Towards a Technology in the Writing Class Teaching Statement
Towards a Technology in the Writing Class Teaching Statement avatar


Thank you to everyone for the opportunity to participate in our inspiring conversation over the last semester and year.  It was a real pleasure as I have learned so much from you:) 

My plan in this brief paragraph (we’ll see @ that) is to re-read the posts for this sequence to see if I can discern the contours of my teaching philosophy for technology in the writing class.  This is a total experiment and I have no idea if it will work or not, yet ideally I can sift out some principles that I can use to guide my use of technology in the writing class.

UNIT 1: How Technology Can = Equityminded Acceleration

UNIT 2: Exploring the Pedagogical Value of Blogs in the Writing Class

UNIT 3: How Can I Use Technology to Enhance/Enact My Teaching Philosopy

UNIT 4: Using Technology to Help Students Understand the Reading Process

UNIT 5: : Perusall, the Reading Process, and Engaged Difficulty

Guiding Principles for Technology in the Writing Class

  1. Technology in the Writing Class enhances your equity-based teaching: for example you can embed basic skills and use technology to guide students through the reading and writing process
  2. Technology enables you to “capture” and “archive” the work you do as a class as you move through the reading/writing process so that all of the scaffolding and knowledge you assembled as you worked on this or that is available for students to use when they are drafting an essay
  3. You can use technology to open up your class towards writing that is more engaging, creative, owned by students. Laura Gibbs talks about using blogs in the writing class in her episode of teaching in higher ed and I write about this in my post for unit 2.  My students now used Piktochart and Canva to create an info-graphic on an issue they selected and were totally engaged by this assignment.
  4. In organizing your course content–think about process–replicating in your organizational scheme the reading process, writing process, collective knowledge-building process: In designing your online courses ask: how can I organize my unit content to emulate X process? Image that underprepared students scrolling through your unit before sitting down to write the first draft of an essay: What would you want them to see?
  5. Technology enhances our ability to teach Culturally Responsive Courses: we can use Ted Talks, You Tube Videos, the work of historically underrepresented writers and artists–technology opens up our courses to culturally responsive content and approaches
  6. It is possible to create authentic caring relationships in online environments.  I use “authentic caring” here  in the way Angela Valenzuela defines it in Subtractive Schooling. 

Perusall, the Reading Process, and Engaged Difficulty
Perusall, the Reading Process, and Engaged Difficulty avatar

         I was inspired by the video of Lisa Lane’s demonstration of Hypothesis and Perusall and immediately began to think of ways I could use Hypothesis and Perusall in my Integrated Reading and Writing ENG 100 class. Last night we were in the library working with our librarian to understand how to evaluate online sources. As I watched Lisa’s video, I thought that part of that library session next time might include students using Hypothesis to run the CRAP test on a website and annotate their work then share their evaluation work with the class. We did some practice last night, yet I can see how Hypothesis would make it so much more engaging. The other idea is to use Perusall instead of or as part of the Funds of Knowledge (FoK) dialectical reading journal assignment. The way it works now, students complete a FoK dialectical reading journal as part of an at-home reading activity. This particular journal is asking students to record or monitor how what they are bringing to the text (both their general and literary repertoires) are shaping their meaning-making process. Usually students share what they wrote in their reading journals in groups of four using the active learning stations—yet what if instead of sharing their journals—they used Perusall to annotate some of what they captured in their journals, say three to five places (annotations) per student in different colors. In the end, each group would have a map that would graphically represent the core principle in the class of reading as a social interaction in which the student is responsible for speaking back to the text, saying something of their own, constructing their own meaning and leaning to see reading as “a struggle within and against the languages of academic life” (Bartholomae and Petrosky, “Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts”).

