Video Response!
Video Response! avatar

This was such a great discussion! I’m so sad I missed this but the topics were many that I myself had questions on for OW Courses. I think your attention to sound is so important. Giving students audio is an effective way to get their minds invested in a multitude of ways, music, instructor’s voice, video, and so forth. And pairing audio with color and backgrounds is a great to simply setting the tone of excitement for students!


I first want to address the non-linear forms of grading and deadlines, as I was sick last week and was working hard to play catch up this week that I fell behind on my own homework for this class. I was ‘that student’ gang. But knowing that curry and Jim were flexible with submitting my assignment was such a relief, which brings me back to recognizing the kinds of students the enroll into OW course will most likely be parents, those that work full time, and other students with hectic schedules. I think it’s important to make accommodation for ‘life happens’ situations.


Regarding Multiple and limited access points I love what was mentioned about recursive learning, keeping goals recursive: critical thinking, reading, and writing, but knowing that learning can be non-linear and linear are both possibilities. There also needs to be a balance that doesn’t overwhelm students and at the same time welcomes them to explore.


Finally, redundancy I have to say I appreciate the organization that Writing With Machines has established for this course. I like how this course unfolds itself by unit, but once you enter a unit there are links to click ‘if interested’ in exploring further to other resources. I really appreciate the balance for this model and see myself replicating a similar method for my OW courses!



The KonMari Method as a Guiding Metaphor for My Dream Online Writing Course
The KonMari Method as a Guiding Metaphor for My Dream Online Writing Course avatar

Dear colleagues,

I apologize for my late response. I’m frantically writing my dissertation right now because my 3-chapter deadline recently got pushed up! Thanks for reading. Your posts really inspired me to be creative this week in approaching the way I think about my dream online course. Thank you all for your inspiration!

I am responding to prompt 1: Based on your experience in this certificate sequence, what do you imagine your “dream” online composition course looking like? How would you structure it? What tools would you emphasize? How would you like students to experience learning in your online space?

The KonMari Method: Sparking Joy

The KonMari method is all about sparking joy. I want my online classroom first and foremost to be an enjoyable system to navigate and a place that students actually want to be. First and foremost, I want to greet them via a welcome video where I take the time to introduce my teaching philosophies, professional goals, and a little about my non-academic identity (just as I do in person). I want to gradually build trust with my students. By putting myself on the spot from the get-go, my hope is that they will also feel encouraged to open up in our online space. The second space that I would like them to be able to click on is an introductions post where they too leave a video/voice/or written introduction.

Furthermore, when students log into my online composition course, I want everything they click on to have a very specific purpose. Just like everything has a place that is easily identifiable in The KonMariMethod, I want my course to have as few clicks as possible. That means getting rid of extra file folders and extensions on Canvas that are stored in the navigation system of all stock courses. Like in the KonMariMethod, I don’t just want to tidy up my files; I want to also get rid of a clutter problem caused by too many files. In the past, creating one PDF with every reading and a table of contents has been helpful. I might even think about creating a course reader again for my English 100 course so that students can have something tangible that I created for them. That also means organizing my writing projects by pages and not modules. I envision having one page for every major course project and embedded within that page, a clear sequence of icons to click on for each week. I envision those icons being fun memes that also spark joy when students click on them as well.

The KonMari Method: Linearity

My schedule is crazy, and I empathize with my students who have crazy schedules. I crave a set plan with a to-do list that I cross out each day. I take great satisfaction in crossing things off my to-do list and seeing to-do list items checked off in other online systems that I have interacted with in the past. When I had some classes on the learning management D2L in the past, I got great satisfaction from seeing the check mark come up after I had downloaded a file and read it or submitted a task. I used that check-mark system religiously to keep up with my work. I want my students to have something similar.

I envision a weekly announcement for student’s that is not only color-coded but also has a digital checklist for students (that can also be printed out if they choose). The checklist will also have a section that outlines how much time they will need for a task and which days they may want to complete a particular task on in order to meet weekly deadlines in the class. I envision many weekly tasks being similar and due on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sundays. Having a steady schedule of deadlines is important for not only my schedule but also for my students to have consistency.

