Saturday, October 1, 2011

My first Online Connection!

Learning Objectives: Analyzing and Evaluating to reinforce Understanding and Applying

What we did:
My 102 students connected with Ximena’s Shakespeare class for the first time. They browsed through her class Ning, focusing on an assignment about Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and were asked to choose their three favorite student responses based on a list of criteria provided by us. Once in class, we discussed their choices before they voted on their favorite and explained why they chose it. I then asked them to reflect on the process on the group Facebook page, encouraging them to offer suggestions for revising the assignment.

Challenges:
Some students found it time-consuming and confusing to go back and forth from the main Ning to the student responses to the FB page and suggested that we do future assignments like this together in class. I got the sense that Ximena’s students would have wanted more details from and interaction with the students judging their work.

Were objectives met?
I do feel my objectives were met because my students were able to discuss Sonnet 130 with much more confidence than they had discussed Sonnet 18 the week before. They seemed to realize that there are many possible interpretations of a poem, which freed them from looking for “the one right answer.” They were also able to articulate pretty clearly why they preferred their chosen assignment, which shows me that they were able analyze and evaluate the work of other students in a way that reinforced their own ability to understand and apply what they are learning. They will soon write a critical essay on Shakespeare’s sonnets and I’m hoping that this exercise will help them understand the poems better and make their essays stronger.

Response from students:
My students recorded overwhelmingly positive experiences with the assignment, saying they found it fascinating to see what other, more advanced, LaGuardia students are doing. Many also said it was fun and helped them feel more prepared to read and interpret Sonnet 130, which was also part of their homework. Detailed student responses can be found on the class Facebook page -- see their comments to Informal Writing #4.

Conclusions:
I would definitely try a connection like this again -- with some changes, of course. First, I would leave class time to at least get students started since some were put off by confusion about where to find what they needed. I would also allow for more direct interaction between the two classes either by opening up our class FB page to Ximena’s students or by asking mine to join her Ning.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! You've been working your way to this for a while, and it's good to hear about this connection with X's students and both the challenges and the benefits you encountered. I really like that you ask for your students' input on the assignment. And that this activity could be a part of building (scaffolding) towards a more direct connection with other students.

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