       The other idea I drew from both Lisa’s demonstration and from “Beyond Highlighting: How to Get the Most From Your Annotations” is to use Perusall as a way to work with the “Difficulty Essay” assignments.   In the “difficulty essay” IRW teachers ask students to approach moments in the text that are striking in their complexity and begin to work through them in order to get a better idea of their purposes and work. The Difficulty Essay divides the reading process into four steps: initial observations, question (s), + Plan of action, new insights, and reflection. This sequence makes thinking visible and allows students to approach the reading process more strategically. Assignments like allow students to learn what types of things are difficult for them to understand and to begin to develop a methodology for figuring them out, as well as to practice supporting the conclusions they come to at the end of the process with evidence from the text. On the day students complete their difficulty essay, we could use Perusall to annotate and share the specific part of the text they zeroed in on for their difficulty essay, their plan of action, and what new insights they gained from the process. Since each student developed a strategy, a plan of action, to overcome their difficulty, we could use Perusall to assemble a map of the meaning construction strategies each person in a group used. Super cool right? I found the video and the annotated bibliography really helpful in thinking about how technology is changing the way we read and how to use it to teach integrated reading and writing and look forward to our Zoom session.

Using Technology to Help Students Understand the Reading Process
Using Technology to Help Students Understand the Reading Process avatar

Hello Everyone, Happy Spring:)

 Our task this week is to share how we teach the writing process in one example for one specific course. I am going to approach our task by showing you how I scaffold my student’s reading in ways that use technology to guide them through the Integrated Reading and Writing process (sorry no video I am doing this between drafts and on a super clunky computer)

The questions guiding my inquiry are: How do we use technology to scaffold the reading, writing, and thinking process? What kinds of process, scaffolding work, can we do better with technology?

The technology enhanced process-based reading work I am going to share with you is in conversation with the following excerpts from Warnock’s Chapter 4:

Meta Learning: the idea thatTeachers should maximize the inherently archival nature of OWI as much as possible…[and]…metacognitive activities are ideal opportunities for process-based work…” (165)

Building Assignments: “technology facilitates the division of work into process components. Some simple asynchronous technologies—message boards, blogs—facilitate the kinds of conversations that help build dialogue around course projects”

“All our work becomes an artifact for the course that we refer to through the process of developing a writing project which is a useful way of teaching students how to scaffold their own thinking and writing” (168)

“Rather than just learning best practices [or best examples] from me—one voice—they see strategies their peers use” (169)

“Also, quiet students now “are much more likely to make their opinions known in an online environment where they can contemplate their words before the rest of the group has access to them” (170)


My examples of process-based reading work are also in conversation with the following folks thinking about what reading is and what it is we are doing when we read:

 Mariolina Salvatori “Conversations with Texts

“This view of reading enables us to imagine a text’s argument not as a position to be won and defended by one interlocutor at the expense of another, but rather, as topic about which interlocutors generate critical questions that enable them to reflect on the meaning of knowledge and on different processes of knowledge formation”

“theories that turn text and readers into “interlocutors” of each other…such theories construct reading as an activity by means of which readers can engage texts responsibly and critically”


Kathleen McCormick “Text, reader, ideology”

“Readers therefor must be regarded as inhabitants of particular socio-cultural formations, with particular literary and general ideologies, who appropriate from society, both consciously and unconsciously, their own particular repertoires…The way readers respond to texts will depend on how their general and literary repertoires interact with those of the text”


Anderson and Pearson “A schema theory view of basic processes in reading comprehension”

The idea that a reader’s schemata or a reader’s Funds of Knowledge shapes their reading of a text

and from Rose & Hull “This Wooden Shack Place”

students have a right to their own reading


Below is an attempt to sketch out my Integrated Reading and Writing Process with embedded examples. It is an overview of how I use technology to scaffold my student’s reading in ways that guide them through the Integrated Reading and Writing process. The idea for the diagram is from previous work on the Integrated Reading and Writing instructional cycle and what I’ve found floating online about the California Acceleration Project.


The Integrated Reading and Writing Process 

Using discussion forums, shared google docs, and active learning stations 

Pre-Reading Activities: Videos of authors or sometimes students giving a talk or discussing the subject of the reading; PPPC_ Let’s Pre-read Anyon Together–PPPC Reading Strategy work in groups; A 5 minute internet search (something like a quickie version of the I-search paper); A free-write discussion post to activate prior knowledge (KLW+ what do you know about X, what do you want to know?)

Post-Reading Activities: Freire Graphic Organizer and Anyon Graphic Organizer;In-class work on assigned key terms or reading questions; in-class sharing of your initial responses free-write/share in groups; group discussions; group presentation of assigned pages in the article (2-3 pages) per group

At Home Reading Activities: Students complete a one page, Reading Responses, Questions for a Second Reading, Critical Reading Log, Take Home Reading Quiz.

