3 Labor Details

This is what we will be doing in our course:

[If you are enrolled in a Summer section, click here.]

  • Blog Postings — All of your blog postings will be composed in your Medium account; I will be giving you precise directions for setting up your personal blog. These blog postings will be in response to questions or topics from our class curriculum; you will be given specific instructions for each posting. Postings should be developed responses (if you need a target, shoot for 500-800 words)  and may contain text, video, images, links, etc. You are considered the composer of your blog, so there is no limit to the creativity you may use!
  • Annotation Sessions — Instead of traditional discussion board forums in an LMS that usually contain 1-post-and-3-peer-responses-type that basically kill organic, generative discussions, I’ll be using an annotation tool called Hypothes.is that is integrated directly into this open text and in Canvas. In short, we’ll be embedding our discussion directly within our readings! Annotations do not have to be perfect or earth-shattering words of wisdom; instead, they should represent your honest engagement with the text you are reading. In each Annotation Session, you should aim for at least 3 substantive annotations (if you need a target, shoot for 75-100 words each). This could be in the form of highlights, of questions, of added information, or of links to other texts/websites/videos. In so doing, you will assume the roles of knowledge producers and collaborators who, together, will experience deeper learning. Review the handout “How To Annotate a Text” to learn more. Annotations will be completed through the Hypothes.is tool in Canvas. 
  • Peer Assessments — You will be asked to respond to and assess a number of your peers’ Blog Postings. The goal of these assessments is NOT to evaluate or comment on “correctness”; instead, you will be describing how you experienced your peers’ writing, how it engaged your thinking or feelings (or, conversely, failed to engage you). These assessments will be made in the form of Responses made directly under the peers’ Blog Postings in Medium, so they’ll act as a live conversation about the rhetorical effectiveness of the writing. Each peer assessment should reflect thoughtful, compassionate comments.
  • Labor Journal Reflections — This course will consistently lean on the power of reflection and your self-assessment practice. This is often called metacognition, and the proven benefits of “thinking about one’s thinking” are multiple. In short, you will be reflecting on the intensity, engagement, and meaning of your labor. I’ll be asking you to rate your levels of these three characteristics in each journal reflection. You’ll be completing these reflections on a Google Form that will be linked to a Canvas assignment. Each Labor Journal Reflection should meet the specific labor expectations detailed in the directions.
  • Labor Support Group Engagements — Sometime within the first week of the semester, you will be invited to join a 5–6-member Labor Support Group via our course Discord server. The purpose of this group is defined through its title — to provide support to each other as you labor in the course. I will be creating a space for your group to communicate; it will be your responsibility to be an engaged, contributing member of your group. This contribution could be as simple as providing encouraging comments to as complex as offering resources and writing suggestions to a group member who’s exploring a particular topic. As we labor through our learning, it is essential that we benefit from support and collaboration — these groups will hopefully provide this benefit. Note: You will access these support groups from our Discord server.
  • Final Self-Assessment — At the end of the semester, I’ll be asking you to submit a “Final Self-Assessment” Google form that will contain questions/prompts regarding your labor and learning growth. In this form, you will be establishing the rationale for your final letter grade in the course. In short, you will describe what final grade and mastery level you feel best reflects your learning growth in the course while detailing the evidence and reflections that prove this self-assessment. Once I receive your self-graded assessment, I will respond with my thoughts on your final grade in the course. Together, we will arrive at the final grade that best reflects your mastery of the course learning aims!
  • Tracking Your Labor — As you progress with your writing labor and complete your assignments, Checkmarks will be placed in the Canvas Gradebook. You will be able to track your labor completion by accessing your “Grades” in Canvas (again, there will be no points or grades associated with your labor). I will also check your completion record periodically and will contact you if you are falling behind in the required labor outlined in the course. In addition, you will have the opportunity to gauge your progress with me at the midterm point via a “Midterm Self-Assessment” Google form (NOTE: this Midterm Self-Assessment is provided in FA/SP semesters only). Please remember, though, that it is your primary responsibility to maintain and track your labor in the course!


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Essentials for ENGL-121 by David Buck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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