The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Techno-Pedagogical Explorations: Toward Sustainable Technology-Rich Instruction” Precis November 11, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 4:17 pm
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Dickie Selfe

Use technology in your class, by all means, but remember to think of it as an exploration with your students.  You don’t know everything about the intricacies of the web and it’s communications and neither do you students, but if you take a look at it together, it can be a wonderful learning experience.  

There are many different ways that you could approach using technology in your classes.  One option has been around for quite awhile – email.  If you set up an email listserv for your class(es), they can use it as a tool for discussion outside of class, with or without your participation.  You could also use chat rooms (as long as you know how they work) to allow students to chat about a movie or something of the sort while they are actually watching it.  This is an especially interesting project, because many students are very comfortable with this – since it is something they do already with text-messaging.  Or maybe you might publish student work online, using Blackboard or WebCT.  This was a limited amount of people would be able to see the students’ work, but they would gain valuable insight from outsiders.  

Just be sure that with any technology-rich project you bring into the class, you take time to work through the PAR process:  preparation, activity and discussion.  This should help you assess what you are doing, how you are doing it and if there is a better way to try for the future.  And make sure you back up everything!

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“Can Teaching, of All Things, Prove to Be Our Salvation?” Precis

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 6:39 am
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Kurt Spellmeyer

There once was a group at Rutgers University that acknowledged that fact that students were not graduating with an understanding of modern society.  As they debated what to do about it, many departments offered their views on what students should be taught, but it was soon evident that no consensus would ever be reached.  And so, instead of continuing along that track, the committee decided to instead look at envisioning what problems students might face in the future and create classes to prepare them for those happenings.  In theory, this was the right way to go, but it was rather hard to execute, especially when it came down to have teachers from different disciplines work together or teach something that was not especially in their field.  

But, oddly enough, even after the movement died out, the idea seemed to live on, and even work, in English first-year composition classes.  Yes, students everywhere still to basic writing exercises, much like they participated in in high school.  But, it was also possible for them to move on and look at more challenging texts – texts that illustrated what was going on in the world in a way that was new and maybe even difficult for students to understand, but that pushed them to try and grasp the concepts being stated.  Students could be encouraged to look at the world around them and realize that they many have more to learn than just what college professors can teach them.  These writing classes embrace students of all different disciplines and can take up the Rutgers plan of trying to prepare students for what may lie ahead of them. 

 

“WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition” Precis

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 5:53 am
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wpa-wpaCouncil of Writing Program Administrators (WPA)

This statement is put out to help writing teachers and programs know what students nation-wide should be learning in their first-year composition classes.  The students are learning to write and this should be taken very seriously.   These main points should be considered as a regulation.  Of course, standards and the specific ways in which these ideas are taught will be left up to the university. 

 

 

 

Students need to display:

  • Rhetorical Knowledge
  • Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing
  • Processes
  • Knowledge of Conventions
  • and Composition in Electronic Environments

Students should understand what all of these things entail and be building on them throughout the semester.  More specifically, they are to be working on skills such as:  writing to different audiences, genres and forums; understanding how their work interacts with research, as well as the comments on their peers and teachers; working through drafts and revisions, knowing that the first product may not always be the best; making their papers suit the style and format that they are assigned to be; and being able to use a computer to research and compose an essay or other text.  In all of these steps, the help of the composition teacher, as well as other instructors in the individual’s field of study, is instrumental.  

 

“Portfolio Standards for English 101” Response

Filed under: Response — deduvick @ 5:13 am
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Douglas D. Hesse

It was very interesting to be reading about this in our book, since this is exactly the model that we are working from in our own English 101 and 101.10 classes that we teach.  I must say, however, it is much easier to read in our table-like boxes on the rubric in our books than in this linear format!

Anyways, the key is to look at the adjectives.  An “A” portfolio writer is skillful, consistent and effective.  They make decisions that are fresh, show their wide reading, are appropriate and go beyond the obvious.  A “B” portfolio is very similar to the “A,”  but where the “A” writer makes good choices “frequently” and “generally,”  the “B” writer only  makes them “often” and “usually.”  Also, the “B” writer sometimes only “suggests” the actions that the “A” writers achieve. 

The “C” portfolios are more average – the assignments are perform “competently.”  Writers of “D” and “F” portfolios have an “inability” to perform the assignments give to them, with the “F” writers achieving much less than the “D.”  And, if a portfolio is incomplete, missing any part, it may only be given a “D” or “F.”  

It is a very understandable process and over the semester I have been grading quite a few projects whose grading standards are very similar to these.  It will be interesting to see what the students come up with when they turn everything in at the end, especially if they have been looking at how we have been grading them.