Warnock Says Professors Can Burn Out from Grading—Good to Know It’s Not All in My Head!
S. Gutiérrez

Scott Warnock’s “Chapter 10: Peer Review: Help Students Help Each Other,” “Chapter 11: Give Lots of Feedback without Burning Out,” and “Chapter 12: Grading: Should It Change When You Teach Online?” allowed me to reflect on my online teaching, specifically my fully-online English 103: Critical Thinking and Writing” for Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) and my hybrid English 202: Critical Thinking and Composition for Palomar College. Critical thinking is a subject I love teaching, but reading Warnock allowed me to ask myself an honest question: Can I improve my online teaching methodologies?

Similar to Warnock, when he writes, “I am an active respondent to my students’ messages” (122), I can’t help myself—I’ve tried not to comment so much. I comment on all my students’ assignments; my comments focus on proving feedback that will allow them to grow as writers and thinkers. As the class progresses, my comments become less and less about superficial errors. Writing feedback does not feel overwhelming (now that I am using an iPad and an apple pencil).

To be honest, about two years ago I talked to my partner, Paulino Mendoza, to tell him, “Hon, I think I’m going to have to retire from online teaching.” With a concerned look, he asked, “Why?” I explained that providing feedback was draining me. He looked for his iPad and said, “Here, try this.” When I looked at the screen, it was a student’s assignment I could easily write on with an Apple pencil. I wrote a comment as I do for my f2f classes and voilà the stress that made grading unbearable, which I had never experienced in all my years of teaching f2f, went away. With my new magical Apple pencil I began commenting on my online students’ work, and I was happy teaching online for MSJC again. (I’ve only had one student email me a screenshot of my penmanship to ask me what my writing said).

Warnock asks if grading online should change since students do spend the majority of their time in discussion board forums. He writes, “I have found that the informal assignments in my on OWCourse—message boards, peer review, mini assignments need to be boosted to about 30 to 40 percent of the grade” (135). (Participation in Warnock’s OWCourse is 5%—interesting.) Prior to reading “Chapter 12: Grading: Should It Change When You Teach Online?” I had not thought about participation points for an online class. I will reflect on how I will disperse grades in the future since Warnock makes a valid point I will definitely address this coming spring 2020.

What follows is a list of assignments and technology I use to facilitate student learning in my online and hybrid classes:

  1. iPad and Apple Pencil: To grade Metacognitive Journal Entries, I use my iPad and apple pencil to mark student writing and present constructive feedback when students upload a file. I present prompts that allow students to reflect on their writing and growth as thinkers. (I just discovered I can change the color to aqua blue turquoise. How exciting.)  
  2. Quizzes: To administer Quizzes, I create quizzes using Canvas’s Quiz tools. Similar to Warnock, my quizzes are not difficult at all. Students have an opportunity to take their quizzes two times. Most students receive a 100% on their first try. (Formative Assessments: Syllabus, Chapter Quizzes, Whole-class Workshops, and Graphic Memoir quizzes.) I craft question for #1-4, and students craft their own Q&A for question #5.
  3. Timed Writing Essay: For MSJC students must write an essay with writing constraints, so I use the same Canvas’s Quiz tools and create a two-hour Timed Writing Essay. (FYI: In my weekly Announcement, I inform students I am not a fan of timed writing tests; however, we must meet the class’s Course Learning Objectives.)
  4. Whole-class Workshop (Peer-Editing) Discussion Board Forums: I am not a fan of Warnock’s style of peer-editing; however, I do value and embrace Whole-class Workshops in my f2f and online classes. I had horrible experiences as a student: I could give my classmates plenty of feedback, but my classmates could not reciprocate the favor. Sigh. So instead of crossing my fingers that one or two classmates give constructive feedback for a fellow classmate, I use Ian Barnard’s Whole-class Workshops teaching methodology I have migrated to online classes. I prefer Discussion Board Forums for our Whole-class Workshops since they document students work, and everyone learns from each other’s writing. Over the years, I can say I am proud of the writing community I have created in my online classes. I present a Whole-class Workshop Schedule at least two weeks in advance and a list of questions they can address on a fellow classmates’ essays. That means at least twenty-one pair of eyes read and essay and provide constructive feedback.
  5. Essays: To grade essays, similar to Metacognitive Journal Entries, students upload their essays, and I can now comment on their essay with an Apple pencil. I do truly enjoy reading and commenting this way instead of copying and pasting comments. Ugh.
  6. Discussion Board Forums: Using Discussion Board Forums, students post formal response papers and free-writes throughout the semester. I also present a Thesis Workshop using Discussion Board Forum (For f2f classes, I use Google.docs to compile the work instead). I sometimes ask student to reply to one or two students. Most students present their work promptly and present their replies in a timely manner. If they do not, I deduct points.
  7. Writing Group Discussion Board Forums: I attempted a group paragraph using the Canvas tools similar to the ones I administer in the classroom on paper or Google.docs. Epic failure. I ended up telling students the activity would receive credit if they emailed me to request a grade.
  8. Phone calls: I give students my phone number. If they have any questions about my feedback, the can text me to schedule a phone call.

