The end is just the beginning…
The end is just the beginning… avatar

I think the common thread throughout my posts is the improvement of collaboration with new technologies, vetting them, and how to incorporate them effectively into my class. Likewise,  I think collaborative annotation/reading analysis with equity in mind.  

Me: What do you like to read? Students: Tweets
Me: What do you like to read? Students: Tweets avatar

Sorry for such a long post. 

Equity and Accessibility (Warnock Ch 7): 

Warnock touches upon some important points or reminders here, including making texts available much earlier before the semester starts, especially when not using a traditional textbook. Even if/when I use a textbook, I give them a heads up so that they can get it through amazon or other cheaper sources and links where they can get other/cheaper editions, or give them options to get the e-book version, make copies, print out the pdf, etc.. Giving them different formats and time benefits distance learners, especially, but also our students who are waiting for financial aid.  I think this also relates to giving them the syllabus and a welcome/hello letter in different formats before the semester starts as well.  

Multimodal texts: I like the idea of this and definitely incorporate this to supplement textual analysis, but I think it’s important to be mindful of WHEN to use these and to also make sure they are accessible in terms of browser support or captioning.  I don’t like to use these up front in case of giving too much away that would lesson their “cold” analysis and original thoughts and inquiries, but maybe after their own analysis, to validate their thoughts, or get them thinking about the text in different ways as more supplement rather than scaffold. 

Library Equity: I never really thought about this until some of the colleges I work at started having these equity minded library workshops.  I usually have them start getting their feet wet with our library databased early in the semester with low stake exercises.  This kind of reminds me of my first class as a grad student when my professor made us look up a word in the real Oxford English Dictionary.  I was shocked that a dictionary was a dozen volumes long when I was used to the one book dictionary and that this one had the complete origin and history of every word.  I was sort of in shock, enlightened, and overwhelmed just from this one exploration and assignment.  This is what a lot of our students feel like when exposed to our library databases.  Some of them do not even know how to access it from the school’s website, which as we all know is like two simple clicks of the mouse.  A lot of students do not know what is available to them, the huge advantage of having a wealth of vetted knowledge at their disposal, or how to navigate those resources, to use more focused words and the huge difference an extra word in the search parameter can make or using the AND/OR in the searching.  I think it’s incredibly valuable to teach this early in the semester, again, with low stakes assignments, or schedule a library orientation early on. Something that I did not think about is using the library to double check the copyrights and open resource status of the materials I use – this is something that I will definitely start doing.


Conversation and Writing (Warnock Ch 8 & other)

I almost annotated everything in this chapter. Some of the things that I didn’t really consider is how online students have an advantage in their discussions with writing/message boards vs. a f2f class.  I always assumed they had a disadvantage not having that f2f interaction and that message boards tend to be more dry and not as vibrant or rich as in class discussions, but Warnock certainly enlightened me on several advantages such as online students given more time to digest and express their opinions, messages as practices to refine their writing skills, developing coherence and support within their discussions, etc… 

Something that I continue grappling with is my role in the discussion board.  I usually just let the students be in charge of the forums with me just being an outside facilitator with minimal interjection. I do, however, have very explicit rules/rubric for them to follow to solicit the best discussions possible.  I usually only comment regarding following instructions or not, and maybe length of content, instead of accuracy of content.  Like Warnock suggests, I let them freely “roam.”  Like Warnock says, if I go too in depth in responding to every student’s primary and secondary posts, a teacher can drive themselves mad and preoccupy all their time.  Instead, I use announcements to address all of the students’ discussions for that particular assignment, since most of the discussions have a common thread and can be applied to most, if not all the students at once.  Again, this balance or my role(s) is something I’m still constantly experimenting and grappling with.  

One idea that I really liked from Warnock is the idea of using the message boards as part of other assignments. Right now, I use them as an extension of every individual homework assignment for the pedagogy of using your own brain first, then multiple brains (collaborative learning), and then the collective brain.  I never thought about using the message boards as part of a larger or meta assignment later on. 

Annotated bibliography: I am fascinated with the tools of Perusal and Hypothesis and the whole realm of annotation technologies.  I thought the annotations of The Talmud in that video discussion were fascinating in that the commentary and meta commentary went outwards surrounding the text in a 2-D way.  This instantly made me think of how helpful it would be in annotating my favorite book  House of Leaves in this way. Collaborative annotating is something I will definitely start incorporating in my class and I think is a great way to pair with how I use Google Docs as a collaborative prewriting and outlining tool already.  Besides that, I’m going to the gym right now to start listening to those Podcasts in Teaching in Higher Education


Writing Process Overview
Writing Process Overview avatar

The way I structure my class is that I go through things pretty slowly and methodically for the first paper in order for my students to build their writing “toolbelt.”  After they have the foundational tools in place, then every unit after that speeds up and the process of assignments progresses.  So, for this video, I’m giving an overview of how I teach the writing process that leads up to our first essay.  Each Module and page is a step by step approach from building the foundational concepts to the reading assignment, to writing process, essay anatomy, and revising/editing/proofreading steps to achieve their final draft and reflection.  Each assignment has a corresponding discussion board and some assignments I use with Collaborations/shared Google Docs, mostly for thesis revisions and class brainstorming/prewrites.  Here is my youtube link:

My homie, Socrates
My homie, Socrates avatar

  • I apologize for being so late with this unit.  As an adjunct at 4 different schools, all my different spring breaks messed me up a bit, including my daughter’s, in which she pretty much preoccupied all my time.  

