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.
Equity: 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: