How can I use technology to take what I do well already and make it even better?
How can I use technology to take what I do well already and make it even better? avatar

Hey Everyone,

I am jumping in a bit late here, yet with the advantage of hearing what you all have to say. As has already been mentioned I am also excited about Warnock’s basic approach to think of the transition to teaching online as an opportunity to recognize your teaching talents, the things you know you do well, and find ways to translate that online (xiv). How can I use technology to take what I do well already and make it even better is a good question?

While I have never taught a fully online course, I have been teaching hybrid courses for a while—courses where I am continually trying different ways to integrate technology into the learning process. Before 2013, I was the kind of technology skeptic who dealt with technology as little as possible (basic email and CMS only). In this way of thinking, technology is yet one more thing taking us away from the “real” work of teaching. The change for me was a graduate seminar with Kory Lawson Ching called Teaching Writing in a Digital Age. That seminar shifted my world completely towards being excited about digital rhetoric and thinking, along with Elizabeth Clark about  how we can use technology to “re-create the contemporary worlds of writing our students encounter every day” (2009: 1).

Students complete all of their writing online in my courses using google docs that they store in a course folder on their google drive. One of the first things we do together is learn to use google docs and google drives including team drives. When students complete an assignment they then submit a link to their google doc on Canvas with the “can edit” option set for my feedback. I then use speedgrader to access their assignments and provide feedback directly on their google doc. Google docs can be used for drafts of essays and also for feedback on outlines, introductions, and other “parts” of their projects as needed. We use google docs for instructor feedback and also for peer-review. Besides google docs and drives we use discussion forums often in my courses to for invention work, to post our ideas for Essay X, or our thesis statements or our conclusions (if we are working on ways to expand out conclusions etc.)

In reading Warnock’s chapter 12, I am excited about the possibilities for using audio visual technologies to improve my feedback.  One things from this chapter that has me thinking is his discussion about how we need to develop a relationship with our students at the beginning–and how important this is.  We know from Wood’s  Teaching Men of Color in the Community College: A Guidebook (2015), that this is especially important for  first gen students.  So how do you do that in an online environment is a question I’m reading for?  Most of you have much more experience teaching online and using a variety of online tools so I am eagerly reading and learning from your posts here:)


Yolanda S. Venegas