Two studies that I’d like to consider as we move forward with helping students write more effectively:
- Group writing effectiveness, especially as writing courses move online
- Games/empathy (affective and cognitive)
I think that we can start to accumulate data on both, and I’m going to try to outline how I see these studies working in a series of posts that will follow.
One goal, I think, is to work towards a different approach to writing on campus. We are feeling pressure to include more digital projects, but until we get more technical help and a different way of staffing instructors for these classes this won’t happen. In the meantime, though, we can start to look at ways to incorporate online aspects of the writing experience in what we do and how we teach.
One possibility might be to go to a 102/202 model. In this format students have to pass 102 at the end of their first semester and 202 at the end of their second. 202 can be more specialized, allowing different cohorts of students to write in the areas in which they are becoming experts. A list of pros and cons might look like this:
|202 can be more discipline-focused||Interacting with other faculty and having them teach writing will be difficult|
|202 can be more group-focused||Having expertise in facilitating group writing projects will take training and patience|
|Students and instructors will still want optional 100 and 101 courses||Scheduling (or, more accurately, planning out an individual’s college career) might become difficult|
|Having 202 takes the outcome focus away from vague general improvement concerns (“they have to learn to read and write, even acontextually”) to more directed conversations in their areas of expertise||This approach will make us rethink our entire approach to writing, which will be a long and difficult conversation especially in an ecosystem that operates by fiat|
|More direct involvement for tutors, with the potential for tutor-run workshops||Need to produce more tutors, and create better interactions between them and faculty|
There will be more, of course. The best approach will involve some sort of pilot, but even implementing that might be tricky. My guess is that we can work with the various consistuencies (registrar, advising, tutoring) on campus to make this (pilot) happen.