April 30, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

What a Week covid-19: day 403 | US: GA | info | act

Classes ended on Wednesday, but how would I know? I did manage to get both of my World Literature classes graded and submitted. And while there are some aspects of the online courses I would change, I think they both went pretty well. Attrition was low, and most finished successfully—probably close to fifty in two classes. That might be some sort of record. Congrats to them.

Students in my novel course and WritDM are still working on their projects. They have until Tuesday. I really need to begin looking at them much sooner.

My WritDM class has been quite a challenge this semester. I will redesign the course for this summer. I’m going to keep the same projects, but eliminate all of the other stuff. Instead, they will have four or five units that have reading and exercises and end with a “Check In”: a way they can highlight what they’ve learned and what they’re still struggling with. I’m thinking about using D2L’s quiz function, though these won’t be tests—more like advertisements for their progress. Each unit will have specific goals and and learning objectives—I think this is a must. And I don’t think I’m going to use WikiEdu. While I applaud what they do, I think their web site just causes more problems. I really need to write my own material: a WritDM text book, Writing.Digital, that includes lessons on Wikipedia.

My evaluations are going to be harsh this semester. Maybe I earned them. In their final assessments, several students really let me have it: the class was a huge burden, with way more work than their should have been. It was confusing and chaotic, and many will never write for Wikipedia again, it stressed them out so much. I want them all to succeed, so I’m trying to emphasize their projects overall in my final evaluation. One student wrote a particularly insightful criticism of the course:

The least valuable part of this course for me was the quizzes as there was not a good way to prepare to take them. Despite reading the information and preparing, they seemed as if they were intended for us to fail them rather than to pass them. The information we read was helpful, but the quizzes were set up to be confusing and tricky. Overall, the course was fine.

That’s probably right on the money. Often when I try to make things challenging, they end up being impossible—this goes for the quizzes in World Lit, too.

Why can’t I find that nice balance between challenging and palatable?

Still, most made it. They might not appreciate the journey having just taken it, but later they may. Some did, but I tend to over-emphasize the bad. How long have I been doing this?