Monday, November 18, 2013

This could have been written by one of us!

FYI: Irwin just sent the link to this article to me. "Facebook Has Transformed My Students' Writing--for the Better," CLICK HERE.
Aside from providing interesting grist for our mill as we write up our students' connecting activity on FB (and Irwin has been using it all year...), it also occurs to me that this article could have just as easily been written by one of us--any of us--as we describe and evaluate the activities, the participation, and the connections Community 2.0 has fostered this year. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Connecting Faculty Seminars (The Activity that Almost Was) - Vignette

Between our October and November C2.0 meetings, with the collaboration of Maria and the CTL's Josephine Corso, I designed a connecting activity. In this seminar, as in every seminar I lead, we try to provide faculty with learning experiences that emulate what their students may experience as faculty design different types of activities. 

A couple of months ago I realized (duh!) that the fundamental experience of connecting and collaborating with other learners online was missing from Community 2.0. In conjunction with the Hybrid/Online Seminar, Maria and I designed an activity in which C2.0 and H/O seminar participants, assigned in small groups with 2 or 3 participants from each seminar, would collaborate on doing research that they would theoretically be presenting at a conference or publishing in a journal. The research related to social pedagogy…ah, one of our favorite topics!

It seemed so simple at first. Get the pairs or triads working together with their colleagues, have them gather sources in – a great social bookmarking platform that lets you annotate and comment and reply to each others’ comments on actual web pages. Then the groups would come up with a 150-word abstract for their article or presentation, and a working title for it, and tada!

Well, maybe…but given the fact that C2.0 only had 2 more meetings for our year together, and we needed a common platform for the groups to be able to communicate…and that there was at least one or maybe more steps I had completely forgotten to plan for…it eventually became clear that this idea was much more ambitious than I had realized.

Rather than overload everyone at this point in the semester, we decided to table it for now, and focus on finishing up any loose ends – like providing support for those doing their connecting activities, and focusing on the in-depth year-end reflection that is a hallmark of C2.0. We also decided to encourage the reflection as offering major potential for participants to use as the basis of generating an actual article or presentation.

Planning the activity, even though we didn’t actually do it, was a great learning experience about how easy it is to get way too complicated. It also gave me a new and deeper appreciation for what all of you have been doing with your connecting activities.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Agenda - 11/5/13 Seminar

2:30 - welcome & announcements
2:40 - 4:10 Conversation with Liz Clark!
  • Part 1 - 15 - Presentation
  • Part 2 - Discussion & Q&A
  • Part 3 - Social Pedagogy Vignette

4:10-4:20 - Break

4:20-5:20: C2.0 presents and reflects - CLICK HERE!

5:20-5:30 Final comments, reminders, homework

Homework for December
Student post-surveys: By December 3
If you need paper surveys let Priscilla know.

Tuesday, November 12:  Feedback: Read your partners’ drafts and comment. Post on the blog a summary of what you’ve noticed in yours and your partners’ reflections. How has this furthered your own reflection?

Tuesday, November 19:  Other sources:
a. Bring in at least two other voices from our blog. How do these connections confirm, contrast with, illuminate your own experiences?
b. Connect to social pedagogy frameworks (e.g., Bass, Clark) and/or pedagogical frameworks (e.g., Bloom, Dewey, Freire, Vygotsky). How do these frameworks confirm, contrast with, illuminate your own experiences?
c. Post a brief summary of the “voices” and frameworks you’re integrating into your reflection.

Tuesday, November 26: Feedback: Read your partners’ posts. The point of the final reflection activity is to individually re-think the seminar and our classes and share those thoughts with the group (and others) with an eye to the future. In 500-750 words. How has each person accomplished this so far? What could they add (or remove)? What links, images, sound, video might enhance the final post? Please provide comments on their Google docs.

Monday, December 2: Complete and post Final Reflection on the Blog

Tuesday, December 3: Presentations and Reflections: (E-255): Prepare a five to six minute presentation of your connection, based on your reflection. (You’ll be presenting as a *panel* with your partners.) A brief Q & A will follow each panel.

My second activity (writing assignment)

After my first activity which was on definitions of mean and standard deviation, I made students post Q and A on topics they learnt in class. Some students posted Q and some A to the questions. The good thing was the answers were all posted by students, I never answered them :)

The second big assignment is a writing assignment. It is due before Thanksgiving as we are currently in the middle of take home tests and SPSS projects. In this assignment I asked students to research about a mathematician/statistician. Students have to write about the person, some interesting situations or events in the life of this person, discuss the work of this person that relates to one of the topics included in their course. They also discuss why this work was needed (what problem led to the development of the work), how this work led to the solution of that problem. 

I will be posting about students' response before our December meeting.  

To Be or Not To Be Dystopian....

Building on Connection #1, Prof. Kurzyna and I decided that since the students have a general understanding of both novels, that they would connect on a campaign project. My students have been broken up into 3 groups of 5 and 1 group of six based on four themes found in the novel:

The Importance of Understanding History
Freedom of Speech and the Consequences of Losing It
Machines as helpers/Machines as Hindrances to Humans
Conformity vs. Individuality

These are themes that can be discussed in "1984" as well.