The KonMari Method: Tools for Efficiency

In the KonMari Method, those decluttering their homes do so all in one big swoop rather than a little bit each day. I want my students to engage with a variety of different course tools. While I do not use them all at once, I typically like to introduce the tools that they will encounter in our course early on in the class so that they are familiar with the types of activities and work they will be engaging in throughout the class. Then when it comes time for students to use a new tool, such as Zoom for a peer review activity, they are not completely shocked.

I currently have a program manual and video tour for my online TESOL education courses that guide students throughout the course. For my OWC, I envision creating a similar program manual and accompanying video that preview different tools used in the course such as Zoom, Google Documents, DraftBack, Discussion Forum posts, uploading images in discussion forum posts in Canvas, Canvas peer review tools, and preferred mechanisms of communication with the teacher on Canvas (I can’t stand it when students send a random message in the message system within an assignment that they uploaded, and I never see it!). Do you have any suggestions for me about that?

The KonMariMethod: Mindset

In the KonMari method, the technique is supposed to foster not just a short-term change but a transformation. I want my class to engage students with developing a growth mindset and a college and literacy success plan that will inspire them to be a better version of their academic selves. In my current English 100 course, I integrate some materials from Carol Dweck’s growth mindset in my first unit. I also integrate some materials about a mindset that stresses critical thinking as well as rhetorical listening/reading strategies. Students do a genre twist project with a 3-page narrative that leads into a 3-page college and literacy success action plan letter to themselves. At the end of my online (and onsite course) students create an online portfolio on Weebly showcasing some of their best writing, their language self-study plan, as well as quotes from their narrative and college and literacy success plan that will continue to guide them through college. By publishing their work, they create a new academic identity that they can come back to in a virtual space. That virtual space is also a place that I hope they will continue to nurture as their professional endeavors takeoff! Keeping this unit in my online classroom is important to me, and I believe that I may even adapt it further in an online classroom where students use Weebly earlier on in the class.

A mindset of productivity is key in the OWC. I want to instill in my students that through the writing process they can truly feel more productive and satisfactory about their writing. I model for students my own professional writing techniques and share examples of revision plans that I create for feedback that I receive from journal reviewers and publishers. They then use that same model revision plan for each paper throughout the course. By keeping careful track of major and minor changes that they have made based upon their reviewers (classmates and myself) requests, they begin to see the power that they have in making productive changes to their writing. They also get less stressed about the revision process itself knowing that they have a clear plan to make productive changes that will lead to a better score. I will have OWC update their revision plans in their Google Documents. I will also keep track of how students are doing on their drafts in the online classroom by requesting that they write all of their papers in Google Docs. That way I can do daily monitoring of students that can lead to more interactions with students and solve issues earlier on before they arise. Whereas in the onsite classroom students often bring many short drafts like an introduction or body paragraphs for credit, I can monitor students’ assignment progress in an OWC directly via Google Docs. I had an instructor who interacted with me bi-weekly on my assignments and papers in the past via Google docs, and it was life changing!

My Past Posts:

Week 1: Tools, Tricks, and Transitions: Teaching Online Made Me a Better On-site Teacher!

Week 2: Fostering Communities of Inquiry 

Week 3: I Was Blindly Leading a Student who Is Visually Impaired 

Week 4: Transitioning to the Fully Online Classroom 


“A dream within a dream!”
“A dream within a dream!” avatar

As we reflect upon the course we’ve all embarked upon over the last two terms, we are now asked to describe what our “dream” online composition course might look like. With our current level of technology, I would certainly be using a CMS that allows me the ability to build user friendly interfaces and has the flexibility to integrate a variety of support tools such as Zoom, Google Apps, Adobe Apps, Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS), and a few others that I’ve covered over the arc of the course.  The one area that I would focus on more, now that we’ve gone through the class, is how I connect and interact with my online students from start to finish. As mentioned last week, I very much like the idea of Gamification, in particular, giving multiple options to students for completing a particular task or assignment allowing them some control in terms of the deliverables they turn in.  One of the biggest challenges I had at the start of our program revolved around how to integrate the f2f experience into online teaching. Although I have not exactly solved that yet for myself, I do believe that your shared insights and our readings have provided me with tools that I think will go a long way in that direction. I’ve started to apply some of these into my hybrid class and am enjoying the results so far.

