a tablet rather than in an extra suitcase.
As I design my future online classes I will keep in mind that our changing environment is not going to wait until we are comfortable, so it is better to embrace technology rather than run from it. I am very inspired by the inventions taking place at public and college libraries where you can rent books right from your smart phone with apps like OverDrive. I’ve recently gotten hooked to this app, which allows book rental in audio or eBook format. The down side is, I check out many more books than I can actually read. But at least I never have to worry about returning them since they expire automatically after a certain period of time and I always have the option of renting them again.
Is the Audiobook an appropriate class text?
I resisted audiobooks for a while but with the rise of programs like audible I couldn’t help being sucked into the experience. Although I was a late adapter to Audiobooks I now enjoy listening to them for pleasure because it is faster and more convenient on the go. I’m still deciding whether or not I would use audio books for Comp classes because it eliminates the interaction with words on a page, which is really important for critical reading.
I think I would use an audio book in conjunction with a physical or eBook, therefore the students can listen to the book and then annotate, take notes and create dialectic journals using the eBook or physical book version.
Social media and the written word
I prefer a text message over a phone call. I surveyed my class with this question last week and found out that 90% of my students prefer to text than talk. Some people might think this is bad, but I think the popularity of text messaging helps our craft more than it hurts it ….if you’re not driving and texting that is lol. Even though texting is often shorthand, bad grammar and riddled with emojis it is still a form of written communication and the most effective form of communication with today’s generation. Text messages, social media and interactive apps on our phones have opened up a new avenue of communication. Nowadays everyone walks around with a keyboard in their pocket because they might need to write a response to something at any particular time. This just means that more people are writing and reading. I often ask my students to review their last social media post and think about the rhetorical strategies they used to convey their intended message. This is always interesting because they do not realize how deeply they consider their audience’s reactions, emotions and interests. I also ask them to review their time line and pick out the people who writes those “book chapter,” posts and bring in a sample to tell us what they like or don’t like about it while exploring the rhetorical strategy that this person used. We all have those annoying people who write “book chapter” posts ….hmmmm wait a minute….I might fall into that category on Instagram.
Videos, Podcasts, Audios
My class materials often consist of these three formats in concert with the written format. I use these formats as pre-reading exercises. I have the students listen to audio interviews and then read a transcript of the audio they just listened or read a chapter associated with the ideas. As they read the transcript or chapter they are instructed to practice a particular critical reading strategy. Each semester I share a list of critical reading strategies and each week we pick one to focus on.
Here’s an excerpt from the critical writing assignment sheet:
Directions: For every assigned reading, choose 1 reading strategy (you can vary them, or use the one or two you feel works best for you). You will turn this in every class for each assigned reading. Below are the strategies you may choose from, along with a detailed description of each.
1. Outline: Across the top of your paper, write down all of the bibliographic information about the source (author full name, title, where it was published, when it was published, etc.). Next, create an outline of the author’s work in which you use their main points as your Roman Numerals, and their supporting details as your letters and numbers. Below is an example of how you might visualize what this outline looks like. Please note, your outline will vary according to how an author organizes their work. Also, you may want to write down page numbers next to main ideas/quotes so you know where to find it later.
a. Background Info
b. Background Info
c. Background Info
d. Author’s thesis
II. Body Paragraph 1 Main Idea
a. Supporting Reason/Detail
b. Supporting Reasons/Detail
2. Q & A (minimum of 8): Across the top of your paper, write down all of the bibliographic information about the source (author full name, title, where it was published, when it was published, etc.). Ask 8+ thoughtful questions about the text, and attempt to answer these questions based on the information contained within the text. For example, you might ask, “What is the author’s point in their article?” Your response to this question may be a short summary of the article/reading. You might also ask, “What reasons does the author give to support their ideas?” In this case, you might list some of the author’s main points that support their thesis.
3. Annotations: As you read, you will make notes in the margin, underline key points, and write down the dictionary definition of any words you do not know. Your marginal notes may consist of you marking areas you think are important, questions you may have as you read, or responses you have while reading. You will either turn in the reading on the day the reading strategy, show your book to your instructor, or photocopy the pages with your notes to turn in. Most reading strategy assignments are handed back within the same class period so they can be used with exercises.
4. Paraphrasing (minimum of 8): Across the top of your paper, write down all of the bibliographic information about the source (author full name, title, where it was published, when it was published, etc.). Next, you will choose 8+ passages from the reading and paraphrase those ideas in your own words. A paraphrase should be approximately the same length as the original passage, and will be the author’s idea(s) explained in your own words. Make sure you write down the page number with the quote so you know where to find it later.
Guideline 21: Message boards can create a powerful and effective writing and learning environment for your students.
I like the discussion boards but I find that sometimes it becomes a place of dread for many online students. They feel like they are required to talk about “bullshit” just to show that they are participating in class. Weekly discussions are great but they should tie into bigger projects so that if a student does not diligently participate in the small discussions they will be behind in composing their larger projects. Warnock advises that there be very clear guidelines for discussion boards because after a while it becomes repetitive (88)…but is that the students’ fault? I don’t think so. I think we should give them many different scenarios to respond to and that might eliminate the repetition and the empty posts that do not add to the conversation. I appreciate the useful advice shared on this topic and I will be using some of your ideas in my future class. I like Warnock’s idea of student led prompts. Has anyone done this? How did it go?