In-Class Metacognitive Work: After students spend time using writing to work on the readings at home they share their work with their peers  (Group Work to Break Down Kozol and Riley) and spend time reflecting on how the writing helped us develop our first draft of the reading. We talk about a “Shitty First Draft” of a reading, a second draft, a revision of our first reading, in the same way we talk about process in writing.   Students also use this metacognitive activity to set reading goals for the second and maybe even third draft of their reading. Students do this metacognitive work in a  “Reflections” journal in google docs that they use to track their learning (and assemble their tools) and will use this at the end of class to write their own “Theory of Reading and Writing” a la  Writing Across Contexts (56-58) Teaching for Transfer Approach

In-Class Practice Applying the readings: Using discussion forums, google docs and ALSS: We spend time in class practicing how we might use the framework, ideas, key concepts in the readings towards our own purpose; We use discussion forums to practice writing a Topic Sentence where we are engaging X reading; We also use discussion forums to develop possible essay outlines that include each reading and how we will engage it towards our own purpose

Formal Essay Writing: Students move to use the readings clustered around each essay towards their own purpose in a major essay assignment.

Esto es todo por hoy–back to reading student essays–I look forward to reading your posts:))

How Can I Use Technology to Enhance/ Enact the Principles of My Teaching Philosophy?
How Can I Use Technology to Enhance/ Enact the Principles of My Teaching Philosophy? avatar


In Tony’s video, I really appreciate the way he defines student-centered teaching using Frerian concepts.  More specifically, Freire in “The Banking Concept of Education” says that in traditional educational settings “Education …becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor.  Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filling, and storing the deposits.” Instead, Tony argues, we should think about ways to deliver course content so that it is student-centered and students are involved in the production of knowledge and development of critical consciousness.  The question then is how do we do that in an online course? How do we use the technologies and modalities available to us in an online environment in ways that are student-centered, so that “when I enter the classroom I should be someone who is open to new ideas, open to questions, and open to the curiosities of the students as well as their inhibitions. In other words, I ought to be aware of being a critical and inquiring subject in regard to the task entrusted to me, the task of teaching and not that of transferring knowledge” (Pedagogy of Freedom, 49).  

Some of what was most important for me from Tony’s video:

  1. The question of how to use the technologies and modalities that are available in online teaching in ways that are student-centered?
  2. Don’t let technology dictate pedagogy: Instead think of how you can use technology to enhance the ways your teaching enacts your teaching philosophy
  3. Certain modalities are not necessarily more/less student-centered: it’s more about what you do with each tool; developing a student-centered habit of thought around your use of technology in the class
  4. Don’t Lecture too much, provide short mini lectures about a single topic and provide opportunities for students to practice, question, and apply
  5. Don’t design your entire course, design your materials then teach the course so that each week is dynamic
  6. Most importantly: enjoy the experience and give yourself permission to play: be silly, sing, wear a funny hat, read a good poem, include a video of you dropping into the biggest bomb of the winter…

In response to Warnock’s Chapter 5, I really appreciate the way this chapter is structured: He boils down “teaching strategies to several basic approaches” (28) and then dedicates a chunk of this chapter to a discussion of how you would migrate each approach from a f2f course to an online environment.  This is supper practical as I can see myself, reaching for the book as I am trying to figure out how to migrate x online:)

Warnock includes a quote by Elizabeth Ashburn, that is worth repeating here “teaching content that is central to the discipline and also relevant to student’s lives is a …fundamental attribute for designing meaningful learning experiences.”  When I read this I immediately thought of a conversation I am totally immersed in within Writing Studies around the theme of our writing courses and more specifically, the movement towards Writing About Writing themed courses. When I first read about the idea of having the “theme” of the writing class be writing knowledge, an introduction to Writing Studies, I was very unsure–because it would mean, for me, doing away with the culturally responsive themes I use in my courses–yet the more I read and the more I listen to what Douglas Down, Elizabeth Wardle, and Howard Tinberg have to say the more I see how I can do both,  teach culturally responsive Writing About Writing courses in which, for example, rhetoric is a threshold concept, yet my introduction to the concept includes both its Greco-Roman roots and what Damian Baca calls Rhetorics of the Americas. While this may seem like a tangent,  I am reading Warnock at the same time that I am rethinking my courses, so that everything Warnock is teaching me about teaching writing online is through this filter of the really exciting conversations about Writing About Writing and Teaching For Transfer I am sort of caught up in.