Feedback, etc.
Feedback, etc. avatar

Thank you for the short video on feedback 🙂

Here’s a few comments on the Warnock:

Ch 10: Peer editing:

I like the guidelines on p. 116

Ch 11: Feedback:

The options I am comfortable with in giving feedback are the following:

  • The comment function on Google Docs (yup)
  • The use of macros (for sure)
  • Rubric software (will explore these)
  • Maybe possibly but probably not Turnitin and Quick Mark (I have seen these tools in ‘action,’ and they are often not accurate, at least as the generated comments align with my best assessments) 
  • When using Google Docs, I may request to meet the student at a specific time to synchronize our interactions re: feedback OR
  • Email the Google Doc back with comments within the text and endnotes
  • Audio feedback using screencast-o-matic ( I do like the idea of audio feedback. I’d like to hear some comments from colleagues re: students’ reception to this type of response to their work. It seems audio feedback may save some time and work when I don’t have to write comments, though I would probably write comments too: synchronistically in real time, before recording my comments, as I’m recording comments asynchronistically, or some other variation of the listed options- I’ll defer to trial and error at this point or to feedback from instructors who teach online.)
  • Meeting f2f 

I am open to exploring options, but I like to keep things simple and students probably do too.

WritingwithMachine in Fall 2019
curry mitchell

Inspired by the department workshop that Kelly, Jake, Jade, and Tyrone–our HSE colleagues–led in September, those of you who teach composition with technology–either online, hybrid, or onsite classes–within the WritingwithMachines community of practice will develop our own lens on ENGL 100, which we might use to support Project Voltron this semester.

Here’s the plan:

Writing with machines, Sound Off!
  1. Choose a specific composition class you are currently teaching (online, hyrbid, or tech-heavy onsite). Consider the modalities of your course design, texts, and assignments. Think about specific students and their experiences. Reflect on your instructional goals at this moment in the semester. Jot down a few thoughts.

  2. Record your thoughts using Canvas Studio and post the video to a discussion board in our WritingwithMachiness Canvas course (see links below).

  3. Finally, using Studio’s Comment feature, highlight a moment in your video you’d like your colleagues to listen to and respond.

Participating will require about an hour of work, enough time to organize your thoughts and play around with with one of Canvas’ newest toys: Studio.

There will be three opportunities to participate this semester:

Each time you participate, you can choose which discussion you’d like to join:

  • Online,
  • Hyrbid
  • Tech-heavy Onsite

Since we will collaborate asynchronously in a Canvas, you can participate whenever you have time. Time spent creating, commenting on, and responding to Sound Offs is FLEX eligible. Ultimately, we will use the insights we glean from our Sound Offs to support each other and our students this semester as well as prepare a lens we might bring to Project Voltron when we lead our department meeting next spring.

Thank you again to Tyrone, Jade, Jake, and Kelly for a great September workshop!

So long and thanks for all the insights!
So long and thanks for all the insights! avatar

I’m gonna miss our weekly discussions! Interestingly, I did the sequence out of order, but curry and all the other WwMers have made it an enlightening and gratifying experience. This time around I felt more confident in my thinking about online pedagogy, and making solid connections with the work my peers are doing. This summer, I teach online for the first time and I’m sure I will be revisiting our work here throughout the process. But, I also am already applying so many of the insights and knowledge to the daily work in my f2f classes. So thank you one and all – hope to see you in the “real” world on campus. 

My posts:

Unit 1: Philosophical Musings: A Series of Principles

Unit 2 : Course Managing My Pedagogical Philosophies

Unit 3: Staying Student Centered Online

Unit 4: Engaged Thesis Activity

Unit 5: Opening Up New Reading/ Writing Experiences Online

Collaborative Tech
Kellen

Hello friends!

This is the end for me! I’m so sad to depart because you’ve all taught me so much about using technology in the classroom. You’ve all been such incredible wellsprings of knowledge and experience that I can’t possibly express my gratitude for your blogs, comments, and conversations. All of this brings me to the thematic ligament that connects each of my blogs: Collaboration via Technology.

Over the course of this semester, I have been experimenting with different online learning platforms that foster collaboration in virtual classrooms. I’ve been actively trying to find informal lessons that incorporate technology in order to build communities and encourage students to work together. In many ways, the possibilities for collaboration are a lot stronger in virtual environments than F2F ones, and programs such as Perusall and Google Docs have highlighted. Finally, technology allows us to empower our students to find, evaluate, and share readings that can be incorporate into course. Throughout this experience, I’ve really appreciated how y’all have encouraged collaborating with students to shape the directions of the class. As educators, we must collaborate with our colleagues and our students in order to cultivate curiosity and discovery.

Godspeed, comrades!

 

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. 