But, the prompt for this week asked us to describe our “dream” online class environment. So, let’s go there…

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
Christopher Nolan, Inception

The online Gamified class that I showcased last week is certainly interesting and I am looking forward to testing it next month. However, my dream online class is just on the event horizon. Virtual Reality has come a long way and has now moved into what is known as Augmented Reality. What’s next? Mixed-Reality technology! Soon, we will have the ability to have digital elements built into our actual environments. If this sounds a bit strange, I’ve added some links below that provide some insight into what this is and the potential it might have for education. So, my dream online composition class would be a mixed-reality classroom that students can access in their homes, or anywhere. Each week the lesson would appear on an old-fashioned writing table (and yes, with a weathered old brown leather satchel next to it)!  This week’s assignment might focus on Fitzgerald’s lyrical writing style in The Great Gatsby. Students are introduced to Nick who is sitting at the table, then opens the satchel and takes out some papers. He begins to read (as the rooms transforms into a circa 1920s environment filled with a slow jazzy background melody) the section of text that students are to analyze that week.  As the assignment/story unfolds, I would be able to scaffold all support materials I wish to share with the students into this environment allowing them to interact with it in real time.

Well, the prompt did ask us to discuss our “dream” class…so I am looking forward to trying this out as soon as it is available.  Anyhow, check out the links if you are interested in mixed-reality.

Augmented Reality VR Magic Leap Whale in Gym Elephant in Hands

CBS This Morning: Inside a company creating mixed-reality technology

Magic Leap Whale: Example of mixed-reality

Examples of Magic Leap’s Mixed and Augmented reality.

My Posts: 

Back in the Game – CLASSCRAFT

Equity – taking into account prior probabilities.


Back in the Day…

Grading, Access Points, and Redundancy
Grading, Access Points, and Redundancy avatar

This was such a great discussion! I’m so sad I missed this but the topics were many that I myself had questions on for OW Courses.

 I first want to address the non-linear forms of grading and deadlines, as I was sick last week and was working hard to play catch up this week that I fell behind on my own homework for this class. I was ‘that student’ gang. But knowing that curry and Jim were flexible with submitting my assignment was such a relief, which brings me back to recognizing the kinds of students the enroll into OW course will most likely be parents, those that work full time, and other students with hectic schedules. I think it’s important to make accommodation for ‘life happens’ situations.

 Regarding Multiple and limited access points I love what was mentioned about recursive learning, keeping goals recursive: critical thinking, reading, and writing, but knowing that learning can be non-linear and linear are both possibilities. There also needs to be a balance that doesn’t overwhelm students and at the same time welcomes them to explore.

 Finally, redundancy I have to say I appreciate the organization that Writing With Machines has established for this course. I like how this course unfolds itself by unit, but once you enter a unit there are links to click ‘if interested’ in exploring further to other resources. I really appreciate the balance for this model and see myself replicating a similar method for my OW courses!

DREAM OW CLASS!  <3 avatar

Oh my goodness, Writing With Machines has been an awesome journey. It’s definitely given me the confidence to actually visualize my ‘dream’ online composition course. I’ve gained so many tips and resources that I can use to personalize my online course and make it my own. The structure for my class would be one that is well-organized and inviting to students. This would be organized by the outline of the semester, reading assignments, and writing assignments. I also want to play the role of being visible with student writing and this semester there were a lot of great suggestions on how to do that without over exhorting myself. The tools I’ll take advantage of are the tools curry suggested for responding to student essay and lectures via video on Canvas. Being able to show students my personality and excitement for their development as writers is really important to me so knowing there are resources to show that to students is GREAT! I also imagine students experiencing learning through collaborative work using social media to interact with social justice based topics and presenting their findings to a larger community via internet. I’ll keep dreaming and keep coming up with ideas but I know being present, visible, and collaboratively interact with students are my main goals.



