Course Design 2 Narrative


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Course Design 2 Narrative

  1. 1. Eagen 1Denae EagenDr. McGrathPRWR 790030 April 2012 Pedagogy Project ReportOverviewThis unit is intended for English 1101-Composition 1. It could also serve as an assignment in anupper level writing course focused on digital writing and media. The Kennesaw State Universitycourse description defines the goals of ENGL 1101 as “focuses on skills required for effectivewriting in a variety of contexts with emphasis on exposition, analysis, and argumentation. Alsoincludes introductory use of a variety of research skills” (English Department). This unit featuresseveral small to medium assignments that ask students to write from different perspectives,analyze information, and synthesize findings into an original Kickstarter project proposal andvideo storyboard. This unit would serve as the third of four units in the academic semester. The tasks forthis unit serve as preparatory material for a group assignment later in the semester. In the firstsegment of the assignment, students take the perspective of a Kickstarter backer, or potentialinvestor. Students are responsible for annotating the effectiveness of two Kickstarter projects inthe same category using Diigo and refining their analysis in a four-page essay. In the secondsegment of the assignment, students take the perspective of a Kickstarter project creator.Students will complete a proposal worksheet consisting of 20 planning questions that guide themthrough the MAPS model and help create goals for their project concept. By answering thequestions, students will have produced another 2-3 pages of written content. Students will then
  2. 2. Eagen 2create a related 2-5 minute storyboard consisting of 15-30 frames using the ACMI generator.This storyboard will be a draft of the video they envision as a companion to their Kickstarterconcept. Lastly, students will complete a brief self-evaluation using the Team Preparationworksheet from Joanna Wolfe’s Team Writing website materials. After the completion of thisunit, I will assign students to groups to create collaborative wiki projects based on the Kickstarterproposals. I’ve chosen technology with the intent of making each tool feel like a naturalaccompaniment to the assignment and to allow students to approach the technology fromdifferent angles. In “The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for a 21st-Century Pedagogy,” J.E.Clark makes a case for technological awkwardness in the classroom, saying Despite their familiarity with Web 2.0 through gaming and social networking, however, some students are resistant to technological literacy in the classroom. In “A Break in the Transaction,” Ellen Evans and Jeanne Po (2007) argued that, because millennial students have not been exposed to digital texts as a part of their education, they are resistant to digital texts as part of the curriculum; in short, they do not know how to approach these texts critically or analytically in an academic context. Far from embracing digital rhetoric, many students reject it in favor of a more comfortable essayistic literacy. (Clark 32)This unit begins with a traditional analysis essay with light use of Diigo as an annotation tool. InPRWR 7900, we used Diigo as a bookmarking tool to share resources. However, I realized itspotential as an annotation tool while reading Troy Hicks’s post “Reflections on Co-Facilitation aDigital Writing Workshop” on his blog, Digital Writing, Digital Teaching. He illustrates how hisworkshop group used Diigo to highlight and comment on a text as they were brainstorming ideas
  3. 3. Eagen 3for a video. The notes are simple. However, the act of making the notes is an unintimidatingintroduction to the early phases of the writing process, proper essay planning, and even futurepeer-review workshops. The traditional essay allows students to stay at the edge of theirtechnological literacy comfort zone while showing them how to approach the Kickstarterprojects critically. Thus, the Kickstarter projects also serve as mentor texts as students, nowfamiliar with Kickstarter and the literary concepts, move on to create their own proposals. The proposals are completed in a worksheet format to allow students to better focus onmode, audience, purpose, situation, and media of their proposal without concern for organizationor cohesiveness. The initial idea for the unit entailed students creating Kickstarter projects ingroups at this stage, without an individual proposal or storyboard. However, I felt that it woulddeprive some students of the creative experience and allow others to “skip out” on learningvaluable skills and concepts. In “Collaborative Pedagogy,” Rebecca Moore Howard draws adistinction between collaborative contributions to individually drafted texts (peer-review) andco-authored texts (60-61). This unit, and the theorized group project to follow it, is an attempt oncombining the two approaches. Each student is responsible for individual preliminary work. Heor she creates her own project concept and can propose ideas without the burden of fullyrealizing the final project. As the teacher, I’m then aware of each students capabilities and canadjust my expectations for the group projects. The second technology used in this unit is the ACMI Generator, a free online tool thatallows students to create dynamic storyboards for videos, including scene durations, locations,camera shots, camera movements, and scripts. The scenes can be based on sketches, photos, orusing ACMI’s shadow silhouettes to depict figures. Creating the storyboard teaches students anew technical skill while also imbuing them with the same rhetorical practice of constructing a
