Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reflection Time

One concern I had about mid-year was that my themes/tags were different from others--we weren't working on Fast Food Nation or NYC; and even though there were some connections to the theme of "Masculinites" (abusive law of the father types on our novels)--figuring out how to link discussion was difficult. What I learned was something someone from the Writing Center told me ages ago: you don't have to have read the story to be a good tutor. So even though I had reservations about getting my students to peer critique across platforms, they were easily able to enter Magda's and Corbett's courses and comment on a) research drafts and b) wiki entries--and I was very pleased that they were on board about this--though I have to check to be sure that they ALL did it! Need a structure for this. My current one is to have them send me an email of what they have written--which has been helpful for other reasons! When I set up the exchange with Magda I talked to them at some length about TONE, reminding them of their own experience when they receive comments. What Jason and Ximena have mentioned about the willingness of students to comment more honestly about work of others NOT in their class is too true: they were sometimes (in my opinion) too blunt. For example (paraphrase)--"you should completely change your thesis and proofread more carefully!" (or worse). So we have revisited the discussion of tone and how important it is to say something positive first! Nonetheless I think it was a positive exercise for my students to take on the voice of a professor and think about how to encourage a writer. Students in my class were intrigued by Magda's "Masculinites" theme and they thoroughly enjoyed Corbett's wiki project which I showed them in class. They had no difficulty entering either site, so I am looking forward to further collaborations next Fall.

Overall this has been a great experience for me--"this" being C2.0 and becoming more comfortable in the hybrid online environment. I am now completely dedicated to student blogging--it has deepened our discussion and keeps students on point in the reading. I frequently highlight specific blogs in smart classroom (no, we do not have lab)--and have had not difficulties with technophobes. All their blogging takes place on their time and has to be in midnight before class. Frequently I make a few notes before class on key things students have said and organize groups around specific original comments (Charles, you had a great post on the frame story for this novel--why don't you lead that group). I am also committed to one platform, not several. My students are completely at home with NING after the first week and feel comfortable talking to each other as well. Going forward I want to encourage more independent blogging--why don't you start a thread on that topic?? I also want to increase the % that the blog counts in my class and tweak the rubric so as to encourage more cross-conversations :). Jason and Ximena have been great about keeping us on task and in conversation, so I'm looking forward to doing more next Fall :)


  1. Hey Dr. Van--Is this your reflection for the class or the Final Reflection for the seminar? Jus' askin' because I am tagging all final reflections.

  2. Again, I have to say I am wondering where the "technophobe" rhetoric is coming from. I had one student the semester who was "reluctant" but even she posted regularly after the second week. The rest either posted or did not, just as doing homework or not. I admit to being a bit mystified by the "My students don't want to do X" claims.