Implementing the Redesigned Course
Which Aspects of Your Course Have You Redesigned?
- Access to course material: To increase student engagement, course material delivery has moved beyond BlackBoard. Course materials and information are delivered via a WordPress site on CI Keys with BlackBoard used for grading. Students can access CIKeys from any device with web access and do not need to log in to view course materials. The design is intended to be simple and easy to navigate for students. WordPress is very user friendly, and updating and maintaining the site is rather intuitive. A weekly agenda reminds students of what we covered in class (and allows those who missed class to stay caught up).
- Student work submissions: All student writing is completed on CI Docs (our version of Google Docs) rather than on BlackBoard, and we no longer collect print copies of papers. Google Docs allows us to monitor a student’s drafting and revision process via the Revision History. This provides a more effective way of holding students accountable for their work, facilitates more useful peer review (that I can also monitor via the Comments feature in CI Docs, and enables me to offer more targeted feedback (as well as see if a student has taken into account previous suggestions).
- Class time: Face to face class time focuses largely on conferencing with students about their papers or other work in the class. Students conference with each other, a peer writing tutor, and/or the instructor. Class time is not used to deliver materials that could just as easily (and more effectively) be delivered online. Activities outside of class are structured to hold students accountable for their work during the week, while in class activities are designed to check in with students and help them stay or get back on track.
- Class discussions in synchronous and asynchronous formats: Class discussions are short (approximately 10 minutes) and focused on a single topic. Asynchronous class discussions are an important component and are often conducted through VoiceThread, allowing students to prepare before making contributions to the conversations, and enabling all students, even those who might be quieter in face to face discussions, to express their ideas. Class discussions are also built around student screencasts.
- Electronic portfolio submissions: Students create electronic portfolios in CI Docs rather than printing portfolios as has been the norm in our program. This pilot effort has served students and the composition program as a whole, offering several advantages for our portfolio scoring process and our ongoing program assessment.
- Tools that have been incorporated into the course redesign include CI Keys (WordPress), CI Docs (Google Docs), VoiceThread, and screencasting software (Camtasia, Screencast-O-Matic).
Which Professional Development Activities Have you Participated in During Your Course Redesign?
- We have participated in several professional development activities offered by CI’s Teaching and Learning Innovations program, including the Blended Learning Preparation Program (BLPP), the Online Teaching Preparation Program (OTPP), the CI VoiceThreader Community, and the Online and Blended Peer Review Program (including a QOLT workshop). Lynda.com has also been a useful source of training.
Which Additional Resources Were Needed for the Redesign?
CI’s Teaching and Learning Innovations program (TLI) has been instrumental throughout the redesign process and the primary source of the tools, resources, and strategies that have been implemented. We are indebted to TLI as we redesign our courses and seek to roll out innovations throughout the composition program as a whole.