Restrospective S15 112

112 is our second semester FYC.

Almost everything seemed to go very well. Whoo hoo!

We did the two texts essay over a song and a music video. We did not have enough time to watch all the videos, but we watched some. I used Randy Travis and Tata Young’s videos again.

I let students use their Cornerstone annotated bibs for their research projects if they wanted. I did, however, require two additional non-standard things.
1) A paragraph on how they were going to use this information for their research project.
2) A quote they might use, correctly cited.

I had the students do their digital presentations over their research projects.

One student’s research project seemed “light,” even though he did all the required work and it met the criteria. When I saw his digital presentation, which was poorly done, I realized why. It’s because he was writing about a topic that he already knew well and that he thought there was only one good answer to.

One positive change:
This is the last of the first-year composition courses. Part of the emphasis in FYC is in teaching students the process. After this, the students are on their own for their academic writing. Because of those two last two statements, I decided that I should provide a calendar for the final research paper and the digital essay, but not require most of the pre-writing/planning stage of the work like I normally do. I would just let the students make their own decisions about when they did the work.

I think this was a good decision pedagogically. I basically took the training wheels off the bike, but stayed right behind it where I could help them steady themselves if they were wobbly.

I also think it worked well in practice.

One problematic change:
Because the Director of Comp and the chair were insistent that the schedule all the 112 classes followed be closely adhered to, I was not able to build in the time to host the premiere for the digital essays. We watched them in class, but we had to do them under time pressure and I didn’t have time to let the students peer review them.

I would really prefer to re-institute that.

One glitch:
The new IDEA evaluations… I thought they would be the same 20 questions we were shown. I gave students 10 minutes to complete. However, after they closed out, one of the students told me there were 100 questions and they just went down the middle because they didn’t have time to answer them. I need to check on this. If there were really 100 questions, that seems a little ridiculous. –I looked and not all the students did that. But I do wonder if some did. If even five did this consistently, it would significantly impact the average.

One possible problem:
I don’t think the 4-minute writings worked out as well as they should have. I got the impression at the end that the students thought they were a waste. (Did someone write that on an eval?)

Resolution:
I talked to BH about how he does them and –oh wow!—did I miss a really good use for them. He relates them to the work they are going to be doing in class that day and as he is taking them up, he asks students to volunteer their ideas.

That is a great idea. I am totally revamping the questions for that.

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