UBSC and OTC Highlights

Happy Juneteenth, Letters community!

Since my last post, have you checked out our Letters Department Online Teaching site? There, you’ll find our department’s principles for online teaching, as well as a wealth of resources, including the Writing with Machines blog where you can find the following info and so many more of our colleagues’ great pieces to inspire your online pedagogy and practice. 

This week, I’m bringing you Letters-relevant realness from our 10th annual United Black Student Conference (UBSC) and the California Community College’s Online Teaching Conference (OTC).

Adventure #1: Cooler than Radio

If you’re looking for a holistic centering of equity and empathy in your class, the OTC’s panel on “Becoming a Warm Demander” referenced Zaretta Hammond’s podcast that defines culturally responsive pedagogy as it is evolving into instructional equity. In it, Hammond calls us to question, “How are we making sure that all students, particularly the most vulnerable, historically marginalized kids, get the most powerful teaching that helps grow their brainpower, so not just the content […] I mean, the teaching to move through the content.”

Adventure #2: Love a Nerd, Be a Nerd

If you’re looking for readings or multimedia that introduce students to stereotype-breaking works created by self-identified Black Nerds, dabble in these works shared by Student Equity’s JD Banks’ UBSC presentation titled  “Black Nerds are more than Black Hobbyists.”

Adventure #3: “That’s what I look like? Where’re the filters?”

So, you want to create your own content for your classes? I just got hip (a phrase that shows how painfully unhip I am) to an app called “Clips,” which allows you to record and edit videos with live captioning–a major plus for keeping your online classes accessible! This would be a useful app if you’re having students create videos for discussion boards or assignments too. 

Adventure #4: Peace through Poetry

If you’re working on revising or creating new writing assignments, turn to Soultry Sisters, a North County-based empowerment collective for women of color. During their Juneteenth UBSC presentation, the Soultry Sisters presented creative writing as a method of healing soul care to embrace, embody, and empower. Featuring the poetry of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, the Soultry Sisters’ workbook leads our students–and ourselves–through self-caring reading and writing process. 

****Note that the last two pages of the workbook indexes community resources such as Black-owned businesses, educational organizations, and healers. How might you work these community partners into a Service Learning project? Or a reflective writing assignment that centers students’ self-care? Or just as an extension of the MCC family that takes care of our students?

Finally, one of the OTC panels briefly mentioned the Open Pedagogy Notebook. Click on “Examples” for great–you guessed it–examples of every aspect of an open classroom, from student-generated syllabi to activist zines, the latter of which I have witnessed to be beautifully, powerfully incorporated into curriculum by our fearless leader Maria Figueroa. 

Until next time, enjoy a safe and healthy summer with your loved ones!

Your interim Technology Coordinator,

Jade Hidle

PROJECT Online Teaching Institute Highlights

Hello, Letters colleagues!

I’d like to introduce myself as curry’s humble substitute for our department’s Technology Coordinator as he goes on sabbatical for the fall. If you’re like me, you’re spending a lot of your summer prepping for an online fall semester in our COVID-19 world, so I wanted to reach out to you now with some Letters-relevant highlights from this week’s PROJECT Online Teaching Institute. You can self-enroll in the PROJECT Canvas course for extensive resources, including recordings of all the Zoom sessions. 

The worldwide protests seeking justice in the names of George Floyd and countless other people of color have no doubt been at the forefront of our hearts and minds, and this ongoing conversation will inevitably enrich what, how, and why we teach. In that spirit, social justice, equity, and our community college system-wide call to action were the center of PROJECT’s institute. 

As Ibram X. Kendi writes in How to Be An Antiracist,  “What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what–not who–we are. […] [B]eing an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination” (10, 23). 

So let’s get to work.

If you learn best through audio/video, enjoy my quarantine hair in this recap. If you’re a reader and hyperlink clicker, keep reading!