Week 1: The Snapshot Of Yourself


Week 2: Supportive Learning Teams VIA Technology…s-via-technology/


Week 3: Thinking About Equity in the OW Courses…n-the-ow-courses/


Week 4: Video Response: (in response to classmate comments and discussion)


My own 5-7 minute video Screen-Cast-O-Matic


Cruising Utopia(n) Pedagogies
Cruising Utopia(n) Pedagogies avatar

I don’t know what it is, but this has been the most difficult of the prompts to conceptualize, partially, I suppose, because it’s so free-range but also because we are in the part of the semester when utopian thinking is made more difficult in the face of deadlines, due dates, tenure documents, and the ever-dimming light that is student burnout. I am always, though, thinking of that future course, as well, imagining “other ways of being in the world,” as Jose Munoz asks us to do in a text that is just as much about pedagogy as anything else (even if he doesn’t realize), Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Utopia:

“The here and now is a prison house. We must strive, in the face of the here and now’s totalising rendering of reality, to think and feel a then and there. Some will say that all we have are the pleasures of this moment, but we must never settle for that minimal transport; we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.”

I think I reflect my deepest desire for my pedagogy, for any class (f2f or online), in my ENGL100 syllabus this semester, where, under “Course Theme,” I say “[t]he philosophy for this course will be that play opens us up to ‘alterity’: in other words, when we play, we don’t just entertain ourselves; we hope, desire, and think about different and better possibilities for our lives.” I try not to get bogged down in the logistics (when things are due; how they will be uploaded; how to name files), though those are important, and this semester of WritingWithMachines has shown me how delicate and intricate such considerations are within online classes, and I now have a lot of strategies to create an ideal class based on how to present information to students, how to curate points of access, how to be productively redundant, etc.

But, I suppose, my dream course would minimize those considerations and create exploration and collaboration for students through various venues, having a more “hangout” or “salon” type atmosphere where students can seek, digest, and debate the information they want. (One of my ideals, relating to this salon style, for f2f classes has been to replace the really obnoxious traditional student desk with couches and coffee tables.) I want a classroom full of play, and a form of play that challenges and reconstructs the classroom – not necessarily a gamified class (which I appreciate, but have always been slightly skeptical about). As my course philosophy quoted above states, I want a space where I am not just transmitting information to students, or even where they are finding information, but a space that facilitates the production of hopes, desires, and dreams in students: that gets them thinking utopian thoughts rather than, simply, thoughts about deadlines, due dates, and how to jump through hoops to get a degree.

As I already begin peeking at other posts on the blog, I also see some of my desires reflected: students co-creating courses (which I do in minimal forms now, but that I’d love to expand), increased student interaction and conversation (this is why I like group work so much, because then I can chat with students outside of the confines of the lecture-style system), and equity (where intersectionality is valued, and where students can begin to look beyond the desire to value themselves merely as economic objects–which is unfortunately what they have so much been asked to do). So, though I haven’t given many concretes here, I thank this process for allowing me to think utopian thoughts for a while and to imagine what a class, digital or physical, that is not so heavily beholden to the depressing minutiae that can sometimes drag done everyone, students and instructors alike.

And with that said…

American Horror Story Mic Drop GIF by AHS - Find & Share on GIPHY

(No, but seriously, thanks for the great conversations and ideas throughout this semester!)


Links to past posts:

Assessment in Advance: Fostering Anti-Authoritarian Feedback

To Collaborate, or not to Collaborate–What was the question?

“Flexible and Diverse Approaches”: The Contingent Nature of Equity-Mindedness

Organizing 101: You won’t believe how bad my files page looks! (clickbait?)

Dreams of tomorrow . . . today!
Dreams of tomorrow . . . today! avatar

Goodbye but not farewell:
Thank you all for being part of the Writing with Machines Fall 2018 certificate course, what a great mix of ideas and information we’ve covered in our time together! I am super charged up to interrogate my teaching practice and the choices I make both in my onsite classes and my future online courses—and I am inspired by the possibility of overlap and hybridity that is promised by so many of the materials we’ve worked with. But for my final entry I want to focus on the future- my vision for my ideal online course/

Clarity: As a new Canvas adherent, I am consistently coming up against questions and challenges as to how to best use the platform to communicate with my students in the clearest manner possible. I plan to migrate from modules to pages as the primary organizational framework- pages seems more manageable and systematic in communicating important weekly information that students will be able to navigate when prompted and required. Also, they will be able to navigate and revisit at their discretion, reinforcing their initial visit- I will work in some way of requiring them to interface with the weekly requirements more than one time only—weekly quizzes, short written responses, basically a series of recursive assignments that will facilitate consistent engagement with the class/ class materials as we build up to the longer written assignments.

