Figuring it out as I go… hybridizing WR 324

WR 324 is an intermediate fiction writing class. The prerequisite is 224, Introductory Fiction Writing.  324 is a Bacc Core (though not a WIC) class, so it attracts a mix of students.  Most of them enjoyed the intro class and are looking to fill a writing requirement with 324.  But some are also serious about becoming better writers.

The hybrid version of the class will meet f2f once a week for 80 minutes, with the remaining components occurring online. Our program is in the process of developing a creative writing major, so we anticipate an increased population of students who might appreciate the flexibility of the hybrid course.

This term, I’m teaching 424, the next course in the sequence.  I’ve always had a pretty … basic approach to Canvas, so I’ve been trying to “up my game” as I get the 424 class up and running this week (“spring break” was spent at a conference, followed by my program’s biggest event of the year on Monday, so I’ve started the term already feeling behind… Yikes!).  I am not surprised to discover that I still have quite a bit to learn.  Tasha, who visited our Hybrid Community class, has been a huge help, as have some of the tutorial videos.

I was gratified to read the list of OSU Hybrid Instructors’ best practices, because many of us in the humanities (and other areas too, I’m sure) already approach our f2f class time with “lectures of less than 15 minutes interspersed with other class activities,” “active learning (e.g., think-pair-share, group work),” classroom discussions, and prompt feedback on assessments.  I anticipate continuing in this vein, with my “hybridzing” focusing on group activities that have both an in-class and out-of-class component, as well as integration between the classroom and online learning environments.

For example, I plan on preserving the precious f2f time by putting all reading quizzes online (they take up 10+ minutes at the beginning of class)—and in fact I’m trying that out with the 424 class this term, so I can better familiarize myself with the different quiz question options and formats.

This is what’s exciting to me about the hybrid format:  instead of simply assigning readings and hoping the students will come in prepared, they’ll do quizzes, discussions, and collaborations before they come to class, which—I hope—will mean we can take the conversation very quickly to a deeper and more meaningful level during our f2f time.  AND I can assess how well they grasp the reading before we meet f2f, which will help me figure out how best to approach discussion.

I’m also experimenting with Collaborations this term:  I’ve put students in random groups, with each group working together on a single project in Google Docs. This is something I anticipate using quite a bit in the hybrid 324, so again, I’m glad to give it a try before fall term 2019.  When I really, really hope I will not be scrambling as much as I am right now to catch up…



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