Choose the adventure that meets you where you’re at:

  • If you’re still feeling fledgling in online education and issues of equity, start by exploring…
    • Unit 0 in PROJECT’s Canvas course for the basics of online instruction. For composition instructors in particular, the embedded videos about Zoom annotations are useful for critical reading exercises and peer review activities, and the breakout rooms are also great for group discussions and activities.
  • How the institute suspended synchronous sessions on June 10th to demonstrate solidarity with the #shutdownacademia movement. Click the hashtag for necessary reading. 
  • If you’re already writing/revising syllabi and assignments centered on social justice and equity, work with…
    • Five Tips for Equitable Syllabus (Unit 1.B4 in the Canvas course)
  • Religious Studies colleague Chase Way’s talk on active learning strategies in the context of social justice and equity, inspired by the work of Paulo Freire and Civil Rights activist Septima Clark, both of whom championed treating students with love and support so they could see themselves as capable. Chase provides concrete examples of how to design discussion boards, quizzes embedded within Canvas Studio videos, Work-Based Learning assignments, and ePortfolios.  

Lastly, check out our Letters Department online resources page that will go live on Monday, the 15th. Here, you will find tons of resources to help you (re)shape your online courses to best support our wonderful students through these challenging times. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions:

In solidarity,

Jade Hidle

Join WritingwithMachines and Post to our Blog

WritingwithMachines is a community based on collaboration. If you would like to join us as a contributor to this blog, please email Jim Sullivan ( while curry is on sabbatical. Once you have been added as an Author, you will be able to share in our exchange of research and effective practices. We look forward to it!

Ready to post? Please follow these 3 steps.

1. Log in and use the “My Sites” drop down menu to hover over “WritingwithMachines” and then select “New Post”

2. Create your post using the editing tools and “+” button

You may want to review a guide on WordPress’ Block Editor. Also, to see what your post will look like once it is published, click the “Preview” button.

To embed videos from Youtube, use the “+” buttons and look for YouTube block. For embeding videos created in Canvas’ Studio, use the Custom HTML editor to add the published Studio embed code. For more guidance, check out this WordPress Tutorial page on embedding videos and how to create and publish videos using Canvas’ Studio.

***Note: be sure to click the “Save Draft” link at the top of the page before you preview or publish your post or some content may not display as intended.

3. Select a “Category,” allow “Comments”, and click “Publish” when your post is complete

We will use the “categories” feature to push content from our blog to other websites. Please choose all of the categories that apply to your blog, but be sure to choose at least one of the categories organized under “Principles for Teaching Composition”

We would also like to encourage discussion, so if you feel comfortable, please allow Comments on your post.

Before you go, be sure you update your WordPress Profile!

Please consider adding a photo of yourself to your profile. This image will appear next to your blog posts, which helps to humanize this space.

We are looking forward to your awesome posts!!

WritingwithMachines Prepares to Sound Off in Week 10

Happy Week 9, Colleagues!!
It’s almost time for another round of WritingwithMachines Sound Offs!
WritignwithMachines Sound Off! logo
Here is a quick recap of the Sound Offs posted by your colleagues during Week 5.
Donna Potratz , Linda Ericksen, and Daniel Ante-Contreras shared how they use classroom technologies to create social, collaborative learning environments.
Donna relies on the huddle boards and structured, digital spaces–like Canvas Discussions and Google Docs–to create a culture of curiosity and social accountability for her ENGL 100 readers. Linda leads her ENGL 100 students in collaborative writing, also using huddle boards and Canvas discussions. Daniel asks his ENGL 100 students to play with the technology of Google Docs–copying and pasting and rearranging and re-purposing and linking and editing–in order to actually play with the concepts and conventions of grammar and rhetoric.
Donna Fazio-DiBenedetto and Tony Burman used their Sound Off to experiment with Docs and Studio as well as explore analogies.
Donna explores how Google Docs could allow her ENGL 100 students to identify, share, and close read passages from Siddhartha. Tony talks about (what he could talk about but doesn’t want to talk about because what he wants to talk about is) an analogy of sports. In Tony’s hybrid ENGL 100, the online classroom offers “practice”–individualized work, like throwing free throws, with lots of failing and lots of succeeding–and “scrimmage”–something that isn’t ‘practice’ but that ensure the skills of practice happen–so that students arrive to the onsite classroom ready for “game day.”
Linda Ericksen and Mary Gross are engaged in a fascinating exploration of the value of anonymity.
Linda uses anonymous posts of essay drafts to “protect the writer” as she guides her ENGL 100 onsite students to investigate possibilities: “What’s working?” and “What needs work?” Mary also uses Canvas to lead her ENGL 100 online students through similar investigations, but for Mary the goal is to create “asynchronous conversation which entailed seeing their faces, making eye contact etc…” i.e. socially rewarding experiences while responding to writing.
If I were to pick out themes and salient take-aways, I would highlight the importance of individualized play and experimentation along with the value of social experiences and collaborative teamwork, all of which are facilitated with technology and all of which serve ENGL 100 students who are growing in confidence as readers, writers, and thinkers.
Next week, Week 10, will be another opportunity to contribute your own “Sound Off!” about
  1. what modalities you are using in your online, hybrid, or tech-heavy onsite ENGL 100
  2. how students are benefiting in access and engagement because of those modalities
  3. why you might make adjustments the next time you teach with those modalities
Look for invitation at the beginning of next week tempting your participation. In the meantime, I hope you are compelled to mull over your teaching and student experiences. I also hope you have an excellent week!

