Thursday, April 17, 2014


Adventures in outcomes-based assessment

In spring term I’ll be doing several things I’ve never done before. I’ll be teaching online. I’ll be one of the Syracuse instructors who are piloting new learning outcomes for our Comp 2 (sophomore-level researched writing) course. I’ll be using McGraw’s Connect as host for the work on the writing assignments in this course. Blackboard is Syracuse’s portal, so that’s where artifacts like the syllabus and the assignment calendar will be, but all the interactive work (discussion boards, writing assignments, students’ drafts, peer review, etc.) will be on Connect. This spring I expect to be writing about my Comp 2 teaching experiences a lot. Right now, what has my attention is outcomes-based assessment at a very granular level, something I haven’t done for many years. Instead, what I’ve been doing is writing my assignments, including... [Read more]

This just in from Twitter, via Facebook: Privacy Unleashed

Over on my Twitter page and on my personal Facebook account, I’ve been soliciting recommendations for a film to be watched in my Comp 2 course this spring. The course is themed on privacy–perhaps privacy and identity. (The most vote-getting film right now is The Truman Show. I’m going to watch several of these films over winter break and then make a choice–thank you, Netflix, for allowing me to make a last-minute decision–but right now I’m leaning toward We Live in Public. I had to rule out Erasing David because it’s available only for purchase, not for rental or (gasp!) open source.) The students and I will be reading and researching about definitions of the term privacy and about how privacy issues are currently represented in a variety of media–film, television, scholarship, magazines, blogs, newspapers– Itsa gonna be fun. Part of the... [Read more]

What students hear

This is just a brief note written in a brief break from reading a not-brief stack of papers. I need to express my astonishment about how much students are taking in when it doesn’t appear they’re listening at all. One day in class a month ago we were talking about the internet and current technological fears. I paused and gave an impromptu overview of literacy revolutions that preceded the internet: writing, printing. I talked about what was at stake in each of these revolutions, both culturally and economically. As I talked, my students took no notes. Their faces were expressionless. I wondered whether they thought I was insane, suddenly talking about these literacy revolutions. I wondered whether they were even following what I was saying. I wondered what they were thinking and whether it had any connection to what I was saying. As I concluded my remarks, they gave me no clues.... [Read more]

The Citation Project at CCCC 2011

I’m delighted to discover that all four panels proposed for CCCC and deriving from the Citation Project have been accepted. Even though two of them appear in the same time slot, it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate the diverse threads of scholarship that are emerging from the systematic analysis of students’ use of sources. Here are the panels; mark your calendar! Thursday, April 7: 1:45-3:00 C34, “The Citation Project: Results of a 16-College Study of Students’ Use of Sources.” Chair: Chris Anson Rebecca Moore Howard, “The Background: Why We Need Data-Driven Research to Understand Plagiarism” Sandra Jamieson, “A Statistical Profile of 160 Students’ Researched Writing, with Implications for Teaching.” 3:15-4:30 D36, “Citation Context Analysis: Fresh Approaches to Assessment and Tutoring.” Chair:... [Read more]

Using the handbook in class: Reading assignments and peer groups

My classes, including a section of Comp 1, start on August 31. This semester I’ll be doing something I never have before: I’ll be giving no whole-chapter reading assignments in the handbook. I’m doing that because I’ve had to acknowledge over the past several years that most of my students simply aren’t reading these assignments, and if they are, they’re not understanding or retaining much. I will be making handbook assignments, though. I’ll be dividing up the material I want them to engage, and assigning groups of students in the class to study specific parts of it and teach it to the rest of the class. On Tuesday, let’s say, one group gets section 8a; another, 8b; another, 8c; and another, 8d. On Thursday they come into class and I put them into groups with the others who read their section. That group gets about 10 minutes’ planning... [Read more]

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