How Essential are the Tangentials?

by Dr Davis on October 29, 2014

steampunk_icon_for_Safari_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d4zhax0In research, particularly when I either do not know what I should be looking for (because it is relatively new to me or I am taking a different approach) or when I do not want to be doing the research I know I should be doing, I am likely to follow rabbit trails. It’s not an ADD thing, though I have that, but it is a feature or bug of the way that I do research. When I do not follow rabbit trails, my research seems to me to be staid and boring, whether it is or not. I like rabbit trails; it offers me a chance to learn something unexpected.

In this project on cosplay and memory I found a reference to Susan B. Kaiser’s The Social Psychology of Clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context and put the book on my list of things to read. It’s a textbook, so very dense. It took me several days of reading, spread out over two weeks, to get through it.

I ended up with ten pages of notes, which, you will be happy to hear, I do not plan to reproduce on the blog.

Instead I will just put a few up and write what sparked my thinking in those quotations. Based on these notes (and a few others), this rabbit trail appears to have been very useful.

9Worlds 2014 steampunk moustachio-6232“Clothing and appearance symbols may be concrete or material objects, or they may be stored in memory as an image that evokes meaningful responses” (Kaiser 42).

Obviously this was included because it specifically references memory, which I am working with. Plus it is this idea of image evoking meaningful responses that is so important in cosplay. It’s no fun to play a character no one recognizes, so the image has to be relevant and memorable so that you can call up the associations in your audience.

“cultural messages are created through the process of representation. This process may involve selecting, presenting, structuring, and shaping elements of reality, by either reinforcing the status quo or creating new meanings (Hall, 1982, p. 64)” (Kaiser 51)
“cultural conventions may be applied in new ways or may be broken or bent” (Kaiser 51)

These specifically relate for my paper to cosplay mash-ups, where a cosplayer takes a character like Wonder Woman and makes her steampunk.

“clothes are more a factor in behavior displayed in specially defined contexts, as compared with routine or everyday contexts” (Kaiser 195)

This is significant as the cons where we cosplay are specially defined contexts and are not routine.

9Worlds 2014 Lady Elsie-6237“it is important to stress that the meaning of signs is not intrinsically linked to the signs themselves, but rather that signs acquire their meanings through process of interpretation” (Kaiser 219).

A yellow shirt and black pants are not inherently symbolic, but as a stealth costume, they evoke memories of Batman. Cosplaying itself is also a sign whose meaning is interpreted. Hall costume or masquerade? What kind of cosplay is the person doing? Is it relevant to the con or out of place?

“The concept of semanticity refers to the degree of associative “fit,” or the correlation or close connection between an appearance sign and its referent (Harrison, 1985). A code that is high in semanticity is likely to be linked to conventional attire and to clothes that function as signals. On the other hand, a “fuzzy” connection between signifier and signified, or a lack of specific rules for interpretation, is likely to promote the functioning of clothing as a symbol—arousing emotion and referring to values but not neatly pigeonholed” (Kaiser 228).

I think that cosplay fits in this fuzzy connection section. There is not a set dress (aside from the non-costume jeans and tee) and thus the connection has to be made by both the audience and the cosplayer through memory and connections in memory.

“…intrigued interpretation. Some appearances, due to their complexity, aesthetic appeal, novelty, incongruity with the social context or the person or unfamiliar nature, become very salient to perceivers. Such appearances may attract the perceiver’s attention, appeal to his or her sensibilities, excite or fascinate, interest or even tantalize, perplex or even confuse” (Kaiser 313).

This may be what the cosplayer is going for–intrigued interpretation.

9Worlds 2014 steampunk short skirt-6233“As Fine (1987) notes, creativity is rarely a problem in the development of a known culture. This is true because creativity reflects novel combinations of previously familiar elements and bits of information” (Kaiser 357).

However, it cannot be simply novel combinations. There must be the familiar elements as well. Familiar elements are found in memory and are sites of invention for both the cosplayer and the audience of the cosplay.

I took three different statements about uniforms (reveal and conceal status, confirm legitimacy, and suppress individuality) and wondered about them in terms of the ubiquitous jeans and tee shirts at cons. These jeans and tee shirts are not enough of a uniform to separate con-goers from others staying in the same hotel; costumes, however, clearly separate the groups.

Fashion encodes tensions between youth-age, masculine-feminine, and others (Kaiser 458). Does cosplay usurp those tensions or defuse them? How does costuming change the tensions?

“males have also participated in the symbolic struggle of gender ambivalence” (Kaiser 460)

I specifically referred in my notes to cross-dressing cosplay here. The first cosplayer I ever met was a young man cosplaying Sailor Moon, a Japanese anime magical girl.

There was a discussion in Kaiser’s book (462-67) about reactions to style. Two or three of these, I think may relate to con-goers: ego screaming (very different appearance through costuming), dandyism (elaborate historical costuming), and studied indifference (jeans and tee shirts).