Here is the idea I included in the google doc asking us to write about one student-centered activity: Students in my class complete a “funds of Knowledge” (FoK) double-entry reading journal in which they keep track of how their home “funds of knowledge” are informing their reading of a particular text.  On the day we are to discuss or work with the reading in class, we begin that discussion by sharing in groups, using the active learning stations, what we recorded in our FoK double-entry reading journal. This way the discussion begins with us thinking about reading as an interaction between literary and general repertoires.

Here is how I might migrate this activity online:

  1. I would have students watch a YouTube video by one of the folks in multicultural/bilingual education who coined the term
  2. Then I would do a mini video lecture taking students through handout I have that explains what a dialectical reading journal is and how this particular journal is asking them to include their response and emphasize their funds of knowledge i.e. how what you are bringing from “home” is informing your reading
  3. Students would then read the text on their own and complete/submit their dialectical reading journal assignment on Canvas
  4. Students would then get into groups of 3 or 4 and respond to the reading journals using the collaborations tool on Canvas
  5. The activity would end with a short paragraph where each student responds to a discussion asking them to reflect on how this assignment and the conversations they had with their peers changed or shifted the way they think about reading

Just because I loved Tony’s Frerian description of online student-centered learning, I am ending with my favorite Freire quote: “In problem-posing education, people develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation”

Just because I loved the singing in Tony’s video





Exploring the Pedagogical Value of Blogs in the Writing Class
Exploring the Pedagogical Value of Blogs in the Writing Class avatar

I really appreciate Warnock’s Guideline 9: which basically says that when it comes to technology less is more.  Keep it simple, especially when you are just starting to teach online and use a table (p. 20-21) to be strategic about what you will begin with and get the right mix—then expand later, as you develop your courses.  This was super useful advice.

A few years ago I chucked the course management system altogether and experimented with a course done entirely on blogs.  I was teaching at a school that had a clunky course management system and clunky faculty support to go with it.  I think it was Blackboard, yet there were always issues and there were just endless clicks to get anything done so out of frustration with the school’s course management system and also out of excitement about the pedagogical use of blogs, I did a whole course using linked blogs. 

The course was called Redefining America and all of the course content, syllabus, readings, daily agenda/homework was posted on a blog by that name.  The class was held in a room where each student had access to a laptop.  At the beginning of the class, we read a few articles about the importance of developing your digital literacy skills: how our “information age” requires new literacies; how successful participation in new media culture is the new hidden curriculum (Jenkins); and via Elizabeth Clark, how we needed to “reshape our pedagogy with new uses of the technologies that are changing our personal and professional lives?” (28).  We also spent two days settings up our blogs and linking them or following each other.

I had discovered blogs and blogging and the world just looked and smelled sweeterJ  I read everything I could find on using blogs in the writing class: Charles Tyson, Elizabeth Clark, Richardson’s definition of blog as a genre.  I wanted to know the pedagogical potential of using blogs and blogging in the composition classroom? 

According to Richardson “blogs facilitate what I think is a new form of genre that could be called “connective writing,” a form that forces those who do it to read carefully and critically, that demands clarity and cogency in its construction, that is done for a wide audience, and that links to the sources of the ideas expressed.” The interactivity in blogs facilitates collaboration and social writing.  How cool is that! He even mapped out the differences between traditional writing and blogging:

writing stops                            blogging continues

                                                (is an ongoing process)

writing is inside                       blogging is outside

writing is monologue               blogging is conversation

writing is thesis                       writing is conversation

Write what you know              Write to think through what to state truth/facts you know—to question and explore it

Following Charles Tyson I was going to use blogs to create  “engaged citizenship” where  “students were no longer passive observers but participants in a larger conversation that extended well beyond the walls of the composition classroom” (Tyson 131).  My students were also going to understand the power of literacy and why writing matters, like Clark, who writes that her students “are immersed in the immediacy of writing, their power as authors, and their ability to comment publicly in the sphere of intellectual exchange” (34).  And finally via Benson and Reyman using blogs in the writing class was going to help me develop audience awareness, genre awareness, and social engagement (the ability to make real-life connections).  Oh, and did I mention that putting all the readings as pdfs on the course blog meant this was a zero textbook cost class? 