This focus on clarity dovetails nicely with an increased focus on equity. One thing I want to focus on more in both my online and f2f classes is a de-emphasis on the sword of Damocles aspect of the larger paper/ essay and zero in more on the process and informal writing/ process work. In Warnock’s conception of a point system he attributes 35 points to Informal writing/ message boards whereas he gives 30 points to his three longer writing projects including a final writing portfolio. A focus on more informal/ low-stakes assignments will give students more opportunities to accumulate points and hopefully be able to demonstrate/ develop their strengths in a wider variety of writing contexts, thus providing a more equitable grading system that maintains standards.

Race-consciousness/ intersectionality: Dr. Wood’s ideas and approaches have been a source of inspiration and enlightenment since I took his “Teaching Men of Color” course two years ago. However, as many of my colleagues have suggested, let’s keep the conversation going—just as we focus on the importance of being race-conscious as we develop our curriculum and use of stock images (especially important in an online environment with such an emphasis on ocular engagement), we can also be aware and inclusive of all marginalized communities. Importantly, we can provide materials that are empowering and celebratory which invite participation and sharing of our varied experiences.

Fun/ flexibility/ risk-taking: Lastly, I want to challenge myself to have fun with the new challenges of teaching an online course. Flexibility will be important as I adopt new strategies and allow myself to take risks—to fail at times. For example, many of my colleagues have discussed/ mentioned gamification have sparked my interest/ fascination. But at the same time I have a certain amount of hesitancy and intimidation since I am so unfamiliar with what this might look like in practice. But in my ideal course, I will challenge myself to try the things that I am most nervous about with the hopes that they will best help my students make the most of the course.

Thanks curry and all my colleagues for a lively session of contemplation and collaboration -it’s been useful, inspiring, and challenging- looking forward to the next sequence.

Links to my previous posts:

A Lifelong Dream
A Lifelong Dream avatar

Hi, everyone! I can’t believe we are coming to the end of our online certificate program. Thank you all so much for the amazing learning experience. I have learned so much from each of you.

So, I’m going to try to keep this to the one paragraph curry asked. I think I answered a lot of these questions in my video posting of last week when I gave the overview of my English 100 online course I am developing and previewed the structure/organization, tools used, and weekly/unit plans. So here I want to focus a bit more on the experience I am hoping for students as they make their way through my course. I have shared that the theme of my course is going to revolve around living a meaningful or purposeful life. I want the readings, activities, and writing tasks to be inspiring to them as individuals. I will not go in with a “this is what it means to live a purposeful life” as what is meaningful to me might be quite different to another. The goal here is to get students thinking about their life, the advice they receive, observe, and/or give, and the rethinking or reimagining what their life could mean. I am still considering one anchor text, and I am leaning toward The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom written by psychologist Jonathan Haidt. It is not a “self help” book but instead looks at ten different life lessons and views them through scientific and historical lenses. Basically it would serve as a model of the analytical writing that is the focus of the course. I would supplement this text with shorter readings, TedTalks, artforms, etc., that would get students thinking critically about the ideas, making connections to their own lives and observations, and ultimately be thinking about designing their best life, whatever that is. If you have any great texts that you already use or have used that would support this theme, PLEASE SHARE! So through this work, students will build their skills as analytical readers, writers, and thinkers. My dream is that they come to understand and appreciate the power of analytical writing in their life, not just for academic purposes, but beyond. Finally, I want them to become confident in their skillset and take the lessons they learn from the class far beyond my classroom. That would be my dream course.