Students are required to find two examples for each section in the novel that encompass their respective theme. The novel has three sections, therefore they should have six examples and/or quotes total. Their assignment is as follows:

Your group is a part of a campaign movement where your opponents beliefs and ideas for your utopian community will lead people into a Dystopian society. Using the themes from the novel, provide an argument that focuses on the consequences of leading individuals into a future that is an illusion of a perfect society. Use the events in novel as the example of what could happen and what could be done to avoid this dismal future.


-In other words here you will explain your theme (this should be a few sentences to a paragraph)

-Here, you will use the examples and quotes from the novel to show what could happen to our society if we follow down this path.

-Using your knowledge of this novel, "1984", as well as your understanding of the society in the novel and the society we live in today, what can be done to avoid the same fate as the society in the novel? There should be clear connections back to your theme and examples.

4. IMAGERY: You will need to select an image that represents your argument and your movement. (When you post,this should be before your argument)

Prof. Kurzyna's class will be posting their responses to my students' campaign as voters.
We are still working out the response criteria for his students.. So far this is the plan.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!!

What had happened was...

Professor Kurzyna and I are working on a political campaign against Dystopian futures with my CSE 099 and his CSE 110 (Literacy and Propaganda). During our fist connection it was clear from the beginning that I would have to assist Prof. Kurzyna with the platform portion of our activity. I set up his blogger page for him, which was similar to my classes blog. We each provided descriptions of the other classes novel, his "1984" and my "Fahrenheit 451" to our own classes blog. Their task was to post the similarities and/or differences in terms of the plot and them(s) of the novels. Students were then asked to post responses to the other classes posts. The students seem to enjoy posting and viewing their posts online. However, the task seemed to become more tedious when asked to comment on each others posts.

Monday, November 4, 2013

FB Meet-Up: Second Connecting Activity

Irwin's and my classes met up for a second time. The first was on blogger and his class gave guided feedback to my guys. This time, we visited them on FB. As a reminder: Irwin is teaching Composition I. I'm teaching ESL 097, which is the *lowest* (don't like evaluating language learners that way, but...) level.
Irwin and I negotiated what my guys could handle, what his would find useful, pedagogically and Irwin came up with a lovely activity sheet for his guys to post. See his explanation HERE.
I was worried that not everyone would be on Facebook, or would want to be on Facebook, but the three who weren't acquiesced pretty easily. Non-issue.
I'm not sure what Irwin's class thought, but this is what was wonderful for my class. They really, really, really got into figuring out what their "partners" were writing about and wanted to be sure to post something meaningful, understandable, and helpful. In other words, they didn't pull out stock phrases (well, many of them do not have enough English to pull out stock phrases!), but still; they were more concerned about the intelligibility of their English; and they wanted to construct comments that actually responded to the feedback questions their partners posted.
It dovetailed beautifully with the focus on grammar, language, and feedback that we've been working on in class. So I was happy.
The thing is: It might not look like a lot happened when you look at the product. The screenshot above is a comment that one of my students (I'll call him Mike) posted. It may look like a few lines, but we had one of the best conversations I've had about language, grammar, and communication as we negotiated together what he would say to Irwin's student. (We'll call her Sara.) The following day, we were workshopping their own revisions and as I went over to his group, I heard an exchange that mirrored our own conversation.
What am I saying? As a social pedagogy, I feel that the anticipation and responsibility that the students felt about the connection got them to rally their skills and reach up, up, up to the upper echelons (okay, again, I don't like using the level metaphor, but still) of their ZPD with language. I don't know that I could quite achieve that in our classroom community (where no one is going to be fluent in English).
There were some *errors* that my students caught on their partners' posts which raised a whole other round of conversation: How do errors interfere (or not) with communication?
To be continued....  

Connecting Activity

It has taken longer than I anticipated, but both of my sections of BTM101 have finally made contact! I have created a course ePortfolio, which I shared with both classes. I broke students up into 12 groups of 4 and 1 group of 5. Each group has its own workspace. Groups are comprised of students from both sections, so some students have never physically met. 

Students have introduced themselves and commented on the introductions of at least one other group. I have uploaded the reading for the case study as well as the questions connected with it. Students have chosen which question (out of 4) they would like to answer within their own groups. 

I have explained to students that although in each group, a student is responsible for one of the questions, they are all responsible in critiquing each others' work and providing suggestions on how the responses could be improved. Furthermore, each student will have to assess the work of one other group.

Students have begun the reading and will start composing their responses this week. 

I have to create a rubric by which I will assess their work, and which they can use to assess each other. I hope to have it posted within the next few days.

I am looking forward to reading the responses. I am hoping that students will communicate well with each other using ePortfolio. I am allowing some class time to make sure that students are touching base and I have left some comments to groups who are missing either introductions, question assignments or both.

Second connecting activity

I think I got a little overly ambitious on this one, but will have more to report tomorrow after I meet with both of my public speaking sections today.

Basically, I had all of my students self-produce an informative speech video, upload to Blackboard, and then conduct a small group peer review using a grading rubric I gave to them.  Inevitably there were issues on the front end (what kinds of files to produce, hardware used, etc.), uploading, downloading :), etc.

However, I think we might be past the worst of the issues and ready for the peer review aspect of the activity which is really the heart of the interactive learning activity.