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Sharing Student Writing and Teacher Response How Posting to a Class Website Has Altered Our Teaching.

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1 Sharing Student Writing and Teacher Response How Posting to a Class Website Has Altered Our Teaching

2 Our Website Project Phase 1—developing a Freshman English Portal with pages for individual sections of freshman writing, with password-protected student and class portfolio pages to which students post their writing. Phase 2—adding materials to guide assessment of student writing; enhancing the database to facilitate commenting on posted writing; using the site template to create sections for courses throughout the English curriculum

3 Today’s presentation Focuses on our own use of the portfolio and commenting functions at two levels, freshman writing, and a 400 level literature course Addresses the ways in which our own practices, as teachers, have been altered by our expanded use of these functions

4 Underpinnings in Composition: Portfolios Allow collection of writing at different stages of completion, over time Take emphasis off individual graded assignments Make the writing, not a justification of a grade, the focus of comments Give students “an opportunity to explore, experiment, and compose across a body of work without receiving a summative evaluation of their efforts” (Huot)

5 Underpinnings in Composition: Peer Response Can create supportive and critical readers of the writing of self and others (cf. Elbow and Belanoff, Sharing and Responding Can help writers develop a sense of audience: beyond the teacher, for more than evaluative purposes (Harris)

6 Underpinnings: Peer Response Can create supportive and critical readers of the writing of self and others (cf. Elbow and Belanoff, Sharing and Responding Can help writers develop a sense of audience: beyond the teacher, for more than evaluative (grading) purposes (Harris) Can help readers develop descriptive, analytical, and evaluative approaches to a text (Bruffee)

7 In effective peer responses, students Tell authors what they think the language in their drafts says; ask questions about places that confuse them; suggest ways “for the writing to do its job better” (Gere and Stevens) Ask questions, suggest revisions, agree or disagree with peers, explain intentions about stylistic choices) (Davis)

8 Peer response concerns Students’ comments may focus on surface vs. substance They may be affirming without being constructive They may be overly directive They rarely include an effective description of what’s there (an important stage in effective peer response cycles)

9 Peer response concerns Writers might not be able to use the comments they receive constructively They might not really get constructive help from peers Peer comments might have a negative impact on their sense of themselves as writers. Writers may questions skills of peer respondents

10 Common peer response practices Typical focus is on complete drafts of formal papers Students often respond to teacher’s guiding questions Teacher does not typically participate in a response group, but responds separately or to later drafts

11 Underpinnings: Assessment Even with portfolios and peer response, the teacher’s comments are most often separate, private, and directly linked to grading We need a discourse of assessment that’s separate from the discourse of grading (Huot), a discourse that can be used by both teachers and students

12 Website: Our goals To address limitations of hardcopy portfolios (range of work not easily available to other readers) To expand boundaries of peer response, beyond teacher-directed response to full drafts of formal papers To begin to shape and share a supportive and constructive response discourse and a separate evaluation/grading discourse for both suents and teachers

13 Website design elements Individual portfolio spaces where students can post their work in an ongoing way A comment function that allows peer and teacher responses to all of that work A class portfolio that shows all student postings for a particular task

14 Website results Online portfolios are available all the time to all class participants for reading and commenting Online portfolios make all writing available to other student readers, informal writing as well as drafts of formal essays A class portfolio creates a sense of shared enterprise, allowing students to see many other approaches to a writing task When teachers comment online, their comments, like student comments, are available for all to read

15 Changes in our responding practices Sometimes taking our cues from the groups— responding as other students do Sometimes re-presenting (describing) what we see Sometimes modeling constructive analytical and evaluative responses Sometimes working with the writer, to add what we see (modeling ways to extend the work the writer has begun) Doing more and more of this in public

16 Changes in our assessment and grading practices Naming expectations in rubrics Developing those rubrics with students Posting rubrics as a reference point, to guide final, formal papers Inviting students to self-assess, using those rubrics

17 Examples Ellie’s response to 101 transcript (Jeremy): ew_assignment_detail.php?assignment_ id=3698#comment ew_assignment_detail.php?assignment_ id=3698#comment Transcript & analysis (Myles) w_assignment_detail.php?assignment_i d=3797#comment

18 Examples 2 Ellie’s descriptive response to a memoir, using Word comment function brics.htm Christian’s response to a memoir, using Word comment function brics.htm

19 Examples 3 Ellie’s response to 443 student analysis Naming what’s there (Rachel 5) assignment_id=3184#comment Adding observations (Will 10) assignment_id=3701#comment One comment among several (Melodie 11) assignment_id=3757#comment Adding to others’ comments (Valerie 11) assignment_id=3777#comment

20 Examples 4 Christian’s posted comments rics.htm

21 Examples 5--Assessment Sample rubrics 101 rubricshttp://www.freshman.umb.edu/Sa mpleRubrics.htm 443 project rubric ll05/engl443/assignments.htm

22 Further thoughts Having students comment on the comments they receive


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