Socratic Method – This is the philosophy I center my pedagogy around the most.  I love the socratic dialogue/dialectal and constructivism approaches to learning as opposed to the fill your brain up and regurgitate or lecture based methods.  However, translating a socratic method to online courses is a tricky one.  What I really like about Tony Burman’s video is that diagram of using cms/online tools to facilitate collaborative learning.  I like the idea of individual exploration wikis/blogs, mini lectures of patterns in responses, collaboration through discussion boards and google docs, and how that diagram can be shifted around and work cyclically and not linearly.  In my class, I use individual assignments and then into discussion boards and sometimes google docs in bigger collaborative assignments, but I have yet to use wikis, blogs, or listservs as Warnock suggests. 

*** In my critical thinking class, I like to start with the socratic dialogue as a means of a critical thinking strategy.  I use the classic Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, A conversation between Waldo and Carmen San Diego on the concept of love, and a socratic dialogue on fait, which also play into a research paper on ontology and self-awareness.  They create their own socratic dialogues and also role play characters to generate different perspectives and “lenses” as a scaffolding exercise. 

Warnock Text: Some things I definitely want to incorporate and build in both my online and f2f courses is service learning and group projects with a service learning component. I’ve also always wanted to turn my entire course into a video game as I have already mentioned in other blog posts, but this is a lofty goal that may take a long time and resources I don’t have to accomplish. As far as syllabus design goes (Chapter 5), I’m actually pretty confident in my syllabus and reading this chapter gives me some validation and peace of mind that my syllabus addresses most of what Warnock recommends.  Some things that I definitely want to incorporate better is messaging rules. My organization, the way I name files and the rules I have my students name files is a bit messy still and can use better organization. One thing that I’m not present enough about is the section on technology, especially regarding how slow/fast they upload large files, or even accessibility to large files using old outdated technology.  I assume that students have the most updated technology or can use the school’s computers, so I don’t really take into account students who use old slow computers or do not have the current software like microsoft office or pdf readers.  Along this tangent of the time it takes like connection time/lag, I also want to incorporate time expectations for all my assignments to help them better manage their time.   

Use of technology
Use of technology avatar

To be honest, I am Cave-man-esque when keeping up with technological tools let alone mastering them.  I often feel that it’s just overwhelming with so many offerings, evaluating each one, and then implementing them in my class or LMS.  I only have experience with BlackBoard and Canvas. I think Canvas’ layout, user-friendliness, and navigational simplicity is much more intuitive than BB.  That being said, here are a few tools that I love to use for Canvas:

Collaboration: Google docs/Office 365 – Just a matter of preference really, what your students are more accustomed to and what your college’s LMS offers. I use this for group/class notes, projects/presentations, brainstorming/mind-mapping.  I love how everyone can see who is writing/contributing.

Quizzes/Surveys – I mainly use this to produce surveys, which I use for my students to evaluate the content of every module, evaluate/reflect on their own performance, and a final reflection/survey for the class/semester as a whole.  I love using this as data analysis along with Canvas’ Learning Analytics on how to improve my class and makes it a lot easier to give my students individualized attention and feedback. I can also migrate it to MS EXCEL to further filter data or present it in different ways. Here is an informative link on using Canvas Analytics:

Speedgrader: I love Speedgrader.  What I want to talk about thought is annotating/feedback student’s assignments/essays.  I used to provide feedback the old-fashioned way, with a (red) pen on their hard copies.  However, I grew burdened with the amounts of papers I’d have to lug around all the time and the fact that my handwriting is nearly illegible (I call it chinese hieroglyphics).  However, I found it easier in the way I can see a paper as a whole and faster than say providing feedback on I do like the Turnitin integration with Canvas, but I primarily use it just to check plagiarism.  I do want to mess around more with the PeerMark feature for online workshopping.

Although Canvas’ annotation/feedback tools aren’t perfect, it does make handwriting feedback almost obsolete and I find it way more intuitive than turnitin.  There are some bugs with it, so I’m still not completely sold. I’m very excited to start exploring annotating using a smart pen However, in my research only IPAD users were able to do it seamlessly with Canvas.  I found it ironic that IPAD supports Canvas, but Canvas doesn’t read .pages yet. I heard very recently that MS Surface Pro has made improvements in its surface pen’s integration with Canvas, but I haven’t heard any recent updates regarding how seamless it is now.  For both capabilities, it takes a lot of $$$$ to own an IPAD or Surface Pro, but I think that it may be worth the investment to be able to grade and mark up my student’s essays that way.

However, the tools that Curry provided in the annotated bibliography are making me explore other ways to annotate my students’ papers.

