How can we empower our students to engage critically with our course materials?
One of the most exciting results of teaching--but most challenging to achieve--occurs when students are able to express curiosity about your course’s subject matter. Check out the following ideas for using writing to encourage your students to think more critically about their work.
How can we use technology in the classroom to enhance students' understanding of composition and communication? Technology is constantly changing how we communicate and how we do our scholarly work. In the context of what are sometimes radical changes, it is important for us to help our students think critically about the ways they use technology and the ways technology affects how we produce, disseminate, and value knowledge. This doesn't mean, however, that we need to jump in and grab the latest gadget or adopt the most recent application to generate buzz. If we carefully consider how technology affects our teaching and our students' learning, we can find ways to help students not only enhance their written work through technology, but also provide them with the capacity to adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing environment. Here are some examples from some of your colleagues at Ohio State who are using technology to both enhance student learning and help students hone their writing skills.
How can I get my students to pay attention to style in their writing?
The MLA and APA have recently revised their style manuals, and it's a good opportunity to talk with your students about the stylistic conventions that scholars in your field follow. On the one hand, these conventions are formal--citations of different kinds must be written in a specific format, and rules for specialized cases of usage must be obeyed. On the other, style can also be taught as a tool of writing that helps student develop their individual writing voices while they also learn how style embodies particular ways of thinking within a discipline. Because style often embodies scholarly and disciplinary values, it is important for students to understand its significance and feel comfortable making appropriate stylistic choices within their writing. Here are some approaches to addressing style with your students:
I had the pleasure this quarter of working with Professor Mark Moritz and his Anthropology 620 class. Dr. Moritz centered his class writing assignments on producing a wiki on the topic of the class, which was hunter-gatherer societies. I came into the class twice, and I'll divide my comments for each session into two posts. The first session addressed how wikis might fit into disciplinary attitudes toward writing and knowledge production.
We were invited to do a workshop for the sociology department on "how to respond to culturally insensitive student papers." The GTA coordinator for the department related how GTAs were unsure how to approach, comment on, and grade student papers that were racist, sexist, or homophobic, rather than focusing objectively on a topic using sociological methodologies.