Option B: Online Certification Tutorial
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In Winter 2012, what used to be a wiki on Blackboard migrated to a Word Press blog with individual course construction blogs. The blogs are linked into a closed certification community, with access denied to anyone outside it. At the same time, all members of the winter WAC community – Coordinators, Fellows, and faculty candidates – will be able to read and respond to each other on each of the networked blogs, creating an active community of practice. You will be able to receive feedback on your work on your own blog, and you will be able to read and respond to the work and ideas of others on their blogs and on the mother blog, where everyone will convene.
Faculty who choose Option B will be able to work from home on nine online “modules,” each of which is dedicated to a different topic from John Bean’s Engaging Ideas, the textbook you will receive during the orientation session. Each module consists of a series of prompts and a predictable sequence of writing assignments. In each module you will, 1. write reflectively about your previous experience with the topic. 2. write in response to the reading assignment. 3. You’ll then be asked to turn your attention to the course you are working on and to write about how the reading has impacted your thinking about your teaching of your specific material/course. 4. After you have worked on your course materials and perhaps posted a revised document of some sort, you will be asked to 5. write about the entire process of doing the work of the module (“going meta”). What has stood out for you in completing the work for this module? What are the most interesting implications for you? What will you take with you? Finally, looking back at all the writing you have done, 6. you’ll be invited to share some piece of your experience with others on our shared mother blog.
The medium is, of course, also a large part of the message here. We invite you to put yourself in the student position in using writing to learn because we want you to experience for yourself, in a variety of modalities, how “writing to learn” actually works. Of course we advocate for ongoing reflection on the question, How might writing “like this” (see the 6 modes above) fit in to my teaching of my writing intensive section?
Each online certification candidate will be assigned a Writing Fellow partner who will serve as coach and interlocutor. Your Fellow will respond to you regularly on your blog to help in the development of your thinking about course revision. In the Spring, your Fellow will attend class, help your students with their writing assignments, and continue to consult with you on the course.
Online course policies
Experience and discipline: Doing all your work on your own using online resources can be challenging. We therefore ask that you have some experience with online work and that you be an enthusiastic online reader/writer. Faculty report that it can otherwise be a truly overwhelming process.
Make sure you have the time: Each module will take at least 3 to 4 hours to complete, sometimes more, depending on how much course revision you undertake. In addition, do note that we will require you to pace yourself; you need to have time to work throughout the 6-week winter module so as to be able to work with others.
Meeting Deadlines (January 19, February 1st, and Feb 16th): Of course we cannot have an online community without your active participation. In addition, it is not possible to pilot a writing intensive section until you have designed one. These are the primary reasons we ask you to adhere to the deadlines outlined in the Timeline for WAC Certification document (see p. 12 of this WAC Faculty Handbook and the link on our website). You need to have your work completed and posted on your blog by these dates. If for some reason that becomes difficult, we’ll ask you to come back next year and will remove the writing intensive designation from your Spring semester course.
Completing the Process: Getting credit for completion of the certification seminar online requires the posting to your blog of all the assignments for each of the 9 modules in a timely fashion.* In addition, you are required to work with your Fellow and respond to the work of others, both on individual faculty blogs and the mother blog. And finally, you need to compile and submit a provisional course portfolio, including an inquiry question, by the mid February deadline.
*Note: The reading and writing prompts of the tutorial are designed to be completed in the order in which they are presented. Each module has some 4 – 5 prompts and each requires you to do some freewriting for at least 10 – 20 minutes and create/revise a course document. Since the assignments build on the reading and each other, do not imagine you can do them/post them out of order.