Monday, November 5, 2007

I've Hit My Stride

Here we are in the beginning of Week 12, and classes are going great, especially my ENG 111 Online Class.

The Online students and I are working well in our class weekly routine, and I'm excited to report that they have figured out the wiki and are posting to it.

Also, I've noticed lately that the Online students have been having stronger and stronger online discussion via the Discussion Board. I'm really proud of the way articulate their own thoughts and respond to one another by addressing specific ideas in a response or raising thoughtful questions to the post.

Two weeks ago, my f2f classes had an online discussion regarding a sample essay, and I found that their responses were more thoughtful and articulate (probably because they had more time to think about the essay and respond to it when they were ready--right after or a few hours after reading, not when I beckoned them in class...), and they responded to each other in more detail than they do during our in-class discussions, which I assume is because students feel less shy with a computer screen facing them rather than 22 students and their instructor.

Based on this info, I'm leaning towards using the Discussion Board for reading discussions in my f2f classes. I would assign them for homework and use the free time in class for working more with audience and counterargument or in-class writing. I've heard that quite a few teachers use the DB for reading discussions, so I feel kind of behind the times. I guess I just had to come to that realization on my own.

As for planning for ENG 112 Online, I say, "Bring it on!" My ups and downs with ENG 111 Online have really helped me see what is feasible for future online classes and what I can expect from online students. I really want to take 112 to the next level, though.

On top of doing screen capture lectures of my course expectations, wiki directions, and blog directions, I really want to create assignments that take advantage of our online medium. For Essay 4, the big 8-10 page researched essay, I'd like students to do some kind of online presentation at the end of it. I'm thinking something along the lines of a blog post, wiki presentation, or, if students have the devices, a YouTube video or a You3B compilation.

Check out this great video on YouTube:

(Thanks to Terence for showing it to me!)

Of course, whatever medium a student chooses to use, I'd like to see a written text accompany the visual text. I don't want the paper word-for-word, but rather a summary of the paper and a reflection on the writing process and how the essay has affected the student or what more work the student sees ahead of him/her in regards to this topic--some kind of extension of the topic or connection of the topic to the student's life.

I'm still working through the details of this ENG 112 presentation assignment. I'll be excited to see the end result.