DSC_4871“Ironically, stylistic reactions to mass culture—to the extent that there is one—often influence mainstream fashions and thus lose their original and ideological significance” (Kaiser 468).

I think this is particularly pertinent to steampunk, as elements have been in the mainstream of style for up to ten years. The opening credits to Doctor Who are now steampunk; I’m not sure that is mainstream, but the runways and the 5th Avenue Christmas windows have all had steampunk elements.

“Thus, any objects become fair game for appearance management in the act of bricolage [DIY fashion], and accessorizing becomes an art in itself. Hence, the strategic response of bricolage may reflect an individualistic means of personalizing what the fashion industry has to offer” (Kaiser 470).

Making (as in Maker Faire) and cosplaying have a lot in common. They are a conscious distancing from social norms and expectations, though in very different ways. Individualistic fashion through memory-invented character costumes seems to be very relevant.

ShD head steampunk blue“the interplay between individuality and conformity, or identification and differentiation, is an important aspect of participation in the fashion process” (Kaiser 488).

Cosplaying lets you be normal (through a character) and different (through a costume).

Ethnic clothes can “provide a sense of symbolic self-completion (Wicklund and Gollwitzer, 1983) to complete an aspect of one’s identity in which there may be some need for expression” (Kaiser 536).

This, I think, is particularly pertinent to adolescent cosplaying, where young people are working through identities. It may also be pertinent to adults who are attempting to co-opt a desired attribute of a favored character and cosplay as a means of practicing or performing that attribute.

“Cultural discourses are like conversations that involve working through ideas. Yet they operate both visually and verbally, involving a circulation of objects, ideas, images, and values that form a kind of underlying logic for the social meanings we assign to our identity, clothes, and communities” (Kaiser 549).

Steampunkers-2276Cosplaying would be a way of carrying on or out cultural discourse and the social meanings assigned would also be part of the cosplay. This is a dual role that memory is essential for. Interpretation depends on context and understanding.

“an appearance style that draws freely from available clothing items or media images in the marketplace” is part of identity work (Kaiser 576)

Cosplaying is a way of constructing a new/particular identity. Some folks only cosplay a single character, while others play new characters each day of a convention.

“Identity work is rarely straightforward. We are likely to experience a range of mixed emotions about what our appearances mean and why. Davis (1992, p. 24) notes that we often have ‘inner dialogues’ in our heads as we debate certain issues about how we want to present and represent ourselves” (Kaiser 578).

This is why a single costume can mean various things to the creator/wearer. It is also how it can mean multiple things to a single viewer. Where is the memory work involved here? Perhaps in identifying which parts of a costume or cosplay performance are related to what factors that we are exploring.

RMCF (Rhetorical Memory Cosplay Fandom)


Introducing TED to FYC

by Dr Davis on October 28, 2014

Today we started the Exploratory Essay, which is a pre-research project assignment, where students choose a topic that they are interested in and want to learn more about. They are required to find at least 3 sources, to write about what the sources say, and to reflect on how the information in those sources impacted their understanding of the subject. Did they learn something that conflicted with what they knew? What did they do with that? How did they decide whether to accept it or to reject it? How did they incorporate the new knowledge into their understanding of the world?

It’s a potentially revolutionary assignment as the students are tasked with watching themselves learn. Unfortunately it can also be very rote. Even the routine, though, offers opportunities for exponential growth.

I read this and learned this; it didn’t effect me because I think that is stupid.
I read this and learned this; it changed how I think about x because now I understand why someone would think y about x when I’ve always thought z.
I read this and learned this; now I think this instead.

When I told the students that they could use different types of texts, they were at a loss to understand what I meant. What could they use? They have been taught to use books and journals (though most at our university are online now); they are personally and intimately experienced with diving into the shallows of the internet. When I asked, none of them, not a single one, knew what TED talks were.

TED, I told them, is all about innovators–ideas worth spreading. The speakers are all the top, the forerunners of their fields, be that field physics or music or psychology. They are not, necessarily, skilled speakers, but have created or learned something exceptional. The original TED, I explained, has people paying $10,000 per seat, to sit in the room and listen to what will become free on the internet. (I have since found that this price is not accurate for 2014, being $2500 too high. I wonder where I heard it.) BUT, I told my students, just paying the cost is not sufficient to get a seat at TED. In addition to being willing and able to pay the high price, people who want to go to TED must also fill out an application, writing essays. Those essays determine who gets seats at TED.

My students were astounded to discover that essays might be necessary after college. They also couldn’t believe people would voluntarily write essays (six of them it turns out) in addition to paying thousands of dollars to sit in a room and listen to someone.

Because they had never heard of TED, I decided to share my favorite TED talk with them. It’s not about writing. It’s about creativity and art and poverty and beauty. It’s “How I Became 100 Artists” by Shea Hembrey.

Because I enjoyed once more watching Shea Hembrey, who “draws sticks real good,” when I came home this evening, I looked up fashion on TED and found not fashion but Objects of Desire, 12 different TED talks on things related to art.

