FYC: Retrospective, part 4

Challenge: I had never taught a proposing-a-solution paper before. However, just prior to starting it, I attended a presentation at SCMLA where we heard a speaker talk about using Xtranormal to create videos explaining the plagiarism policy of that professor’s university.
A colleague suggested purchasing Xtranormal class sets and having our students create a two-part composition for the proposing-a-solution assignment. One part would consist of the Xtranormal video explaining the plagiarism policy and the second part would be a written paper justifying this.
Prior to beginning the proposing-a-solution video, I attended an Adams Center luncheon featuring Dr. McKelvain. He talked about a study that discovered that one sixty-minute intervention was enough to change the average grade for an entire cohort throughout their four years at college. The cohort was composed of minority students and the study has not been repeated for non-minorities, but the idea of a sixty-minute intervention changing the grades was captivating. The intervention was a lecture explaining that everyone is confused about something at college.
I took this information to my students, sharing with them the study and its results and offered my own confusing experience (with understanding Summit). I wanted to make sure that if they chose to talk about something that confused them, they would know that things had also confused others—including the professor.
 Tech: I created an Xtranormal video discussing my choice of Xtranormal as half of the proposing-a-solution composition, which I shared with the studnets. Students created Xtranormal videos explaining the plagiarism policy or proposing a solution to a problem or explaining an issue that they had been confused about.
 To do: A few of the students’ proposed solutions were not implementable. They were primarily looking at the problem from their perspective and even though they considered factors such as cost, they did not fully engage with the audience or the solutions that would be appropriate for the audience. Next time I would like to include sufficient lead time to have the students either turn in a full script for me to comment on, only focusing on issues like this, or for them to come to my office for a first-version conference. That way we can watch the video together and I can suggest general improvements.
 Success: All but three students created Xtranormal videos. (The video portion was presented as an option. Students could instead choose to write a paper that was twice as long and included the problem and solution, as well as the justifications.) All of the videos were good. Many of them were incredibly good.
Hurdled: Choices of background, actor number and sets, music, actions and sounds, as well as authorial credibility, target audience, and solutions were justified in their written half of the composition. I created a rubric sheet for the peer review and searched out the eight main points myself while they were doing peer review.  The final justification essays were well done.
Success: One thing I wanted to do, as part of my unwritten goal of connecting with my students, was to email each of my freshman students a personal note. I did this. The notes consisted of three paragraphs. In the first paragraph I told them something they had done in class that I remembered. Then I wrote a comment on something they did well on the final. Finally I wished them a good holiday and told them that I was looking forward to seeing them on campus next semester.

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