Open and Closed: The Class That Sank | Open Pedagogy Notebook
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-05-15
"I teach at a small liberal arts college in central New Hampshire as a Teaching Lecturer. It is one of the best parts of my life—I have the opportunity to work with college students, deepen my understanding as a writer, and am afforded the support of a caring and thoughtful department. With six classes of College Composition under my belt, and the introduction of Open to the campus (in the form of several professors embracing those concepts) I decided to give it a shot myself. Open speaks to my thoughts around academic instruction: puts students in the driver’s seat, allows for interesting and thoughtful participation, embraces technology, and allows for a more rounded academic environment. These echo my own educational experiences as a writer, where the main academic arena is the workshop. With new ideas and some examples, and a thirst to do something meaningful, I went about designing a course that would enthrall and invoke the truest experience of academia an incoming first-semester student had ever experienced! And then it fell flat. The only thing that saved the course from total failure were the students, who battened down the hatches as we sank and stared baling. As a part of reflective practice, it’s important to look back at the places that did not go as planned and learn from them. In my first experiment in Open, there were things that on the outside looked like the correct thing to do. Some activities were very successful. Others were not. By looking backward, we can build from both places to remix and create something out of what was (which is, after all, a tenant of Open). First, College Composition is offered at most institutions of higher education. This course serves as an Introduction to Academic Writing and is often one of the first classes taken during a student’s first semester and offers training in how to enter academia, hopefully allowing for successful writing. Traditionally, there are several essays required, the MLA citation process is gone over extensively, and there is remedial grammar education...."