Work together, Know Yourself, and Keep Sharing

Response to Scott Warnock’s Teaching Writing Online, Chapters 16-18

The theme of storing communication and writing information in one place repeats n Scott Warnock’s book. While he explores the larger world of resources on the Internet in Chapter 18, Warnock ties his points together by stressing whether you store students’ responses, high-stakes assignments, or emails from students; all documents should be in teachers’ folders, subfolders, and a designated spot in the CMS system, or on a blog. The most successful teachers and professors organize their contacts or documents in one place. They give a document a precise name. For example, BeccaBridgesAnnotatedBib.doc. Everything has a label and a place. I believe this primary example connects to chapter 17 because your assessment from students and of yourself will be better if asynchronous communication and assignments have a designated spot.


Courtesy of cafepress.com.



Courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com. Just as Sheldon feels comfort in knowing his spot on the couch is always there, students should feel comfort in knowing exactly where their documents are kept. They know their professors store their emails and communications. In chapter 16, teachers value each other’s communication and resources. They also learn to store them in one place.

Warnock again stresses the importance of storing resources and communication in one place in chapter 16. This becomes an important tool for teams of teachers. I liked chapter 16 because it discusses how the online environment becomes less stressful when teachers work together by collaborating online. They share content or ideas to lessen the strain of work individually. Warnock writes that teams of teachers “can design general course materials tailored for individual sections …” (163). One strength of Google Drive, if teachers do not have a CMS system, is that teachers can create folders within the program. Teachers can upload materials from other places, including old documents, into the designated Google drive folder. Every teacher with whom you share the folder receives comfort in knowing they can access the materials.

Warnock presents an important point at the end of chapter 16, which significantly connects with chapter 17’s focus on assessment. He writes that “less than 30 percent of full-time faculty who teach online receive detailed training about how to do so” (166). If teachers fail to understand their strengths and weaknesses when teaching online, they might not know the best ways to assess themselves. For example, Warnock suggests that some professors use surveys. While they might be useful, surveys fail to give instructors a complete picture of how they’re doing with teaching online.

According to Warnock, teachers should “draw on vast number of texts” from students and those created by teachers (169). By using discussions from message boards or blogs, teachers gain information about students’ understanding of text material. Teachers see whether or not students are engaging with text, writing, and their peers. Teachers consider how students interact online based on the information from blogs, emails, or also synchronous conversations.

In chapter 18, Warnock expands on what tools and books teachers can use to improve their online or hybrid courses. As a teacher, I am interested in using Rita-Marie Conrad and J. Ana Donaldson’s section in Engaging the Online Learner about “using games and simulations” (173). When students engage in familiar content with which they find intriguing, they are more likely to interact with material and classmates. I think it will also build a collaborative environment because students may practice their communication skills with one another.

When Warnock reminds me of the colleges which provide the strengths and weaknesses of “different CMS packages” from chapter 3, I believe these websites are important for teachers because they may evaluate systems their schools use. Interested in research, I like to know which CMS work better than others and why. Which features am I most interested in? That is a question the websites can answer.

Bibliography

Warnock, Scott W. “Virtual Teaching Circles: Leveraging Teacher Time and Effort.” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 163-167. Print.

Warnock, Scott W. “Course Assessment: Taking Steps toward Knowing How Well We Are Doing.” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 168-171. Print.

Warnock, Scott W. “Resources: A World of Help Out There.” Teaching Writing Online. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 2009. 172-178. Print.


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