  4. 4. Eagen 4narrative. Wilber seconds this approach, stating, “Because digital stories work best whenresearched, scripted or storyboarded, and well rehearsed, they meet many of the goals of apersuasive genre and can complement a piece of persuasive writing (83). The importance of thestoryboard is reflected in the assessment. The storyboard has the same point weight as theproposal worksheet, putting visual and written constructions on equal ground. I chose ACMIGenerator because I wanted each student to have the experience of crafting his or her own videoconcept, even if it wasn’t produced. Students may feel frustrated if they cannot execute the ideathat they imagine due to a lack of technical skill. Likewise, group projects may only show thecontributions of one or two group members who have the technical background to executequality photography or videography. The storyboard, however, doesn’t have to be elegant. Itshould be organized, thorough, and well thought while paying attention to key elements of visualrhetoric and persuasive communication. The last technology related to this unit is the wiki, which is the medium in which thegroup project will be published later in the semester. As Dana Wilber suggests, the wiki has anumber of classroom advantages for online publishing. “[Y]ou retain control over who can readit, add to it, and edit it, and students who have access to the Internet can get to the page from anyonline computer. . . . Wikis are useful for creating a space to collect links, files, and otherinformation; for creating a space for students to upload information and collaborate on projects ”(55). The wiki allows students to collaborate in a safe, flexible environment with moderatedesign functionality that also allows me to see the interaction in case of disputes or discrepanciesin quality.Lesson and Instructional Materials
  5. 5. Eagen 5The topic of the lesson is an overview of crowdsource funding organizations and the redefinitionof “artist” to include many categories and ambitions. The lesson then explores MAPS +1,SMART goals, and basic terms for visual rhetoric. I focused on these topics to first introducestudents to the idea of Kickstarter and the purpose of the platform and the projects it supportsand to second introduce students to the concept with which they will need to familiarizethemselves in order to complete their assignments. The assigned readings include support materials for the digital tools used in the unit aswell as basic film instructions. After reviewing the materials provided by each digital tool, I feltthat the resources were strong enough that students could rely on the information without meneeding to create additional tutorials. During lectures and in-class discussions, we would taketime to explore concerns about the tools and allow students to play with the tools beforeattempting the assignment. The “Kickstarter School” resource is particularly helpful in guidingstudents toward audience analysis and clear, focused goals in their written content. The briefoverview offers valuable insights and recommendations based on hundreds of Kickstarterprojects. The production resources for ACMI Generator are detailed yet accessible. I lack expertisein film production and was relieved to find that ACMI provided such helpful reference material.The “Getting Started” page offers basic pre-production guidance on developing ideas, analyzingaudience, and deciding medium and genre. “Building the Concept” offers brief insights intoconstructing the narrative, while the “Copyright Law and Ethics” page provided valuablereminders for attribution. A secondary source might be required since ACMI is based inAustralia and the copyright laws may vary, but the information is helpful. Lastly, the
  6. 6. Eagen 6“Scriptwriting and Storyboards” page introduces students to basic screenwriting vocabulary andexplains the purpose of different elements in the storyboard. Two supporting resources I discovered are JISC Digital Media’s “Basic Guide toShooting Video” and J Media Group’s “Basic Film Training” that introduce students to thevarious stages of video production and offer instructional information for basic film shots,camera movements, and practical film concerns. These resources will be helpful to studentswhen creating their storyboards and later when producing a group video. I relied on Troy Hicks and Cynthia Selfe while creating my instructional materials. Hicksreviews the “MAPS” model as outlined by Swenson and Mitchell (2006), with the addition ofmedia. This revised MAPS +1 model is the basis for my lecture and instructional materials.  Mode—genre of the text  Audience—characteristics of those who are most likely to receive your work and what they value in good writing  Purpose—specific action that a writer aims to accomplish with a piece  Situation—writer’s experience combined with demands of writing task  +Media—method of presentation (Hicks 56-58)Selfe’s chapter Toward New Media Texts provided helpful information on including visualelements in composition assignments. The chapter emphasized the importance of including asubstantial visual aspect of the assignment in which all students could participate. “By adding afocus on visual literacy to our existing focus on alphabetic literacy, we may not only learn to paymore serious attention to the ways in which students are now ordering and making sense of theworld through the production and consumption of visual images, but we may also extend theusefulness of composition studies in a changing world” (Selfe 484). Selfe also reviews visual