Folks writing about the pedagogical value of blogs in the composition class emphasize the idea that you use blogs to do other things, non-conventional, non-traditional kinds of tasks, you don’t set up a blog to do the same things you do on paper without blogs, you use blogs to encourage different kinds of reading, writing, and thinking¾different “habits of thought.”  So did I succeed here?   Hm….not sure, I suppose you can check out some of the blogs my students produced are they redefining America? They are linked to the Redefining America course blog.  Braden Young, a Chinese-American student from San Francisco’s Chinatown used his final project to help us rethink Chinatown in new ways.


From my experience, here are the benefits of using blogs in our writing classes:

Blogs can:

1. Teach students the new literacies they need

2. Expand the walls of the classroom

3. Archive the learning that teachers and students do—provide a place for metacognitive reflection

4. Support different student learning styles

5. Helps students develop rhetorical sensitivity and practice rhetorical analysis

6. Help students engage in ongoing conversations and enact their power as authors

7. Teach students that writing matters i.e. change how students think of themselves in relation to writing

I look forward to reading your posts and if you’ve tried using blogs let me know how it went for you



How Technology Can=Equityminded Acceleration
How Technology Can=Equityminded Acceleration avatar


Hi Everyone,

I am excited to continue our conversation this spring:)

Some of the key principles of teaching writing that I want to organize my online and technology enhanced courses around are:

1. Equityminded Acceleration through highly supported courses: Providing enough resources so that students who are not as prepared can succeed in my class. Right now I have a whole series of handouts (on thesis statements, topic sentences, paragraph structure, using the words/ideas of others to develop your own purpose etc.) that I have digitized and put in a “Resources” module, yet I would like to move towards embedding these basic skills just-in-time resources in the way that the writers of the Online Education Initiative Embedding Basic Skills Handbook suggest.

2. Culturally Relevant: Courses that are responsive to our HSI student needs and immediately relevant to their lived realities. Many Latinx students have been schooled in a deficit mindset in which their home culture, language, their way of thinking, is seen as an obstacle for their academic success: In order to shift students out of that mindset, I design courses with themes that directly speak to the ontological and epistemological work we need to do: the reading and essay prompts ask students to zero in on their fear, apprehension, sense of self-efficacy as a major thread or inquiry question guiding our class.  When students read about educational inequality they begin to understand that maybe the alienation they are feeling from the academic tasks we are asking them to perform are not alien because they are “not smart enough/not college material,” maybe they are alienating because my K-12 schooling did not provide the academic literacy skills I need to succeed in college. In the video below I will share three equity-based instructional practices I am using in my current Course Syllabus English 100 Spring 2019 The video below begins with a brief review of resources I’ve found towards enacting this principle.

3. Active learning: technology-enhanced active-learning group activities are typical in my integrated reading and writing instructional cycle. The work that we do for each essay is modeled after courses developed by Katie Hern and other folks though the California Acceleration Project.

My instructional cycle includes, pre-reading activities, post-reading activities (reading responses and group work), pre-writing activities in groups, essay writing on their own and revision work through peer reviews.  Students spend a good amount of time working in groups using chromebooks and our active learning stations.  In the video below I am sharing with you a day in my current ENG 100 course, a zero textbook course in which student writing is the major “text” in the class.

If you want to know more, here is a link to the California Acceleration Project and here is a link to a Sample Accelerated Course






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



Unit 3: Got Equity?
Unit 3: Got Equity? avatar

Hello Everyone,

My blog post is primarily engaging the powerpoint presentation by Dr. Woods “Online Culturally Responsive Teaching” I will begin by highlighting 3 key points Dr. Woods makes as a way to frame and begin his keynote address then I am going to attempt to map the recommendations for practice Dr. Woods makes to a set of recommendations I used in a workshop for f2f culturally responsive teaching. This experiment will let me see how much of what I recommend for f2f courses is applicable to online courses. Ok, here it goes…

First, he defines Equity as a heightened focus on groups experiencing disproportionate impact in order to remediate disparities in their experiences and outcomes. I appreciate that he begins with this definition because often we hear equity and diversity used interchangeably when each term has its own genealogy and purpose. Hi definition serves to remind us that while Diversity is part of Equity it is not the same thing. Diversity is a term that was popularized in the 70s and 80s as part of the social movements aimed at increasing access to underrepresented groups, cross-cultural understanding (learning to work across and through our differences) and changing the content of our curriculum to represent underrepresented groups. Equity zeroes in on how our Student of Color are doing once in college and focuses on using disaggregated data to track equity gaps and see which courses Students of Color are having the most difficulty in.

