To my Writing I students: some answers to emailed questions: 

  1. Where do we turn in the Short Project One?
    1. Here’s where you turn it in. If there is no upload window, you are too early. The window opens at least a day before the assignment is due. Click image to enlarge:

  1. In the Sources Assignment, is all we are supposed to do is click the “add a blog” button and upload (at least) 8 sources to the “bag of sources” you refer to?
    1. Yes, but please make each source a new entry. GIve the citation and say something about the source. Tag it too so that everyone can click a tag on the tag cloud and find a subject.
  2. Are we required to do in-text citation in our LP1 or just a works cited page?
    1. Do both. If you talk about the source in the LP1 (and you will), you need to do in-text citation. After all, quotes, paraphrases, and summary must be cited in-text. Of course, any source you use in-text needs to be on the Works Cited page.
  3. This may be true for several of you: I am doing my LP1 over a different topic than any of the 3 in my SP1, which helped me see that my SP1 topics were all bland and generic. So, I switched. Is that all right with you?
    1. That sounds good as long as the new issue fits within the Public Affairs theme of “Connectivity.” Also, make sure that in the end, you have a viewpoint and don’t just do a plus/minus list. You can’t just say essentially, “Here it is” or go for something where all reasonable people agree. Explore at least three points of view to avoid that yes/no binary that leads to lockstep, dull papers.

For  everyone else (and any Writing I students interested in the theory behind the praxis):

This post may be part of a longer thread that I return to several times in the semester. As regular readers have figured out by now, I am doing a blended Writing I as part of a much larger grant, the NGLC (Next Generation Learning Challenge). I know from long ago that having at least an introductory face-to face session and an end-of-semester session greatly helps online courses in several ways. Logic, that faulty measure, indicates that meeting once week face-to-face would be even better, perhaps even the blend that administrators are looking for in their cost-reducing, student-convenience love for online courses.

I was in fact expecting one thing to be notably better in a blended course. I thought the nuts and bolts here’s-how-you-do-it part of Writing I where we actually go over the assignment in person would help students be able to do the mechanics of the assignment with fewer panicked emails or confusion. It appears that is not true. Just in case, I have been triangulating information about assignments and it looks like I will continue to do so.  In brief, I went over it in the f2f class session verbally, pointed to it on screen, did this post, will tweet this post’s link using the #eng110c hashtag used for this class, and I will also email the link to the entire class with a summary of what questions the post answers. So that makes (1) in person, (2) blog, (3) Twitter, and (4) email. That ‘s one more than the rule of three.

I am also trying to consciously communicate using different modes, thinking of the different learning styles Gardner points out. Instead of relying solely on text, the f2f class allows auditory learners to hear instructions. For visual, non-text-loving learners, I’m using more screen shots and may try an iMove clip now and then to help both of these learners. For now, I tried a screen shot of the “Due Here” link in this post and hope that helps. The kinesthetic learners, well, that is more possible in a computer classroom when I can let them use body memory for actions. I haven’t found a way to do that online yet. The short version of this may be that teaching a blended writing class may be just as challenging as a wholly online writing class with the added drawback of greater expectations for clarity.

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