  7. 7. Eagen 7assessment vocabulary from Kress and van Leeuwan’s Reading Images: The Grammar of VisualDesign. These terms, visual impact, visual coherence, visual salience, and visual organization,and their definitions guided the visual rhetoric segment of my lecture presentation (Selfe 487).Assignment and Assessment ToolBy using Kickstarter as an educational environment, I hope to introduce students to one exampleof a cohesive combination of visual and written communication that exists outside the classroomand is approachable by project creators of any skill level. The purpose of technology in this unitis to serve as creative planning aids, while the lesson and instructional materials introducestudents to the MAPS concepts and allow them to practice analyzing their writing task. Thematerials also guide students to set SMART goals, which will ultimately allow them to workbetter in a collaborative environment by setting clear and reasonable expectations. Theassignment also introduces students to visual rhetoric and basic film lessons. While not intensive,it is my hope that these brief lessons will leave students better prepared for future assignmentswhich involve digital media. Troy Hicks, author of The Digital Writing Workshop, summarizes the core principles ofwriting workshops, listing “student choice about topic and genre,” “active revision,” “author’scraft as a basis for instruction (through minilessons and conferences),” “publication beyondclassroom walls,” and “broad visions of assessment that include both process and product”(Hicks 2). The purpose of this unit is to serve as planning phase for individual students beforebeginning the group project. Each task progressively asks more of students and familiarizes themwith new literary concepts and digital tools. By prefacing the group project with smaller,intensive planning lessons, the students are able to choose their own initial topic and put their
  8. 8. Eagen 8ideas on paper and into a storyboard, even if their topic is not chosen by a group. By analyzingexisting Kickstarter projects and proposing their own concept, students are better prepared toexpress their ideas to each other and to collaborate on a final product. The initial proposals, ifchosen by a group, will be revised heavily by the group members and will ultimately take on anew, polished form when published on a wiki. Hicks’s assessment concepts influenced me greatly and served as the catalyst for thisunit. Hicks states, “In considering all the aspects of formative and summative assessment ofdigital writing, we need to account for both the process and the product” (117). I initiallyapproached the unit as a group project to create a mock Kickstarter. However, in discussionswith friends and peers, a number of difficulties arose from the assignment being a group project.There was too little focus on individual contribution and assessing the planning materials. Itwould be too easy for one student to end up doing all of the work and others to be left behindbecause they lacked either skill or motivation. I also wanted a chance for students to imagine andto play with the potential of a Kickstarter project without the pressures of group influence oractually producing the content. Hicks also expresses his fondness for the utility of digital writing tools, saying “[they]allow teachers and students unprecedented access into the writing process. . . . Thus, the processof formative assessment has become more transparent” (Hicks 108). After seeing Hicks’s use ofDiigo and my peers’ use of the wiki, I realized the potential of these tools in a unit that built upas an individual assignment and then later evolved into a collaborative project. Thus, this unitdeveloped as a way to assess students individually and for both myself and the student to witnesshis or her own creativity and talent. The actual rubrics are based on those used for PRWR 7900.The group project is effectively the “product” which will be created. However, this unit serves as
  9. 9. Eagen 9the “process” and the formative assessment carries the bulk of the student’s grade. Personally, Ifeel that the lessons learned in the creative planning stages are most likely to build good workhabits and teach lessons that stick. To bridge the gap between units, I included the Team Preparation worksheet that allowsstudents to self-evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as a potential group member. In“Collaborative Pedagogies,” Howard provides recommendations for collaborative writingassignments. In particular, Howard suggests “discuss[ing] methods and problems ofcollaborative writing before the project begins” and have students write out their expectations ofthemselves and each other as well as set goals and a schedule as a group (63-65). The teampreparation worksheet is the first step in team communication, even if it is only a private self-reflection by students. It encourages them to perceive themselves as a potential group member,and completing a self-evaluation will better prepare them to evaluate their peers with graceduring the group project. Howard also recommends that a co-authored assignment be anintensive project that could only be completed by a group; it would be too challenging for anindividual to complete. Students are asked to create only the early planning concepts andstoryboard for their projects. As a group, students will create the actual video, visuals, andnumerous written components of a mock Kickstarter project. Works CitedClark, J.E. “The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for a 21st-Century Pedagogy” Computers and Composition. 27.1 (2010): 27–35. Web.Hicks, Troy. The Digital Writing Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2009. Print.
  10. 10. Eagen 10Howard, Rebecca Moore. “Collaborative Writing.” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. Ed. GaryTate, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. 54–70. Print.Self, Cynthia. “Toward New Media Texts.” The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing. 6th ed. Ed. Cheryl Glenn and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.Wilber, Dana J. iWrite. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2010. Print.