Links to Prior Postings



Equity/Accessibility/Universal Design

Course Design

My Dream Course
My Dream Course avatar

My dream online ENG 100 course would be organized in Canvas using the pages feature in a week-by-week structure. I would either make each week’s main page available one at a time, or I would make the current week’s page the home page. I like the idea presented in our discussion that suggested using the same icons consistently to help students easily identify the type of materials (discussions, assignments…), so I would incorporate these on my pages. The weekly content would also be consistent in its approach; that is, the week would start with a short video lecture establishing that week’s goals. It would then be followed by a reading assignment, a short quiz, and an initial post to a discussion, which would all carry a Wednesday evening deadline.  By Sunday evening, the students would need to respond the required number of times to the discussion and submit the week’s writing assignment (or revision of a writing assignment or peer review if that was the assignment).  Exceptions to this scheme would be for the incorporation of group assignments that might necessarily work differently. The only new tools I would need are ScreencastOmatic to create the video lectures and Zoom to enable a synchronous discussion or for use with a group project. I would hope that the students would experience this linear structure as easy to use and clear to navigate, helping them successfully complete ENG 100.

Unit 5: My technology enhanced F2F English 100: Education, Identity, Academic Success
Unit 5: My technology enhanced F2F English 100: Education, Identity, Academic Success avatar

Hi Everyone,

First of all, thank you all for a wonderful learning experience in this sequence. Participating has invigorated my teaching and made me super excited to try out the ideas, tools, methods, we’ve discussed. It was a real pleasure:)

I am using this week’s post to think about how I can apply some of the knowledge we have assembled in this discussion to my English 100 f2f course this Spring.  My idea is to use what I have learned with you to create a technology enhanced English 100 Education, Identity, Academic Success course. I see this course as a gateway to my online English 100 course: a course where the infrastructure is set towards an online course and I am trying out the online tools we’ve discussed in this sequence.

Some of the tools I am already using or would like to try include: Google drive, folders, google docs, google calendar, Canvas discussion, Canvas collaborations, Canvas calendar, Canvas messaging via grade book, Camtasia, and using Sceencast o matic to give students line by line feedback on their essays

Before the course begins I will introduce myself, the work of the course, our routine, and the time needed to succeed using a 10-15 min. video. During week one, I will guide students through a time management workshop where we will use google calendar to review their current weekly schedule (their already set time commitments) and schedule in the work for our class. This serves as a reality check for students to make a decision to commit to this class (or not). During week one students will use the images on their social media to create a story of who they are and use this to introduce themselves to the class.

At noon on Friday students receive an announcement about the work we will be doing that week. The announcement may include a video of me going over the schedule/work for the week. The announcement guides students to our home page where they take a quick quiz then proceed to the work for the week. As mentioned in my discussion post for Unit 4, students have about 4 weekly tasks that are predictable, that allow for scaffolding and innovation, and that are recursive in nature. These tasks will include:

1.Watch video and multimedia lectures: these include pre-reading activities, lectures where I will introduce readings using videos, images, and other activities aimed at activating student’s funds of knowledge

2.Mini and informal assignments: these can include metacognitive reflection, work on the specific writing project we are working on or can be about the academic success theme in the course (Warnock 145 ).

3. Reading: Weekly readings: reading one of the readings clustered around a major writing project (20 pages), readings about one of our key concepts (1 page), readings on the writing process, metacognition, some readings about affective issues and how to succeed in college (less than 10 pages).

Here is an example of a video  I might use

3. Writing: Students write a 1-2 page response to the major readings assignment. These reading responses are reading assignments where the instructor introduces discussion topics or questions for a second reading. These integrated reading and writing assignments ask students to respond to the questions the instructor posed and pose a question or discussion topic of their own. Students use google docs to complete their reading responses and then post their responses on Canvas and on a discussion board by Wed at 11: 59 p.m. These reading assignment are their Primary Posts, they will also complete a Secondary Post (from Warnock’s Chapter 13 and Sample Weekly Plan in Appendix B).

4. Discussion/ work with the readings: Students are also required to respond to one reading response by Friday 11: 59 p.m. These are their Secondary Posts. Their responses are one substantive paragraph. These are graded. The instructor monitors the online discussion taking place between Wednesday and Friday along with one student who is assigned the role of moderator. At the end of the discussion the moderator uses video to comment on the discussion and provide a summary of the work students did as a whole. The instructor works with the moderator to create that video. Students are asked to view that video at the beginning of the next week.

One more thing: this is a zero textbook cost course; all readings are posted online as universally accessible PDF files.

Here are my posts:

 At The Intersection of Using Technology to Teach New Media

Got Equity?

Course Design and Organization Video

My Technology Enhanced English 100: Education, Identity, Academic Success