Sunday, November 7, 2010

Upcoming observation and pitfall of connecting with a different platform

Although connecting my class, which uses blogger with Ann M. LRC103's Ning yielded only some exchanged between few students, I'm hoping my students will contact the students' from Ann's class, in the future when they are working on their next research paper for my class or other classes.  But as I exchanged e-mails with Ann about the feedback her students provided about my students' annotated bibliography via filling out an assessment form Ann created, then big mystery why her students did not simply post comments on my students' blogs became clear to me. While Ann sent my students' invites to her class' Ning, I, the scatter brain, did not do so for her students nor asked them if they have gmail accounts which would allow them to log into google and post comments on my students' blogs. AHHH!!! I was so annoyed with myself. But the students did exchange some e-mails and they cc these to me and Ann, so it wasn't a completely failed experiment.
So on Friday, Nov 12, I'm getting observed and the observer will be actually attending the computer lab lesson rather than one in a traditional classroom. Therefore, while I came to believe that I mastered the 'observation lesson strategy' which is plan a lesson which involves group work so that I do not ramble and take over the discussion, how do I do this in a computer lab? For that day students' are reading a short article by Adair Lara's "Who's Cheap?" about women believing that a cheap man is also cheap with his feelings. My plan is to have students do a quick write in response to the reading - maybe describe a date on which they were expect to pay or their date was being cheap. Then have a quick discussion, and then ask students to give advice to each other by having them comment on each others' quick write posts. Maybe ask students to reference some of the readings which provided some insight on homosocial behavior, girl hunt rituals, men as beasts vs. men as gentlemen, etc.
Any suggestions?
Lastly, before attending the CCHA conference along with other Community 2.0 members, I was browsing around academic journals, looking for something smart to add to my talk about Web 2.0 in composition class, and I came across an article " Toward a Creative Social Web for Learners and Teachers" by Jianwei Zhang in Educational Research. One interesting point Zhang makes is that students showcasing their writing on platforms does facilitate sharing and having others read their work, but this does not mean students go back to their work and revise it or rework it.  I would have to disagree with Zhang as that is not the case in our classes, right? Students do rework their writing as that is the whole purpose of the writing process with our writing classes encourage and the platforms, like blogger, facilitate.


    1. One quick word of advice--choose where your observer will sit carefully. You want them to feel included but, seriously, out of the way.

    2. You know--my students do revise. A lot. But over the last few years I have moved to evaluating "blog series" rather then "blog entries" and I require them to post at a certain time, done or not. So maybe that emphasizes the idea that entires are not done until the ultimate deadline. We should mark this question as a "keeper" for a possible article. :)

    3. Suggestion for next time--I will ask my students to turn their Comment settings to "Anybody" this Tuesday for the period when Kristen's tutoring class will be commenting on their responses to the CAT-W. That way, Kristen's students will not have to have Google accounts to post comments. This setting, of course, may cause some problems with spamming, but since it's only for a day or two, maybe they won't get any (or they will deal with it like the adults they are). Then we will switch back.

      As to the observation: this is the first semester I am observed in a lab, so I am a bit wary also. Your plan seems good. The questions to ask are "what are students doing in the lab that they couldn't do in a regular class?" and "how do I demonstrate this advantage to the observer"?

    4. I've been observed in a lab now for about 5 years since my classes are always scheduled in a lab (one of the lucky ones). I generally make sure that there is some technology activity or it seems a waste to have the lab. Make sure you know how to use NetOp to lock students to your screen and if possible, follow the syllabus since that is another thing that the observer looks at - do we do what we say we are doing. I was observed two weeks ago. My students work in pairs and present a film review for our Labor Goes to the Movies series. These are brief low stakes oral presentations so there were two that day. After each we have a discussion of how this fits into today's workplace and connect it to the textbook re: career satisfaction, etc. This worked extremely well this semester since I was observed by the author of our textbook! Students did a good job on their presentations (Devil Wears Prada and Erin Brockovich so it did make it easier for the flow of the class.

    5. Thank you all for your great suggestions and advice. Dr. C.- I was thinking about what you said- choosing where the observer will sit- as I was planning may lesson. But, and this must have been some tech-deity intervention to help me, the lowly-not-100%-faithful-techie- the observer sat right in the middle, between two students and readily joined into our discussion. This put on only me at ease, but encouraged the students to involve the observer into the discussion, based on the quick write.
      Doc X- I'll be more aware of the platform-to-platform connection planning next term, I hope :) Profsusan- I really like your lesson plan and might use it in the future, if you'd allow me and you don't have a patent for it :) But I fully agree the sticking to the syllabus is a must.