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.  

ad paedagogiam futuri
ad paedagogiam futuri avatar

UNIT 1: Design Troubles: Pedagogy and the Subversion of Canvas

UNIT 2: Learning Management Systems: A dash of Luddism, to go with the ludic

UNIT 3: Innovating the Classroom: Content in Online Teaching

UNIT 4: Down the Rabbit Hole: A Pedagogical Twine Adventure

UNIT 5: Conversations about Conversations: Approaches to a Post-Text World

I’m sad that this is the end of my second semester in the sequence, so this is my last post. I have really enjoyed gathering insights from others, hearing very practical advice, getting a lot of suggested readings, and just having a space overall where pedagogy could be celebrated, whether that be online or f2f. Going through this process has allowed me to wrap my head around and reflect on a lot of different approaches to teaching—looking back on my posts, I see how often I played devil’s advocate to myself (taking the role of a luddite), how theoretical and out there I got sometimes (like talking about conversations about conversations), and how I got to be more creative than I usually would be (through creating a Twine response for Unit 4, which I never imagined doing this semester). All of this is stuff, on a day to day basis, I am not usually able to do, so thanks everyone, and to curry, for giving a space for exploration and thinking about the practical and theoretical when it comes to designing intuitive and exciting digital spaces for students!

(PS: I am also happy I got a space to use all sorts of wacky memes, images, and titles).

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.

Accessing Accessibility Online
Kellen

As Scott Warnock covered the variety of texts we could incorporate into our OWC, I was most struck by his reminder to “think about the accessibility of the texts you choose” (59). While Warnock largely discusses strategies for making texts available to students, I wondered how we could use online programs to make content accessible to students. In this blog, I want to think about accessibility from an intersectional perspective that tries to take into account social issues like class, sexuality, and learning ability.

ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGY #1: ZERO-COST TEXTBOOKS

In all of Warnock’s discussions of online reading options, I was a bit surprised to see no mention of the ways in which we can minimize how much our course costs students. The prevalence of online writing, library databases, and open-access resources allows us to reduce the cost of our courses for students. To be sure, I understand the attachment to hardcopies of books. Physical books involve different kinds of thinking and reading, but digital texts do as well. Both are valuable. Transitioning our reading materials to more digital formats allows us to engage with primary sources on an unprecedented scale. For example, in my composition class, students can use InternetArchive to explore the New England Primer (1690). Students can interact with a copy of seventeenth-century text, noticing the similarities and differences in styles from now and then.

I’ve also envisioned entire courses where I ask students to locate all the readings on their own. I have mostly seen this as a literary survey course (pre-1900) where all the materials are in the public domain. Rather than having students buy an anthology, I will have them make their own by using Google Books, InternetArchive, and other online databases to find particular versions of a work such as Moby-Dick or Frankenstein. Not only does this eliminate the need to purchase a $50 book, but it teaches students to use research techniques that they can apply to this and other classes.

ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGY #2: STUDENT-SELECTED READINGS

Building on the last point, I also envision a composition course where students do the bulk work of finding reading materials that are relevant to them. For example, MiraCosta’s library has access to a really wonderful LGBT Archive. I’ve mused about a “Queer Composition” course where I would organize the semester into various themes (like I do already). At the beginning of the semester, I would teach students how to access and use this database while also providing them different kinds of readings. Over the course of the semester, I would increasingly ask students to choose weeks where they will do research and find relevant articles that the entire class will read. These can be fictional, nonfictional, published, audio, visuals, etc. In the end, I would compile everything together into an Online Education Resource that I would share with students and make available to future students. As the course continues, we will develop our own working archive of queer composition.

As Warnock indicates, we have access to a variety of materials on the web, and, as educators, we need to make information literacy accessible to our students in ways that are culturally relevant and empowering. Through this assignment, I hope to introduce students to strategies for locating and verifying information published in digital formats. In addition to reducing costs, it aims to familiarize students more with research and reading strategies that they will need as more information migrates to virtual ecosystems.

ACCESSIBILITY STRATEGY #3: ALT-READING PROGRAMS

Finally, as we think about accessibility, we can’t lose sight of whether the content we select is actually comprehensible and user-friendly. Programs like Perusall, Hypothesis, and Voyant open up access to a text in ways that traditional reading don’t. The first two highlight collaborative reading practices that demonstrate students are reading and engaging with course materials, and the latter breaks down complicated texts into a numerical information and graphs. In the past (but I’m doing more again this semester), I would have students use Voyant to identify keywords in a novel (like Huck Finn), poems (Angel Island ones), or essays (I just did this one with students last week). Using this information, I have students attempt to infer what the reading may be about. I also ask them to find keywords that interest them and identify where they are concentrated in the text. This gives them a rough blueprint of what they may expect, and, of course, when they get something different, we can use that as a discussion opportunity. Rather than signaling the death of the book or reading, I think these programs can breath new life into it.

In the end, I feel like the proliferation of databases and online reading platforms has given us a stronger arsenal than ever before to teach writing, reading, and literature. The book isn’t dead. Reading isn’t dead. They are evolving and adapting and so must we.