TeachingWriting Online:How &WhyBy Scott WarnockProfessor at Drexel University
The Author, Scott Warnock PhD from Temple University Director of the Freshman Writing Program at Drexel University Hired in 2004 to create an online writing program.
In the introduction, Warnock quotes Nietzsche: “If you have your why for life, then you can get along with almost any how.” This quote refers to the subtitle for the book because the author often repeats that the “why” of your teaching should proceed the “how” of your teaching.
For me, this means placing pedagogy before technology. Warnock notes, “find points where pedagogy and Discussion Boards are a good technology example of how technology meet and serves the writing teacher at develop tasks the intersection of student centered learning and that facilitate technology. such a union.”
Developing Your Online Personality Warnock says that much like your f2f persona, you also develop an online teaching persona. He encourages all new online teachers to think about what “type” of teacher they would like to be online. Some personas to avoid: unapproachable sage, apathetic drone, chum, fool, harsh critic.
Have an icebreakerMuch like we did in this class, Warnock encourages the onlinewriting teacher to welcome the students to class and havethem introduce themselves.He includes his sample welcome to the students, so the readercan see his teaching persona and what topics he is asking thestudent to refer to when introducing themselves.In the text, Warnock is having students submit theirintroductions in discussion boards on a CMS (coursemanagement system) such as Blackboard.
Online or Hybrid? The author is a fan of HYBRID courses, especially for teachers new to online teaching. He argues that the move to online teaching is best done gradually. Also, Warnock notes that freshman are also better served by a hybrid class as an introduction to a fully online class. He made this decision after comparing the 8% drop rate of his onsite class to the 44% drop rate for his online freshman composition class.
The Importance of Communication Teaching online requires a rethinking of your communication style. If you are a teacher with a big personality, some of your affect maybe lost in an online class. If you are a teacher who pulls students aside for added help, this type of communication requires more foresight in a online environment.
Tech Tools & Strategies: Use OnlyWhat You Need Warnock says, “Don’t be any more complicated technologically than you have to be. The foundation of your class, even in the most high tech environment, is still your own personal teaching ability and imagination.” Some relief from the high tech for newbies like me!
Avoid technology overload Warnock recommends what could be paraphrased as “Keep it simple, Stupid.” He tells the new online teacher to use the predesigned tools, such as Blackboard as much as possible and adapt the management system to the course outcomes.
More practicaladvice for theteacher:Know your CMS, coursemanagement system; formost of us, this would beBlackboard. The authorstresses that once thesemester beings, theteacher does not havetime to learn how to useBlackboard.
Writing Course Design Message Boards-A perfect place for students to do informal writing Writing journals kept on student’s page, similar to our blogs on Ning. Peer-review of drafts Three writing projects—graded holistically in a writing portfolio
Teaching onlineWarnock shows the prosand cons of whether to writing withuse a real book or to useonline resources, such as a RL book.an e-book. He doespoint out that if studentsdo not have access to abookstore, they need toknow about the textahead of time.
Redundancy is crucial Warnock recommends providing information to our students through multiple means. For example: Put due date on syllabus Put due date in specific instructions Provide weekly plan each week list all activities and (you guessed it!) DUE DATES.
Much like a RL classroom Interestingly, Warnock sounds like a mentor teacher working with a new teacher in a real life classroom. His advice, like repeat the same information over and over is practiced most teachers in a RL classroom. Which makes me wonder, do students display similar behaviors online as they do in real time? What is the online equal of texting in class?