WritingwithMachine in Spring 2019

The contemplative, pedagogy-obsessed nerds of WritingwithMachines are excited to resume our conversation about teaching, writing, and technology in the 2019 spring semester. We will continue our exploration into equity-minded pedagogies and contemplative projects that facilitate more inclusive and meaningful learning experiences online. We will also dive into discussions of onsite practices, including the use of active learning stations and digital forums in the traditional and flipped classroom.

To this end, we will also host 4 FLEX eligible discussions on the 1st Friday of each month (plus one Tuesday in February) focused on pertinent topics:

  • Topic 1: Active Learning Stations: Reading and Writing with Tech in the Onsite Classroom
  • Topic 2: Ways to Know (and intervene for) Your Online Students: Community, Equity, and Engagement
  • Topic 3: The First Annual Exhibition of Multi-modal Practices: with what tech do you teach comp?
  • Topic 4: Designing Contemplative Projects in the Online Writing Class

(By the way, if you’re interested, you can check out the discussions WritingwithMachines hosted last semester, focused on designing Equity-minded Writing Assignments Online, Navigable yet Surprising Online Courses, and Early Semester Assignments for Online Comp Students.)

Finally, we will also welcome a cohort of new and returning faculty to the 1st half of our 10-week Certification Sequence, which begins February 4th. If you are interested in completing or beginning our Certification Sequence, please email curry at

Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in our community of practice. Have an excellent semester.

WritingwithMachines in Fall 2018

The inquisitive, pedagogy-nerds at WritingwithMachines are excited to resume our conversation about teaching, writing, and technology in the 2018 fall semester.

This semester, we are following the lead of our colleagues at MiraCosta and the CUE Equity-minded Teaching Institute who are focused on equity research, culturally sustaining pedagogies, and contemplative projects that facilitate more inclusive and meaningful learning experiences.

Pursuing this work, we will host a table at the Pedagogical Breakfast during MiraCosta’s FLEX week. We will welcome a cohort of new and returning faculty to the 2nd half of our 10-week Certification Sequence, which begins September 4th. We will also host 2-3 discussions over the course of the semester focused on pertinent topics:

  • Topic 1: technology and writing in the traditional, onsite classroom
  • Topic 2: contemplative projects in the digital writing classroom
  • Topic 3: equity-minded course design that facilitates recursive reading/writing experiences

Each of these discussion will kick off with an email invitation to all MiraCosta faculty to contribute resources, perspectives, questions, theories, hopes, and dreams to a discussion board in our Canvas site, which will be collected into an annotated bibliography. Over the course of a two-week window, those who are interested will explore the topic independently via research, classroom practices, skepticism, questions, and ambitious proposals. At the end of the two weeks, those who participate will be invited to join a culminating discussion in Zoom or, who knows, maybe we will help break in MiraCosta’s new Teaching and Learning Center! All time spent in any of the activities described above can be claimed for FLEX credit. The result of this work, including an archive of the meeting, will be published to this blog.

