Question 50

50. How might you each teach the course differently in the future?

Different approach to grading. The issues around how to grade creative work were not unique to the COIL course offering.  This is something the NU MFA faculty contends with often as NU is not primarily an arts college and therefore we must find unique ways to adapt the standard grading system to take into consideration the creative process.

Building in a Rubric that emphasized creative achievement would help to define and measure a key objective.

Expanding the course over two units to allow scripts to progress to a more advanced stage whilst building in some gestation time would be ideal.

It would be terrific to extend the collaboration for an entire semester.

(CCC) I would insist upon release time to allow for the additional time necessary to adequately assess and share insights with my partner on the assignments as they were being completed by 40 students. I might also pare down the number of assignments we tried to implement. Very important: I would work with a videographer/audio engineer to ensure high quality audio and video to post. In a voice class, the quality of the visual and audio information is critical to the process.

RH: We’re teaching it differently right now! Well, we crafted two new courses so they would match up better in terms of student educational levels.

In hindsight, Dr. Aragon realizes that her Pop Culture and Politics seminar would be a better fit to collaborate with Dr. Gupta-Carlson’s Digital Storytelling course. Dr. Gupta-Carlson has developed a new course, Hip-Hop America: The Evolution of a Cultural Movement, since the collaboration, and believes this course partnered with Dr. Aragon’s Pop Culture and Politics seminar would be a better fit for a future globally networked learning environment.

Some ideas for changing the course have already been piloted in Charry’s recent section that was not taught in collaboration with an RIT section. Charry added numerous multimodal elements, including videos, photos, and songs. Students, for example, practiced “coming to terms” with a recent New York Times column by Roger Cohen on "oversharing" in social media, and then on the songs "Mother, Mother" by Tracy Bonham and "One of Us" by Joan Osborne. Using these songs to talk about ambiguity, close reading, and interpretation added a new level of excitement in the class.

Charry also emphasized coming to terms, and allowed students numerous opportunities for ungraded practice and teamwork in preparation for the graded individual paper.  In addition, she eliminated the interviews and profile assignments, instead focusing much more on autobiography, and replaced journal article readings with multiple examples of multimodal literacy autobiographies.  Finally, she reduced the number of Café Bar posts to only 4, which allows more time to students and instructors to reflect and comment on the discussion, and to integrate those online discussions into face-to-face class discussion.

All of these changes will be incorporated into the third globally networked version of the course.

Choose a partner institution with stronger Internet connections and easier access.  Quito campus has such access and connection.

Clarke: I would conceptualize the off-seminar collaborative work more carefully prior to the course, and work up a more explicit set of instructions for them, along with, for the American students, the sort of grade incentives that they’re used to having.

Vanderbeke: I agree, and see directly above.

We would probably look for a partner with an equal background in media studies, and an institutional setting that prizes and encourages a higher level of analytical discourse throughout the semester. We would give equal time to preparing students for the analytical frame of questioning representations as to the case studies of diaspora. 

We would give equal time to the set-up of specific case histories, treat three in depth rather than six in a hurry.

  • Begin synchronous activities sooner.
  • Open the course to Japanese language learners to create a more even platform.
  • Conduct more activities with a “playful” structure. (For instance, the cooking activity was probably one of the best activities throughout which students were focusing more on the act of communicating than on the fact that they had to communicate for the course. The course and its artificial confines faded into the background, as did the technology. We designed the course modules so as to increase the likelihood of this occurring from the beginning, but ironically, it was the production of something that had nothing to do with digital technologies that allowed the students to make best use of the digital technologies.)

I would like to increase the virtual communication assignments outside the class. This time, I was not sure how Kagoshima university students correspond to our e-mails and how my students react to individual synchronous sessions,  so I did not include them on a full scale,  but  the chances to talk with counterparts during class time are limited, so I would like to utilize the occasions outside the classroom to the full in the form of class assignments.  And, I also want to change the class time in the way that we can have the same amount of time for each synchronous session. Also, I learned that Japanese students come to class late, so by starting the class 30 minutes later, we will be able to have 60-70 minutes session each time substantially regardless of before or after the daylight saving. 

Spend more time organizing the course with the co-instructors;  things were often rushed, squeezed. we needed assigned time to do course development 

  1. Icebreaking for two weeks.
  2. Figure out the best method for computer telecommunications and train the students.
  3. Include “live” component of simulation--webcasting of pitches, live questioning of teams, voting.

As already mentioned,  we would position the COIL course we taught in a longer time block. We would also attempt to balance our other work responsibilities in ways that provide time and space to nurture and develop our  COIL work. Also, as already mentioned,  if we were to teach this COIL course again, we would try and push students to use technology with more collaborative innovation outside of classroom instruction. 

Importantly and on the flip side, the larger part of our COIL course development and implementation was extremely successful,  and much of the activities that we did implement in teaching the course we would replicate. It is always helpful to repeat a course preparation  and fine-tune content and pedagogy. This seems an almost essential next step to perfecting this COIL work.

HSE - I think both professors should engage in the non-class discussions with students. My students definitely saw it as a drawback that we didn't. I would attempt a better non-class communication between students. I would also introduce admission criteria for the course, selecting students with a certain level of English. There were a couple of first year students who attended but could not really participate in the discussions.

GMU - I would leave the basic structure of the course material unchanged, but give some additional thought to these outside-of-class interactions as discussed repeatedly above. 

I believe the course ran effectively and would make few changes to the course. We might consider allowing students more freedom in choosing synchronous channels of communication for team meetings. I also like the suggestion Mira makes below about adding “traditional knowledge-providing activities” to allow students to learn not only through the process of their practical work, but also from engaging with each faculty member.

I very much like our design that combines teamwork by international small groups, joint videoconferences to exchange the results of the group work, result-oriented activities and other aspects. It could be nice to add some more traditional knowledge-providing activities like mini-lectures.

RAMA: We would choose to limit the topics and to focus more on very specific musical points. More "hands on".

NCCU: I agree with limiting topics for future installments of the course and discern what few course outcomes are most desirable, and then plan for those outcomes carefully.  I would also suggest having a clear understanding between partners of student expectations for the course.

UNISA: We would shift the focus of the lectures more towards addressing intercultural understanding rather than the technical and structural components of the music. 

I would build a more closed learning environment where students did not have so many pages and passwords to navigate and use the system.

Not so much teaching differently but monitoring interactions, adding more of a cultural component and including more frequent assessments.