Sunday, December 04, 2005

Proposal Draft-notes and starts

The advent of blogging brings together several important factors in the teaching of composition. First, it has evolved to be primarily text based while still allowing for the incorporation of images, sounds and videos. Second, it is public, whether it is completely public or public only to a select group. Third, it allows for feedback from the public as well as from the instructor and student in the class. Composition pedagogy is obviously concerned with the creation of text, but it has also struggled with creating a more authentic environment for students to write in. The public nature of the blog provides that environment by providing an audience. Additionally, composition teachers are also always looking for ways to provide students with more feedback, from fellow students in addition to the teacher. A blog, through its comment feature allows for that feedback loop. But blogging is more than writing. It is also reading and thinking critically. By encouraging student writers to fully participate in the blogging experience, one can help them take steps toward learning to write for a public audience and to respond to others' writing in critical ways and to always be critical of their sources. Generally speaking, these are key goals of any composition class.

I will be focusing on the first year writing course I taught at Bryn Mawr College, a course that may be similar at many other liberal arts colleges; however, I believe that many of the practices I used in that course can be applied in many other types of courses at many types of schools. In fact, I believe that blogging might be one avenue to encouraging more writing in many other disciplines besides English/Composition. The course that I taught is a required course for freshman whose stated goals include the following:
"To make sense of the ideas, stories, arguments and images we encounter in readings and discussions. 'Making sense of' means explaining and connecting what we read and see and hear with our own response. This kind of writing is what allows us to enter the Grand Conversation that defines us as thinking human beings."

"The purpose of the writing is to give students the opportunity to respond in creative and critical ways to a variety of texts and to develop their own writing voices (a process inseparable from their development as thinkers, readers, and listeners). We want students to develop fluency with expected modes of academic discourse but also learn to be present, creative, and engaged."

Organizational Thoughts
  • Explanation of blogging generally: I'm assuming this still needs to be done and I'm thinking it should go before what I have written above (if it indeed remains).
  • Brief explanation of the pedagogy: cognitive, constructivism, connectivism, emergence(?)
  • Then more specific explanation of class and then our specific goals
  • Broader implications--what I hope these practices can accomplish for others
  • Imperfections in blogging practice--perhaps not in the proposal?
Tomorrow, the bibliography and some writing on blogging as a general practice.

1 comment:

Will said...

Hey Laura,

I'll be very interested to follow along with your work...thanks for making it public. I'd also be really interested in what your thoughts are on my own deliberations about writing and writing instruction i.e. "connective" writing.