Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

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Multimodal Mondays: What Counts as Multimodal? Creating Dialogic Learning Opportunities in Online Discussion Forums

posted: 6.29.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Jeanne Law-Bohannon.

Every week, I read Andrea’s Multimodal Mondays blog.  I am as much a consumer of the amazing material posted by colleagues as I am a producer of my own content.  Now that summer is upon us, I would like to use my space on the blog to explore expanding examples of multimodal composition, to ask “what counts,” as lessons, assignments, and writing opportunities for students. I also want to investigate how students themselves perceive their learning from multimodal compositions. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Collaboration, Digital Writing, Multimodal Mondays, Teaching with Technology
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Multimodal Mondays: Digital Collaboration: Infographics as Process Reflections

posted: 6.22.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Kim Haimes-Korn.

We value collaboration in our classes and with digital tools we can involve students in meaningful communication and community building activities.  With the support of digital tools and spaces, teachers can draw upon collaborative theories and practices to design engaging assignments and involve students in participatory learning.  Google Drive and other online spaces allow students to communicate, manage teamwork and collaboratively revise documents and presentations.  However, like all multimodal platforms, it is not enough to have the tools, we must teach students how to use them effectively and articulate their group processes for future successful collaboration.  [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Collaboration, Digital Writing, Multimodal Mondays, Teaching with Technology
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Peer Groups in the Technology-Enabled Writing Classroom

posted: 4.21.15 by Steve Bernhardt

I suspect we all use peer review in some form or other. If we can help students become effective peer reviewers, then we give them a skill that helps them improve their writing without a teacherly intervention. Peer review makes writing public, so students see what others are doing and learn indirectly. We also help students become valuable workplace writers, because they know how to interact with others to improve writing within an organization. [read more]

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Categories: Collaboration, Pedagogy, Peer Review, Steve Bernhardt, Teaching with Technology, Writing Process
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Multimodal Mondays: Play day!

posted: 4.20.15 by Andrea Lunsford

Today’s guest blogger is Monica Miller, a Marion L Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the school of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, specializing in digital pedagogies and multimodal composition. She received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in 2014, where she studied American literature, with concentrations in Southern Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her work focuses on the intersections of region and gender. Her current book project, Don’t Be Ugly: The Ugly Plot in the Work of Southern Women Writers, examines the ways in which ugliness marks fictional characters who are excluded from traditional gender roles of marriage and motherhood.

“My friend said that his 1101 class was the best, because they watch videos all day—but he doesn’t get to play with Play-doh like we do!” –Overheard in my first year, multimodal, “maker culture”-themed composition classroom. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Andrea Lunsford, Collaboration, Guest Bloggers, Multimodal Mondays
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Multimodal Mondays: Re/Mixing Traditional Academic Essays As YouTube Videos

posted: 4.13.15 by Andrea Lunsford

As I write this week’s post, I am wrapping up an illuminating weekend at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and its library’s conference Digitorium, where I engaged with colleagues who use critical pedagogy to “do the work” of digital humanities (DH).  There were so many different kinds of re/mixing and re/envisioning happening, that I felt, for the first time, the true interdisciplinarity of DH.  My colleagues were leading students in geocaching and visualizing distance reading data from biblical texts (see Bo Adam’s Presentation). So much of what I saw made me think about how our students really do produce texts for various publics, more and more frequently in digital spaces.  And it also made me think hard about the “doing of DH” and how we, as instructors, don’t have to be IT professionals to find a comfortable praxis in this “doing” and “re/mixing.” [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Assignment Idea, Collaboration, Digital Writing, Grammar & Style, Guest Bloggers, Multimodal Mondays, Teaching with Technology
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On Mentoring and Being Mentored