NameCoach/Attendance – I am horrible with remembering/memorizing names and putting it to faces.  I use the attendance tool, both list and seating chart, name coach, google sheets, creating their own account/bio on Canvas, and daily attendance questions to help me remember and how to address them by their preferred nick name or gender pronoun.  

  • One tool/assignment I do want to incorporate with their account/personal bio and maybe an ice breaker or an extension of an ice breaker activity is Padlet, Pixar Story Spine, and Adobe Spark to create their own digital stories/bios.  

Some tools I want to learn and implement:

  • Screencast: One tool that this course uses and that Curry recommended on giving essay/assignment feedback.
  • Canvas ARC: I use videos in-class, but not my online classes; this would be a great tool to start incorporating lessons and assignments on videos.
  • Flipgrid- Again, another video tool that can do a variety of things.
  • Kahoot- I’m all about trying to make my online class more into an interactive video game, so I think this platform helps do that.
  • Poll Everywhere: This survey tool can be used in the classroom or online and can be embedded with powerpoints or google slides, etc..  I plan to use this alongside quizzes/surveys and the analytics/reflections/evaluations of my classroom.
  • Adobe Spark: I want to get more mastery behind this tool, specifically for student portfolio applications.  
  • Prezi – I’m a little embarrassed to say that most of my presentations are still in powerpoint.  I’ve migrated a few into Prezi, but definitely still a neanderthal in this regard. I’m hoping to use more prezi for instruction, but also navigational or orientation purposes (like Curry’s example).
  • Microsoft sway

****One thing that I’m not sure if there is a tool or app yet for it, but I would love to be able to create lectures using animation and an avatar.  Like I said in my previous post, I cringe when I record my lectures and think it would be fun to record my lectures, but turn them into an anime form and an avatar.  


2 Important Takeaways from Chapter 3 of Teaching Writing Online: 

  1. The importance of having a backup plan (or several back up plans)
  2. Virtual Worlds – Second life – I have never heard of this and plan on exploring it further


Principles of Teaching Online Composition
Principles of Teaching Online Composition avatar

Hi everyone, 

Sorry I’m a bit late to this.  There was an administrative/technological issue and my own procrastination. 

Here are some key elements for an online course that I think are important: 

  1. Clear and organized navigation and design – Personally, I think this is important because through taking online classes as a student to teaching online as an instructor, I’ve seen so many variations of how a course is designed and organized, from horribly simple and confusing, to remarkably artistic. I always believe you should design your course for the lowest common denominator of student, the ones that have never used a computer or the internet.  After keeping it clear and simple, you can then add elements to it for the more technologically savvy and design oriented students. 
  2. Accessibility: This kind of overlaps with the previous element.  I only mention this one because I had no clue about accessibility and 508 standards when I first started getting Distance Ed certified.  There are some simple things to accessibility that your pdf/adobe software will help you with, but some things can get more complex and tricky as there are A LOT of things within content to course design that need to be 508 compliant. 
  3. Support, Scaffolding, and Feedback: Often times, students think online classes are easier, but as we all know, online classes, especially writing/English ones, can be that much harder.  I don’t necessarily want to make my support and scaffolding easier for them compared to a physical classroom, like spoon feeding them, but I do want to give them that extra support, more stream-lined and connective scaffolding, while still challenging them.  Feedback is of course always essential, and even more so in an online environment.  This means constant and continual feedback and being on top of that.  This is something that I sometimes have difficulty with and drop the ball at times because online classes can easily be forgotten or put on the back burner.  Nuances to feedback is also important to keep in mind.  Since my students don’t have those visual cues, I have to be mindful of creating a more positive tone to my feedback, so that they don’t feel I’m attacking them or being overly serious.  Using different kinds of feedback can help in this regard.  Besides the typical written feedback, I often utilize the audio feedback option as well.  
  4. Using different tools and content: I think it is important to utilize the different mediums to learn besides just a textbook.  This includes blogs, youtube, ted talk links, and as much supplemental instruction as possible.  This is something that I personally would like to improve upon.  I feel weird on camera, so I need to do a better job at posting videos and implementing more personalized touches.  I also such at graphic design, and I need to work on making things more aesthetically interesting.  It would be really cool to have my course as a video game quest one day…
  5. From the book: Some things that I annotated or found helpful so far from the book is the difference between a different approach vs. a progressive approach in the way we translate classroom to online.  I thought it was interesting when he talked about the preference for online composition in “textualizing the class” and that discussion now becomes “writing to interact with others.” Some of the things that I found interesting to be present to is the concept of “hivemind” and the idea that we should be mindful of those “periodic moments of malaise during which (we) suspect that everything (we) are doing is wrong…” Lastly, I really love the idea of being exposed and vulnerable and the idea of the “real” voice may be completely different from the voice we use in a physical classroom than the voice we use online.  This made me think of being a different avatar in different settings vs trying to be my most authentic self everywhere. 

I apologize for not using screencast like most of you. I used youtube instead for my little Canvas overview vid.