Thursday, October 30, 2014

Adventures in outcomes-based assessment

December 18, 2010 by  
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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... [Read more]

This just in from Twitter, via Facebook: Privacy Unleashed

December 11, 2010 by  
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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... [Read more]

What students hear

December 5, 2010 by  
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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... [Read more]

The Citation Project at CCCC 2011

October 10, 2010 by  
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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’... [Read more]

Using the handbook in class: Reading assignments and peer groups

August 23, 2010 by  
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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... [Read more]

Ten principles of teaching with a handbook

August 18, 2010 by  
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This week I have the distinct pleasure of talking with four groups of instructors who have adopted Writing Matters and will be using it this fall. We’ve talked about the Citation Project: how that research has developed concurrently with the handbook and how Writing Matters responds to the pedagogical concerns raised by the research. We’re also talking about how a handbook can best be woven into the syllabus (rather than just being a putative reference work for the students). To anchor... [Read more]

The labor of knowing

July 27, 2010 by  
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In the July 19 Wired, Jonah Lehrer alludes to the joys of fieldwork versus the “drudgery of the lab.” After several years’ work on the Citation Project, I have a much better sense of what he means. We set off on the Citation Project with the objective of having a broad data-based portrait of what students do when they work with sources. As teachers we had some pretty concrete ideas, drawn from our work with the student writers in our own courses; as scholars we had some glimpses... [Read more]

The recycled news story, yet again. Nauseatingly.

July 16, 2010 by  
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On July 5, the New York Times offered “To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery.” Exactly one week later, it was “Cutting and Pasting: A Senior Thesis by (Insert Name).” Thus does the Times publish two stories that, while they have been circulated widely among educators, actually set back the cause of good teaching. Like most media coverage of issues of plagiarism, cheating, and academic integrity, these pieces go for simplistic, sensational claims. And the Times replicates... [Read more]

Why use a handbook?

January 29, 2010 by  
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College instructors are justly concerned about textbook costs for students who may be financially struggling. We’re all trying to teach as well as possible, with as little financial burden to our students. That’s only right. One thing I’m hearing is debates about the value of *not* adopting a handbook in writing courses, on the premise that students can find answers to questions about grammar and documentation online. That’s a great idea. But it’s a great idea, I believe,... [Read more]

Hidden challenges in source selection

November 6, 2009 by  
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At the beginning of fall term I presented some of the Citation Project research to Writing teachers in my own department, and as the semester has unfolded, I’ve had a number of opportunites to work through those same materials in webinar conversations with teachers at other institutions. The research I’ve shared in these presentations illustrates how students’ desire to use condensed, factual sources creates an array of problems as they try to write from those sources: Stylistically,... [Read more]

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