How I Write, a new podcast from the Writing Intensive Program featuring interviews with CSUSB faculty, staff, students, and community members coming soon!
The CSUSB Writing Intensive Program (WI) gives students opportunities to develop discipline-specific writing strategies throughout their undergraduate experience. The program offers writing-intensive courses in varying disciplines—from Art History to Biology to Management to Social Work. In our media-saturated age, writing is more important than ever. In the academy, writing is how knowledge is produced and distributed; and, writing plays an important role in how work gets done in virtually every profession.
QOTM (Question of the Month)
I miss being in the classroom, and want to make the kinds of personal connections with students that I was making in the classroom. What can I do to make my students feel more comfortable and engaged online?
It is easy for us as instructors to focus on content and learning strategies in our courses. These are important and are typically highly related to the purposes of our courses. We also recognize the importance of building relationships with our students so that they feel more comfortable and motivated to engage with course content and with their peers. Studies show that students who feel comfortable in their learning environment are more active learners (Tinnesz, Ahuna, & Kiener, 2006) and are more likely to persist until graduation (Cheng, 2004; Harris, 2003).
To help students feel more comfortable in the classroom, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle suggest their Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic (PARS) framework. To make online spaces more personal, they suggest customizing your learning management system to create more opportunities for students to learn about you and their classmates as people. Introductory videos, for example, give students opportunities not only to share their names, years, majors, and preferred pronouns, but also how they've been spending time during the pandemic and what they hope to get out of your course.
Accessibility is also vital to building comfortable online spaces, and Borgman and McArdle look to user-centered design for an expansive view of accessibility. "Accessibility online is more than just creating accessible spaces or making course materials compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (https://www.ada.gov/) guidelines, it’s also about being present in the course for your students and thinking about their course experience" (44).
Courses that are responsive allow instructors to maintain a high level of interaction with their students, and Borgman and McArdle suggest a variety of strategies for doing so without significantly increasing your workload.
Borgman, Jessie, & McArdle, Casey. (2019). Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors. Practices & Possibilities. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/books/practice/pars/
Online Network of Educators. "Benefits of a Liquid Syllabus." YouTube. 15 Jun. 2019. https://youtu.be/90BmvCuXMoI
Our featured course design this month is KINE 3700, Statistics in Kinesiology, by Nicole Dabbs, Associate Professor of Kinesiology, developed as part of the Writing Intensive Faculty Learning Community.
As you know, writing is not one-size-fits all. The WEC opportunity offers a faculty-driven approach to supporting effective and relevant writing and writing instruction within an undergraduate curriculum. Apply today!