If you are interested in participating in these WritingwithMachines Discussions, please look for emails coming to your inbox throughout the semester. Also, if you are interested in completing or beginning our Certification Sequence, please email curry at

Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in our community of practice. Have an excellent semester.

WritingwithMachines in Spring 2018

This upcoming semester, we would like to reshape the way WritingwithMachines operates by continuing to pursue the best parts of our certification sequence but from our group’s origin point as an inquisitive community of practice. Our goal is to step back from notions of “training” and instead engage in collaborative research and discussion, supporting and edifying each other as writing instructors who utilize technology in our classrooms (both online and onsite).

Our plan is to host 3-4 discussions over the course of the semester focused on pertinent topics:

  • Topic 1: digital annotation tools and strategies for close reading online/OER texts
  • Topic 2: cultural responsive pedagogy within the domain of online reading, writing, and learning
  • Topic 3: technologies that allow for synchronous, online discussions used to support reading, drafting, peer review, and instruction delivery
  • Topic 4: course design that encourages a recursive writing process

Each discussion will kick off with an email invitation that describes the topic and links to an annotated bibliography cultivated by various Letters and WritingwithMachines faculty. This bibliography will list resources, perspectives, questions, theories, hopes, and dreams and will be housed in our Canvas website. Over the course of a two weeks window, those who are interested in pursuing the topic will explore this bibliography independently via further research, actual classroom practices, criticisms, questions, and ambitious proposals. At the end of the two weeks, those who participate will be invited to share their responses in a culminating discussion by posting to this blog and/or by attending an hour long meeting online.

Our hope is that spreading each discussion out over a few weeks will create asynchronous opportunities for individuals to pop in for 15-minutes here and 20-minutes there, culminating in a rad blog post or a rich synchronous meeting such that by the end of each multi-week period we will be rewarded with cool ideas, new tricks and tips, and refreshing commiseration. All time spent in any of the activities described above can be claimed for FLEX credit.

If you’re interested in participating, please look for emails coming to your inbox throughout the semester. Also, if you are interested in completing or beginning our Certification Sequence, please email curry at

Thank you for taking the time to consider participating in our community. Have an excellent semester.

Welcome to the new WritingwithMachines Blog!

It’s new. It’s shiny! It’s supported by our very own MiraCosta College (at least, they’re lending us the prestige of their wordpress url)! And there is even a little \w/M/ avatar saluting you from the corner of your browser tab!! Look at that little guy! How cute!!

To find the archive of our past blogs, please visit . For all things new and exciting and techy and teachery…bookmark this blog

WritingwithMachines in Fall 2017

The WritingwithMachines group is looking forward to the fall semester. This blog is about to become enriched once again as we begin our pedagogy-based course on teaching composition with technology, the second course offered in our Certification Sequence. This semester, our “brown-bag” discussions will move to an online forum. We’ll miss the snacks, but we’ll likely enjoy the more flexible and accessible forum Zoom affords. If you are interested in participating in exchanges that explore the intersections of writing, reading, technology, and pedagogy, we hope you will join us for one or many of these discussions.

WritingwithMachine’s Fall Certification Sequence

The Fall Certification Sequence will begin September 11th. Faculty who participate will complete 5-units over the course 10-weeks, covering topics such as:

  • the benefits and limitations of digital feedback and assessments
  • how issues of accessibility and universal design are linked to concepts of rhetoric and composition
  • how to create collaborative assignments using networked technologies

We hope many of our colleagues who completed the Spring Certification Course will continue to edify our discussions this fall, and for anyone interested in joining us now, more information about how to prepare for the Sequence will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please scroll down and explore this blog, or contact curry mitchell at for more information.

WritingwithMachine’s Fall Meeting Schedule

The WritingwithMachines group will host 3 open-discussion meetings in the fall on 9/21, 10/19, and 11/16 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm in Zoom. Participation is FLEX eligible. Stay for the whole hour or drop in for a bit. Enjoy rich inquiries with colleagues regarding reading, writing, technology, and pedagogy. Oh, and Canvas…we’ll probably talk about Canvas too.

Contact curry ( if you’re interested, or check back on this blog to find the url to join the discussion. Hope to see you there!!