Books and Handouts and Message Boards Oh My
Books and Handouts and Message Boards Oh My avatar

So much to write about! I’ll be as succinct as possible.

I appreciate the opening discussion in Warnock about textbook choice. For the record, I am an instructor who advocates for classic literature in the composition class. I was pleased in Chapter 8 to see literature written by noteworthy authors included in sample readings: E.B. White, MLK, George Orwell. If I am required to teach texts other than fiction/novels, I will choose authors that are among the ones that students should have ‘tasted’ in their college experience All of my colleagues use brilliant texts regardless of genre; I am pleased that we have some autonomy to choose the ones that correlate with our pedagogy. Warnock brings up several salient points about assigned texts, a few of which prompt me to pull together my handouts, articles, and short stories and figure out how best to make them available. My first inclination is to post each in Pages and enumerate them. I like the idea of bundling the particular assigned reading with any correlative articles and handouts in one module. I have not yet mastered the art of creating modules, so I plan to work on that.

I like the chapter point “How Do I know They Are Reading?”

I will include multiple choice quizzes and discussion board assignments. I will consider requiring students to keep a Reading Journal and will explore options for crediting and possibly sharing it.

Chapter Eight in Warnock had so many good points. Here are a few I noted:

Regarding student posting:

  • Discussion Boards (DB) get students to “write, write, write” (70). This fact aligns with my (and probably everyone else’s) position that practice makes perfect(ish).
  • The cycle: this type of writing leads to more thinking and more thinking leads to more writing.
  • Shy students get a voice.
  • What do you all think about anonymous posts?
  • Students aren’t just writing to “please the instructor” (70).
  • This type of writing leads to “tantalizing digressions” (71) though, as discussed later in the chapter, the instructor/moderator may need to step in and manage.
  • ***I really like this point: DB teach students to be succinct and rhetorically precise. I preach about avoiding the ninth circle of writers’ hell: repetition, redundancy, and wordiness.***
  • Students develop interesting relationships through replying.

Regarding instructor involvement:

  • Great point: the instructor should not be on “center stage” (120).
  • S/he (they) should choose response and to whom to respond carefully
  • Instructor’s response should be challenging, not “cheerleading.”
  • Grading these responses can be challenging. It would be problematic to rely solely on length- I would anticipate some consequentially superfluous writing. Warnock acknowledges that reading, responding to, and evaluating DBs can be labor intensive. My initial and continuing concern with lots of DB activity is precisely the workload, so I would plan these assignments carefully, adding them to the agenda with my own time constraints factored.