Before we jump into that, I just want to ask if you’ve had an opportunity to talk with professors and other leadership at Rowan about why colleges and universities are taking this extraordinary step right now. From what I’ve seen, many folks are circulating this Vox article to help explain it. Maybe you’ve seen it. I have been reading a lot about this, and as you probably know based on the objectives of this course, I’m quite skeptical of the news media. But for once I think the media might actually be under-reporting the severity of this pandemic. My sense is that our lives are going to be significantly disrupted until the start of summer — if not much longer. I would not count on coming back to campus for f2f classes this semester. For that, I am truly sorry.
Patterns from your feedback
I’m still gathering information and evaluating what to do after spring break based on a number of sources. These include:
- Rowan’s evolving policies and available resources.
- Best practices for online teaching in writing and composition studies.
- My own prioritization of course goals.
- Your preferences.
Regarding that last one, here are some patterns I noticed from the survey:
- Nearly one-third of you have taken either no or just one online course in your lifetime. You’re all about to take 5 of them.
- Understandably, your first concern seems to be losing touch with your professors and with each other. Many of you commented on your preference for f2f, whether because you learn better that way, are more motivated or held accountable through attendance, or just enjoy real-time contact with people. At this point, I plan to offer opportunities for video chat in some form (small group, required conferences, or one-to-one office hours).
- The overwhelming preference for assignments is to post about readings on discussion boards or forums, but not necessarily synchronously (aka in real-time). I plan to do this, though I’m not sure what platform I will use just yet.
- Those of you who took online classes before have notes how important it is that instructors provide very clear directions for assignments; as such, this makes me hesitant to try an experimental or more open assignment, as interesting as that might be.
Over the next two weeks I will be keep gathering and evaluating information & then commit to the actual labor of moving this course to an online environment. Once this is set I will email you. This probably goes without saying, but please make sure you check your Rowan email on or a little before Monday, March 30. I will also likely have a Daily Plan dedicated to the changes to course on this site.
As I mentioned in our last class, if you prefer to submit the Truthometer assignment as a final blog post on your existing WordPress blog rather than a video, that’s totally fine. I would appreciate it if you would let me know your plans via our blogroll spreadsheet. Look for the column that says Truthometer — video or blog? and note either “video” in your row or “blog.”
This project will be due on Friday, April 3 and is still worth 70 points. Blog posts should be approximately 1,000 words and will be assessed using the rubric I shared a few weeks ago (below). If you are still making a video there are no time requirements, but my sense is that 2-3 minutes should probably do it.
If I haven’t already sent you feedback on Fact-checks #2 and #3, look for it during the next two weeks of break. My comments will be geared toward your work on this final Truthomerer assignment, whether you are creating a video or a blog post so I really hope you will use it as you finish the assignment. Is anything is unclear in my feedback, I hope I can count on you to reach out and chat with me.