posted: 10.30.14 by Andrea Lunsford

On October 24, 2014, I helped celebrate Lisa Ede’s retirement: her department at Oregon State University put on a one-day conference, called “Situating Composition” (the title of one of Lisa’s influential books), and Cheryl Glenn and I had the honor of giving talks at the conference. In addition to our presentations, we enjoyed two fabulous panels: one made up of current MA students at Oregon State, each of whom spoke for about ten minutes about their current research, which ranged from peer tutoring to comic books to dual credit composition programs. These MA students were smart, witty, and full of wonderful ideas. The other panel featured Oregon State alums, and each of these former students spoke briefly about the important role Lisa had played in their education, about her careful and attentive mentoring of them. When the day came to a close, the organizers had a big surprise for Lisa: Cheryl and I had the very great pleasure of announcing the Lisa Ede Mentoring Award, which will be given annually by the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition to someone who embodies Lisa’s mentoring ideals and values. It was a festive and moving and memorable moment, and I got to watch as it dawned on Lisa that the CWSHRC was establishing an award in her honor. Pure happiness. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Collaboration
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Why Write…Together?

posted: 12.8.11 by Andrea Lunsford

Lisa Ede and I asked this question almost thirty years ago in an essay of the same name, and we’ve been trying to answer it ever since, trying to persuade the academy in general and our departments in particular that writing is thoroughly social, that even sitting alone at our computers we are writing “with” all the voices and texts in our heads and at the tip of our fingertips on screen, that all writing is collaborative writing.

For decades we thought our message would never be heard. Especially in the humanities, scholars (and teachers) still resist collaboration and collaborative writing, and the so-called single-authored article/book is still the gold standard for tenure and promotion.  Students also resist collaborative writing, since they’ve been implicitly taught to be suspicious of others who might “steal” their ideas.

But then came the digital age and Web 2.0, with its participatory, collaborative, distributed ways of working.  Perhaps the time has come, we’ve thought (and hoped).  And indeed, those studying and writing about new media and new literacies invariably note the necessity, the inevitability, of collaboration.  If we live another decade, perhaps we’ll see collaborative grades given routinely, collaborative dissertations valued, collaborative teamwork the norm, even in the humanities.

We can always hope!  In the meantime, thanks to Bedford/St Martins, we are celebrating our own thirty years of collaboration and collaborative writing with the publication of Writing Together: Collaboration in Theory and Practice. [read more]

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Categories: Collaboration, Professional Development & Service
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Students as Resources

posted: 1.26.11 by Nedra Reynolds

In my last post I wrote about what bibliographies are for and how they can serve the needs of writing teachers.  Similarly, of course, textbooks, articles, Web sites, and an increasingly vast array of technologies provide resources, too, as well as blog conversations like these on Bits.

Colleagues, in particular, have long been an important resource for me. In addition to the informal contact (quick conversations in the hallway!), I’ve also participated in a Teaching Fellows program on my campus, which gives me a fix of teacher talk—something I miss from graduate school, where my friends and I, none of us veterans, spent hours talking about teaching. Now that I am a veteran, I still love sharing syllabi or assignments and comparing notes about students we have in common. But these days, rather than just talking about students with other teachers, I’m going straight to the source and am talking directly with students about teaching practices, ideas that I have, or what we should try next. I’ve come to trust students more than I used to; I am more likely to ask for their feedback or advice, to let them write the questions or preview the assignment or coach each other.  Generally, they have not let me down, and as another spring semester begins, I will continue to use students as a resource for my teaching, as much as they will let me.

On one level, it’s relatively easy or risk-free to listen to students or to ask for their input. I’ve long let students choose which of their written products will be graded or to vote on reading selections or to choose their own groups. But now I’m trying to put more faith in students’ desire to learn and their ability to be responsible participants in the teaching and learning relationship. I’m trying to be completely transparent, for one thing, by sharing why I’ve made certain choices or decisions in the syllabus or what skills a specific activity is targeting. [read more]

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Categories: Collaboration, Peer Review
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Collaborative Visual Notetaking

posted: 8.4.09 by Traci Gardner

As I remember it, middle school science class consisted almost entirely of sitting down, getting out a notebook, and copying all the notes off the boards. I’m sure that we did other things. We had to. But all I remember is endlessly copying notes off the chalkboards into spiral-bound notebooks.

