This post summarizes some of the changes that I am going to make to the course, based on the comments people made on the #WednesdayWrite: Midterm Evaluation post before Spring Break. Because there were a lot of comments about the grading system, I am writing a separate post on the changes to the grading system, which will be up by the weekend.
Comments on Daily Discussion Posts
The way that the site was set up there was no way to see all the comments that a person had made. This arrangement made it hard for someone to tell which posts that they had commented on and which they had not.
I have changed the Discussion system that the site uses so that there are a few more tools available. This video provides an overview of the new capabilities:
How to Add a Gravatar (Optional)
Gravatars are the little images that show beside a person’s name in comments on the course website. The word Gravatar itself stands for Globally Recognized Avatar, as the official explanation states. If you do not have a Gravatar set, the site displays the sideways G image. You do not have to add a Gravatar for this course, but you may if you’d like.
To upload an image for your Gravatar, you have to create a WordPress.com account (or log into one if you already have one). You need to use your vt.edu email address in order to match the comments you have made on the course website. Once you have setup your account, you can follow the instructions for Uploading Your First Profile Image.
Break Genre Analysis Report into Milestones
It’s easy enough for me to give you more structure for the project. Realize too that you can create your own milestones as you work on your proposal. When you create your schedule in your Short Proposal, you are, in fact, creating your own milestones. I aim to have a checklist of milestones for you to incorporate into your proposals on Saturday.
This request is harder to deal with. First, the department requirements for the course call for writing several different kinds of projects. Even if I add quizzes, I can’t drop the projects.
Second, quizzes don’t work well as a way to learn writing. People learn to write by writing. If there were quizzes, they would not be the multiple choice kind. Instead, they would be short writing activities that asked you to apply the readings to some particular scenario.
Since we are at the point in the term where you work on the longer, harder projects, I hesitate to add any more writing activities. For now then, I will not add any quizzes.
Add Job Application Resources
One of you requested that I add information on writing job application materials to the course. In particular, the course could benefit from information on resumes, cover letters, personal statements, and other job application documents.
I’ll add some readings and information on job application materials to the Daily Discussion Posts later in the term. The reason I stopped covering the customary job application materials was that most students taking the course have already written what they need for an internship or job search. The large number of seniors in the course, for instance, created these materials months ago (and many already have jobs). By fitting the materials in as Daily Discussion Posts, those of you who want can benefit from the info, and those of you who already have your materials won’t be bothered with busywork.
I am still working on changes to the grading system in response to your comments on the midterm evaluation. I will have that information posted later this week.
Additionally, if you want to say anything more about how the course works, you can add a comment to this post. I am always eager to improve the course if I can.
Photo Credits: Mile Marker by Preservation Maryland, QUIZ: Who is your favorite Doctor from Doctor Who? by methodshop.com, and Application – pen by Flazingo Photos—all three on Flickr and used under a CC-BY-SA 2.0 license