Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"We admired people who did it!" and Voluntary Extra Credit C2.0 Activities in My Classes

NY History Museum
Note that the sand, and thus the time, is almost out.

As y'all may recall, I'd sent around an article way back when we started that talked about successes and failures in C2.0-type exercises; one of the less successful exercises, its presenter said, was in part because he'd made participation voluntary, and I think the fact that my dropped balls of big ideas have become voluntary extra-credit opportunities may impact its success.  Students have gotten back their essays and I've asked them, while preparing for their final reflection in-class essay, to decide what they think are the two best paragraphs in their NYC neighborhoods papers; we'll have an extra credit session in my office next week to turn the submissions from participants into a map of paragraphs.  The most vital part of this is of course that it will enable me to test out a few platforms and find out what the students as well as I find most intuitive and user-friendly, which will be key next semester when contributing to this collaborative map will be a major part of their final grade.

A success, however small, with the voluntary-participation Facebook group in my Images of Women elective: as students work on their final group presentations on fairy tales, they've finally really started using the FB group extensively to share various, often amusing FT-oriented things that they've found in popular culture.  They're "liking" each other's posts more than engaging in dialogues, so I know that I should anticipate "likes" as the default response and ask them for more specific levels of engagement in the future.

I'm hoping that we (this seminar) can keep a conversation going through the summer about the nuts-and-bolts, as we're all learning about the different platforms, how to ensure student engagement, etc.  It sounds like a lot of the projects are going really well, and I intend to learn from all of your successes.  So many ideas sound so huge--I'm amazed by what you could do so well--and am wondering where I fell short in what I asked for and did not get from students. The grand, trivium-covering ideas never played out (although both classes became very communal in the brick-and-mortar classroom), but I'm reapproaching several elements of my teaching in general this semester and in preparation for next year.  With three of the same classes in the fall around which I will build a community, I don't know that I'll force anyone to collaborate with me and my classes and thus burden anyone else with my anxieties, but I'm hoping that everyone will enjoy the lurking for which I'll set up access.

1 comment:

  1. Leah, I think you've identified a major issue here -- what is the incentive for our students to do the activity? If it's voluntary our expectation should be pretty low. On the other hand, we need to hold our students to higher standards. What's the answer here -- I'd like to hear from some of the other participants.