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This semester I’m teaching four sections of second-semester freshman composition: three sections of ENG 1020 (two on campus and one online) for Metro and one section of ENG 122 (online) for Red Rocks. I’m using the same main textbook, The Bedford Researcher, for all the classes, and the assignments will also be the same for all of them.
I’ve been trying to figure out what would be the most efficient way to post instructions for assignments that I didn’t include in the syllabus (i.e., everything but the papers). I could repeat the information in the wiki for the on-campus Metro classes and the course shells for both online courses, or I could post it once somewhere else and link to it. That way, if I need to make any corrections, I only have to make them once.
I decided finally that this blog is the best place to post the assignments. That way, my students can all ask any questions they have in the same place, and I’ll be notified immediately because I moderate the comments.
I’ll try it this semester and see how it works.
This coming week, my students have three assignments for their research journals:
Read “Internet Search Tips and Strategies” and “Use My Research Question To Generate Search Terms.”
Generate a list of keywords related to your research topic. Use the following resources, or any others you’re familiar with, to identify related and synonymous terms:
Be sure you note any related terms that you come across as you do your research, so you can add them to your list.
In your research journal (blog), post the list of keywords you’ve generated, clustering synonymous or related terms together, along with the ladder of generalization you’ve created. Write a paragraph explaining the process you followed and resources you used to complete the assignment. Tag the entry appropriately. (Please use “ENGL 112″ as a tag for all your blog posts.)
Bookmark any of the websites you used that you might want to reference again. Tag them appropriately.
In your research journal (blog), create a post discussing how you will narrow your topic in response to suggestions you received in the Week 2 Discussion. Tag the entry appropriately. (Please use “ENGL 112″ as a tag for all your blog posts.)
Watch “RSS in Plain English.”
I have subscribed to RSS feeds for your blogs and del.icio.us bookmarks using Bloglines. If you go to my Bloglines for the class, you can read your and your classmates’ blogs and bookmarks. (I’d recommend that you bookmark the Bloglines page.)
Click on the plus sign in front of the ENGL 112 Blogs folder in the lefthand frame. When you click on the name of one of the blogs, you will see the latest posts submitted. Clicking on the title of the blog (in large black letters at the top of the righthand frame) will take you to that blog. Clicking on the title of the post (in blue letters and underlined at the beginning of each post) will take you to that particular post.
Select one of your classmates’ blogs and post a comment in response to one of his or her entries. (The link for posting a comment is at the end of each entry. On the main blog page in Blogger, the link will say “# comments”–where “#” is the number of comments posted.) If you post anonymously (without logging in to Blogger or WordPress), please include at least your first name at the end of your comment. Also, please make sure that your comment is positive and substantive.
You’re also welcome to explore the RSS feeds of professional sources that I read daily.
It’s hard to believe that I started this blog a year ago today. My goals haven’t changed. I haven’t taught a section of ENG 122 at Red Rocks since I started this blog, so I haven’t been able to incorporate any of the ideas I had. However, I should be able to use them in my ENGL 112 class for Mesa State this spring.
I didn’t post as much as I feel I should have during the fall, mainly because I had to keep up my blog for IT 6750. I plan to remedy that this year.
Last year, I used a blog for my Red Rocks classes. I think a wiki will work better, so I’m going to try one this year. I just have to decide whether to use PBwiki, Wikispaces, or Wetpaint. Right now, I’m leaning toward Wetpaint because it seems to include discussion forums.
During the January term I’ll be teaching two sections of ENG 121 for Westwood Online, as I did every term last year.
I’m also scheduled to teach one section each of ENG 131, HUM 122, and LIT 127 at Red Rocks this spring. I taught ENG 131, Technical Writing, last spring and this fall. HUM 122 covers 800 to 1750 CE. For LIT 127, Study of the Novel, I’ve selected the following books:
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
I picked novels with the same theme, a child growing up, but from different times and places, including the future and another world. The class might end up being canceled. The last time I checked, there were only five students registered for it, and there have to be twelve for it to run.
In addition, I’m going to be teaching a section of ENGL 112 online for Mesa State College. The catalog description for the course is brief: “Critical writing about literature; research.” I’m going to use The Bedford Researcher for the class. I figure the literary resources I need can be found online.
Since last January, I’ve been using a blog for my classes at Red Rocks Community College. I post what we’ve done in class, so the students don’t have to try to get in touch with me if they miss class or forget. I also have links for each class.
It finally occurred to me this week that a wiki might suit my needs better, so I’ve started one at PBwiki, though I don’t have anything in it yet.
I guess it seemed logical to use a blog because I was making regular chronological posts about the classes. However, the students aren’t commenting on the posts–at least no one has to date–so I don’t really need that feature. Another problem with the blog is that during times when I’m not teaching a particular I can’t save the related links in the sidebar except by leaving that element on the page. In the wiki, I can just hide (or not link to) a page I don’t need during a semester, but the content is still there. With the wiki, I can also embed a widget from Box.net for the folder with the files for the class rather than just linking to the page.