For those of you who missed the Hybrid Workshop on Friday with Cub Kahn, all is not lost. I’m going to talk about some of the most important topics that we covered over the next few weeks. The workshop was as much about hybrid course design as it was about GOOD course design, which means whether we teach in a hybrid format or not, we can all learn something. For the workshop notes with links to many of the handouts we used in the class, click here! I can answer questions or chat over a cup of coffee with anyone who is interested.

One of the topics that came up is how to make the most of ONLINE DISCUSSIONS. Canvas has an excellent interface for online discussions and they’re really easy to set up. So why would you want to include online discussions in your face-to-face class? Because they’re powerful! You will find that students engage with each other in ways they don’t in class. The quiet students will burst forth with the most insightful posts and comments, and in my experience, students are very encouraging towards each other. Our students are very used to this type of digital communication. We may not be, but it’s very natural to them so don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Continue reading

Going into Week 3, many of you are probably starting to talk with your students about your first upcoming exam. You may soon be explaining which content is most important, how your exam will be structured, or maybe even how much time you expect that they devote to studying for the exam. These are all important in helping students prepare, but are we assuming (maybe incorrectly) that our students already know HOW to study effectively?

As this article explains, most students probably plan to re-read their notes and their text, working homework problems, or using an old exam that you may have provided. Maybe what they really need is a STRATEGY or Game Plan for studying. Continue reading

I was talking with one of our writing tutors about how difficult it is sometimes for our students (and tutors!) to decipher “what professors want” on writing assignments. Sometimes the writing prompt is too general or vague and sometimes the prompt is so detailed that it leaves students paralyzed that they might mis-step outside of the parameters provided by the instructor.

This got me thinking about my own prompts for writing assignments. I think they’re brilliant of course, but I wonder if I am expecting my students to read my mind or if I am being so prescriptive that I eliminate a student’s ability to think and write creatively. I have spent many weekends grading writing assignments with my chin on the floor, so I’ve clearly got room for improvement in this department.

Have you ever just asked your students to “write a paper on…”? The attached article talks about striking the Goldilocks balance between ambiguity and a pre-flight style checklist of paper requirements. Continue reading

I’ve been a part of Jenna Goldsmith’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Faculty Learning Community (FLC) this year (we call ourselves WAC-Y). I highly recommend getting involved in this FLC! Great discussions about pedagogy, the purpose and importance of writing in our classes, and our role in our students’ process of (self) discovery.

Today our session was about “Productive Uncertainty and Postpedagogical Practice.” As McIntyre (2018) writes, “Postpedagogy emphasizes experimentation and reflection as integral to composing processes, especially digital composing.” Aside from our awesome discussion about how “struggle” is part of the developmental writing process, “reflection” on that process is just as important. Do our students know how to “self-critique?” Do we give them the tools to evaluate their work as part of this reflective process? As Peter pointed out, “there is nothing as good as a good rubric.” Continue reading