Second, he gives us a definition of equity-mindedness

Equity-Minded practitioners are:

  • Are cognizant of exclusionary practices and systemic inequities that produce outcome disparities in educational contexts
  • They attribute outcome disparities to breakdowns in institutional performance rather than exclusively to student deficits or behaviors
  • They continuously reflect upon their roles in and responsibilities for student success
  • challenge their colleagues to be equity-minded educators

In short, equity is everyone’s responsibility, so let’s turn the lens on ourselves (on that which we can control) and examine our practises (Bensimon, 2007).

Third, he includes a series of slides from the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL) with disaggregated data to show how underserved Students of Color are doing in online versus f2f classes across the country. If I am reading slides 10-15 correctly (Gees, oh how I wish I had paid more attention in that quantitative methods seminar) his data is showing that the success rate for underserved Students of Color is lower in online courses overall and in some cases the difference is dramatic.

This poses several questions: Do we have recent disaggregated data from our college about how our underrepresented Students of Color are doing in online courses? More specifically, given the changes propelled by acceleration, do we have data on how this population is doing in ENG 100 online courses? How do we track equity in our online courses to see how our Students of Color are doing in comparison to other students? Could we set equity goals for each online course that would enable us to say, “in order for this class to be equitable, at least X number of underrepresented students have to pass? Or have to get a B or above? How do we do this?

Next, I is my attempt to map Dr. Woods’ “5 Equity Practices for Teaching Underserved Students of Color Online to my “Top 12 Ways to Support Underserved Student Success”

Top 10 Ways to Support Underserved Student Success

  1. Find ways to legitimize a student’s home language and culture, their ethno-linguistic worlds. Provide tools that support them in shifting from a deficit mindset about their difference to a mindset whereby their difference is a valuable resource. (Be Relevant)
  2. Read student writing to gain a sense of how they think, how they engage with ideas and emphasize the potential there instead of focusing feedback on language error and correction—(Be Relational, Black Minds Matter)
  3. Support students to see course readings as conversations in which they participate. Help students become active participants in and owners of their education—rather than conceiving of their role as observing from the sidelines. (Be Relational, Be Community Centric)
  4. Create an environment where students have opportunities to use the reading, writing, thinking skills they are gaining to reflect on and examine their own educational histories, family histories, background experiences (i.e. what they bring into the classroom). In other words, find ways to legitimize students’ socio-historical experiences; the idea is that culturally responsive teaching is emancipatory/liberating. (Be Relevant)
  5. Connect the content of the class (in English it is their reading/writing) to their real world, make the work of the class directly “useful” and relevant to their day to day lived realities (Be Relevant)
  6. Work with students who experience marginalization (at the college, in the larger political climate) to move from a position of silence to a position of voice. To what extent or in what ways should we interpret or see our classes (the reading, the thinking, the writing) as spaces for students to enact political and social empowerment, especially for those coming from positions of silence? (Note: the idea from Geneva Gay and James Banks that culturally responsive teaching is transformative; Freire & Ira Shor; it is about social change: Guide students to understand the power of literacy and higher education: our students of color are survivors, they are driven and understand the need for social change and if we can get them to see how strong reading and writing skills, how theories are powerful tools they need make changes in their communities and become engaged citizens–then we have buy in—students in my classes know that their writing matters or as Sherman Alexie might say “books save lives”). (Be Relevant)
  7. Create a learning community in the classroom where students feel safe, where there is mutual respect (where each student knows their writing will be taken seriously)..(Be Community-Centric)
  8. Understand in the writing and other seminar classes the need to pay attention to students’ affective needs—what is going on emotionally and psychologically–as we are trying to teach writing we understand the need to teach students how to use writing as a tool to improve their sense of self-efficacy; reading and writing as tools to increase their confidence in their ability to improve, to succeed. (Be Race, Gender, Class, Sexuality Conscious)
  9. Related to 8, teach rhetorical metacognition as an academic success tool that can be applied across courses. (Be Relevant)
  10. Be accessible—teacher accessibility is more an attitude than the posted office hours. Students sense if you really want to meet with them. If possible, respond to at least one set of papers in live conference or live writing groups, preferably early in the quarter. Ask students to introduce themselves at the beginning of the quarter using Zoom, or have them do an introduction of themselves using a series of pictures they collect from their social media (Be Relational, Be Community-Centric)

