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Fresno State Workshop: Teaching Writing in Large Classes


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Resources and support for large courses with an emphasis on writing

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Fresno State Workshop: Teaching Writing in Large Classes

  1. 1. Epic Composition: Teaching Writing in Large Classes “…whereas envisioning new pedagogies is about the art of thinking ‘big,’ implementing these pedagogies is a science of details.” —Paulo Blikstein, “Travels in Troy With Friere” Dr. Kim Jaxon California State University, Chico Dr. Kim Jaxon California State University, Chico @drjaxon 1
  2. 2. Quick look at a large writing class Examples and time to consider: Informal Writing Student Choice Digital Platforms 2 @drjaxon
  3. 3. Key Structures Small Research Teams: Permanent groups of five who establish norms together Mentors: “More capable peers” (Vygotsky) Wide Variety of Participation Structures: Use of social media and digital platforms as a way to open up participation and support community building 3
  4. 4. Small Working Groups 10 Students + 1 Mentor Further Divided into Permanent Group of 5 4
  5. 5. Questions that guide course design: 5 • What would an epic writing course look like? • How could the structure force us to consider taken-for-granted roles and identities between writing teacher and student? • How might we highlight the work of students and make the instructor less central to the work of the course? • How might we make the connections between more capable peers and students even stronger?
  6. 6. A snapshot 6 @drjaxon
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  11. 11. “And the chance to do something you’re good at as part of a larger project helps students build real self-esteem among their peers”… “Not empty self-esteem based on nothing other than wanting to feel good about yourself, but actual respect and high regard based on contributions you’ve made.” (McGonigal, Reality is Broken). 12 @drjaxon
  12. 12. 18 @drjaxon Support for Writers & Writing
  13. 13. Can we broaden our definition of writing? How might writing be used more productively in meaning making, discussion, and in generating ideas? 19 @drjaxon I. Informal
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  15. 15. “Perhaps our most important goal for [students] is that they will come to see writing as a continuous process of decision making.” --Katie Wood Ray, About the Authors 22 @drjaxon II. Choice
  16. 16. Are there untapped opportunities in our writing assignments to release more responsibility to students? Jody Shipka, Toward a Composition Made Whole Students’ rights to production
 Students’ rights to distribution
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  18. 18. 27 Dear reader, My conclusion would have to be the least developed so far; I feel as though it’s a call to action and I’m not sure if that’s very strong.  If you could please take a look at that and give suggestions on where I could go with it or if it looks okay; should I just keep it?  Both the conclusion and the transitions between paragraphs may need some taking a look at.  The paragraphs are supposed to be support on what Maker Culture is, so if the connections between paragraphs could be better, feel free to give me your honest answers and opinions because right now it seems as though I just copied and pasted my sources to this.  It seemed too easy to do that so I’ve been trying to make everything connect.  The connections may not be there because I also haven’t really been narrowing down what exactly I want to convey to the reader by reading my essay; I definitely want to talk about Maker Culture, so that should be clear to you as a reader. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and any suggestions on titles would be cool too.  But if you’re going to leave suggestions, write out full sentences of why something doesn’t make sense or what I could put in instead of what I have because just writing “revise” wouldn’t be helping me out with what exactly is wrong.  Give me something I can work with to put in as a revision.  Anyway, have fun reading. And thank you! -Zack
  19. 19. 28 @drjaxon II. Distribution How might we redistribute labor in equitable and effective ways to provide students with feedback, with people to think with, with notetakers and record-keepers?
  20. 20. 31 Course: Course design resources: @drjaxon