I’ve been teaching a class called New Literacies Research and Practice (or some variant of that title) for about eight years now. Searching through my emails to get prepared for this post I found copies of the syllabi I produced for the class throughout time. I recently threw most of the syllabus and the course in the trash…and I want to explain why. I think it might be beneficial for you.
The first copy of the syllabus from about eight years ago while I was getting started as a graduate assistant at UConn. At the time the class was a great class. It was an overview of the research involved in new literacies research & practice. I co-constructed and revised the class with Greg McVerry and we developed a series of activities that I believe were somewhat progressive for the times. One of my favorite parts was that we had students acting as “discussion directors” (DD) for weekly readings, and facilitating & evaluating their peers. I loved this activity because my students need to learn how to facilitate an online discussion. There is a subtle art to running an online discussion, and I wanted to put my students in the situation where they needed to figure out the best practices involved.
Moving a bit forward
As we get closer to my exit from UConn the class is for the most part the same structure. The main difference is that I included the entire Handbook of Research on New Literacies. The class became a guided tour of what I believed to be the salient pieces of the New Lit Handbook. I streamlined the assessments and the roles of the DD for each week. I also started to weave in online collaborative writing as students would be expected to write a modified literature review of an aspect of new literacies. Finally, I started having students write would now has become the “multimodal tutorial” that I expect as a minimum for all of my students.
As I started up as a faculty member at UNH I needed to prepare syllabi for all of the courses in the new Sixth Year Certificate in Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy (IT&DML) program that I was hired to start. Most of the syllabi followed the same model I established using the old format of DD and alternative, sometimes collaborative assignments using online tools. The model was still (IMHO) quite progressive four years ago.
Moving to an online, open learning experience
As I prepared for the upcoming iteration of the course I decided to (for the most part) throw out the old model I’ve been using for the class. A couple elements changed the work and focus in the class. First, the ORMS model that Greg and I have been writing about and using with classes is becoming a bit more clear. Second, I wanted to integrate and utilize the MOOC I’ve built for the ORMS model. Third, I wanted to integrate the Mozilla Web Literacy Map that I’ve been helping with. Fourth, badges. Finally, I wanted my students to have experiences teaching openly online. They interact and share materials openly online as part of the coursework. I wanted to extend that a bit and instead of just leading and facilitating discussions in a closed environment for solely their peers in the class…I wanted to them to teach openly online. In effect, I’m training them to interact in a PLN, and having them facilitate a MOOC.
As I posted yesterday, the ORMS MOOC gets started tomorrow. Over the next 10 weeks students from the newest iteration of the “new literacies” class will be leading, learning, and interacting in the open. Please come join us. I’ll share my thoughts and reflections here on this blog throughout the process.
Image CC by Michelle