Take away: it seems all of the recommendations I have for equity-based teaching practices in f2f courses are applicable in an online environment:)  I look forward to reading your posts this week.


Unit 2: At the intersection of using technology to teach new media literacy/rethinking literacy and Warnock’s migrate what you do well in the classroom
Unit 2: At the intersection of using technology to teach new media literacy/rethinking literacy and Warnock’s migrate what you do well in the classroom avatar

Larson’s video lists 3 benefits of online group collaboration: It is a student-centered approach, it increases communication through student writing, and it has real-world application. The real-world application of the skills online group activities build is critical and represents part of what Jenkins, and others in Jenkins and others in “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: New Media Education for the 21st Century” are calling the new hidden curriculum. According to this report, calling for educators to teach new media literacy, “Access to this participatory culture functions as a new form of the hidden curriculum, shaping which youth will succeed and which will be left behind as they enter school and the workplace” (3). The forms of participatory culture they list include collaborative problem-solving and affiliations or engagement with formal and informal online communities. The authors of this report argue that “the new literacies almost always involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking” (4). The new skills required to become full participants, or to function in this new participatory culture include, distributed cognition (the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities (4) and collective intelligence (the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal. There are eleven skills listed in this report and I mention them here only because in thinking about an in-person group assignment I would consider migrating to my online composition course—I would have to rethink and expand my objectives so that I am accomplishing what we accomplish during f2f group collaboration and also develop some of the cultural competencies and social skills students need to fully participate in this emerging participatory culture. What is exciting to me about teaching writing online and this week’s topic in particular is yes, the question of how to migrate our collaborative/group activities online, and how to do it in ways that do more than what we do f2f. In short, how does technology enable us to do things differently?

That said, taking Warnock’s advice to “focus on what you do well in the classroom “ (xiv) here are some of the ways we use technology for collaborative group work in an English 100 class:

  1. Pre-reading: before a f2f discussion of a text students are asked to develop critical discussion questions in line with their interests or reading of the text. In a f2f class, students bring these questions with them and finish their online discussion in person then report to the class on their discussion. If we were migrating this type of group activity to an online course, I could imagine having students use Zoom to meet online and finish their discussion then perhaps either creating a video where they report back to the class or a handout and a video presentation of their discussion
  2. Pre-reading: sometimes I will post questions for specific parts of a text and groups will be responsible for assigned questions or “chunks” of the text. They will assemble their collective knowledge (collective intelligence) and present it f2f to the class using a one-page handout they collaborate to create. In migrating this activity online, I could include reading and commenting on another group’s handout as the last part of the assignment. Both parts would be graded using a low-stakes rubric emphasizing connectivity
  3. Pre-writing: students develop an outline with their thesis/introduction and body paragraphs that we peer-review online before diving into the first draft of their first major writing project. In an online course, students would have clear directions for the focus of each peer-review (very specific tasks/or work for each peer-review) set deadlines and would be accountable for the time/effort/quality of their peer-review, these would have to be graded assignments which of course would require instructor monitoring and strategic pairing from the beginning

Zooming back out to Warnock’s introduction given my re-reading of this report on teaching new media literacies (above) it seems to me that while Warnock is saying–take what you do best, your teaching strengths and focus on migrating that online, “Confronting the Challenges” says “everyone involved in preparing young people to go out into the real world has contributions to make in helping students acquire the skills they need to become full participants in our society” (4). So are we focusing on what we do well already when we migrate online or are we expanding our definition of literacy to include new literacies and the development of the skills required? I think I totally repeated myself here, what can i say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez said at the end of his life that although he had written many many books, for most of his writing career, he was really just rewriting A Hundred Years of Solitude. Sorry for the long-winded subject line. I am looking forward to learning from your ideas for online group work:)