Once every grading period, the notebooks were collected and graded for completeness and neatness. I’m not sure what I gained from this process, and today I have to wonder what the teacher was doing all that time. The notes either went up after school or during the first class period. That was her prep. In subsequent classes, all she had to do was point to the boards. After the first week or so, she didn’t even need to tell us which order to copy them down in. We all knew.

Compare that experience to the collaborative visual notetaking in the Alexander Dawson Foundation’s six-week summer program for gifted Clark County public school students. Here’s a screen shot detail from one of the images taken by Las Vegas Sun photographer Tiffany Brown:

Detail from Visual Notetaking

Pretty significant difference, huh? It’s not just that my middle school notes were all text on lined paper while these notes are colorful drawings on plain white sketch pads and chart paper. There’s much more going on. Here’s how the Las Vegas Sun story “Students draw to learn about water” described the process:

Nick Payne, a graphic facilitator from the United Kingdom, encourages students to capture discussion content using visuals and organization in a pictorial way. The students draw what they’re learning in bold colors and big pictures instead of writing traditional notes. “The kids become more engaged taking graphic notes rather than just writing it down,” Payne said. “If you have kids recording their lessons it completely changes the relationship between the teacher and the student, for the better.”

The key word in that description is engaged. The learning isn’t rote copying from the sage teacher. Instead, students engage with the ideas and then recast them in graphic notes. Rather than transcribing what the various speakers have to say, these students are asked to listen, to identify significant information, and then to put things down on paper in their own words and images. It’s 21st century literacy at its finest.

Now you may be saying, “Piffle, Traci. They’re in middle school. That will never happen in a college classroom with adult students.” Won’t it? Let me ask you to look back to my blog entry on Mike Rohde’s visual notetaking from SxSW. It can absolutely happen in the college classroom. We just need to bring in some colorful markers and big pads of paper. Oh, and tell them it’s okay to play around and have fun while you’re learning.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Collaboration, Visual Rhetoric
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What If Students and Teachers Tweeted for Help?

posted: 7.22.09 by Traci Gardner

I’m jealous of @comcastbonnie. Okay, that’s a little extreme. I wish I had the resources she has and could use them to help writing students and teachers.

Bonnie Smalley, also known as @comcastbonnie, was the focus of “A Day with 400 Tweets Starts with Simplicity,” a recent New York Times article that describes how she provides customer service for the cable TV and Internet service provider Comcast.

As the article explains, Smalley is “one of 10 representatives who reach out to customers through social networks, rather than waiting for them to find Comcast’s support site.”

Imagine if we could do the same thing to help student writers! I’d love to prowl the Internet, on the lookout for students lamenting that they can’t figure out an assignment or they can never remember how to use the semicolons.

If I ran a writing center, I’d set up and publicize a school hashtag and then ask online tutors to watch for basic questions. In quick exchange on Twitter, a tutor could answer simple questions about grammar and punctuation, define literary terms, and point to additional explanatory Web pages on a site like the Purdue OWL or Colorado State’s Writing Studio. When student writers ask more complex questions, tutors can encourage them to set up an appointment for a more in-depth session.

If we could support students the way @comcastbonnie runs customer service, writing program administrators might monitor the Internet for questions about program requirements, prerequisites, and course registrations. An English Department could answer similar questions for majors and minors as well as for incoming students and those interested in applying.

But why limit the help to students? Just think how we’d benefit as teachers from having someone out there on the Internet dedicated to helping us find what we need just when we need it — whether it’s standards and guidelines, convention details, or a second opinion on a troublesome situation. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could “reach out” and give them the help they need when they need it? Now there’s a job I’d love to have!

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Categories: Collaboration, Student Success, Teaching Advice, Writing Center
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