One of the points of connection is the use of story in the presentations. Some are overtly about the stories of art and some are stories of other things impacting art.

I introduced TED talks to my composition course today and re-introduced them to myself as well.


SCMLA: Tech Questions 2

by Dr Davis on October 27, 2014

Where did you learn this stuff? Take courses?
Get the software and play with it.
OpenCourseWare—MIT, Columbia
LYNDA—database that teaches
YouTube—for information

Nuts and bolts: Where in the semester?
Write every day, 2.5% of total grade
Led to a major assignment that I had not planned.

Do you ask for attribution in the digital compositions?
Talk about it, but we don’t require.

Incoming college students? –what are they good at? What skills are they lacking? What do you try to break them of?
Most interested in bringing students into close reading and argumentative writing. Officially prerequisite.
Problems we see students want to go straight to theme or hunt and peck for symbols.
In writing skills, we are interested in seeing students who can justify arguments.

My biggest pet peeve is that they have turned writing into a formula that produces only one document. I teach it as a set of skills.

University of Kansas—research based this and that…

Mine are having trouble with… they can find a source but can’t synthesize it.

Writing as punishment, writing as school, writing as something I can’t do. How many of you wrote in the last week? How many of you read something not in school?

How integrate simple tech?
Rural NE Texas, no digital natives. Internet access doesn’t exist for many of them at home.

Have students working on Wikipedia and how it works and why it’s not an academic source. It’s very useful.
Write an article and try to make it stick. EC at end of semester if it still exists.


SCMLA: PowerPoint Movies

by Dr Davis on October 26, 2014

Thomas Reynolds
“Powerful Words and PowerPoint Movies: An Exercise in Multimodal Composition”

Assistant professor and Director of First-Year Writing at Northwestern State University in Louisiana

Thomas has presented nationally on technology and first-year composition.

60% of course is traditional requirements
40% can choose

We spend more time on the 40%, because it connects.
Learn by doing.
Read and write every day.
Begin class with video or article on social media. Related to class for the day.
Try to build community in classroom.
Let students bring media, email or FB.
Share icebreakers.
After our teaching time, will return to the media as a writing comp.
Not just an academic conversation. Can be part of the online discussion.

Football, Jan 22, 2014 game winning play, talking trash, making choking image, yelling and excited—Richard Sherman football player
Led to an insane amount of online chatter where he was labeled a thug.
Stanford graduate (3.9 GPA) Richard Sherman

Watched video of press conference

“Cultural Studies and the Composition Classroom” George, Lockridge and Trimbur
moving from critic, to microethnographer, to producer/composer
–not always easy, being forced to build things in a different way
They are trained already to write. Are comfortable trying to write
“know what the expectations are and know they aren’t going to meet them”
“New Media Principles and Attitudes” Collin Gifford Brooke
more than teaching to the text
function as a writer’s lab: encourage experimentation and innovation
operate on “internet time”—entering the “other” conversations
replace expertise with exploration and engagement: student-centered and peer-directed

40% of class, where they may have discovered something new that will keep them reading and writing

National Congress of American Indians released ad week before Superbowl
Series of images with names they give for themselves
They couldn’t afford the Superbowl prices.
Native Americans call themselves many things (mother, soldier, Creek). The one thing they don’t… Redskins.
Talked about which were more effective. Which were less effective.

What kinds of conversations are happening publicly about their ethnicity?

Better if make images so they cover the whole white space

How is a ppt presentation different from a ppt movie?
Because already have experience with ppt, easier.

“make a bad ppt” for tech writing

asked them to self-select into groups

had to publish it somewhere online. But vimeo was an option so they could password protect.
All knew would be screened in class.
Negotiated in class. Had to have some image and some sound.
Voice was significant to the ad.
Negotiated about assessment. Let them decide what they are going to be graded on.
Logical fallacies, ethos, pathos

…8 video examples… (from groups)
thug, animal abuse, poverty, Trayvon Maritin, Same sex marriage…
one of stipulations they agreed on was they had to be in their videos
what makes a thug? Gun violence, gangs, tattoos, stereotypes assumed by characteristics

plenty of things they did really well and others where they fell short
worked hard negotiating images and examples
give them a space to play, a space for their own voices and ideas

critique and assessment
Students discussed and decided on these as criteria. 50% of the grade was:
clarity of topic and stance = who saying what and why?
Importance of issue = answer So what? How is context provided?
Rhetorical appeals = how does it work? Where does it not work?
Design and style = does it meet genre expectations? Is it appealing?
Audience engagement = were you moved? Why or why not? They wanted grade based on this totally. They thought it was important enough.

Students get feedback within the screening.

Took me a week to get through the videos.
They were invested in what they had to say and defending their own work, but also to holding each other accountable.

How might they transition this video to an essay? What about an academic argument?
Develop examples. Pick other kinds of examples.
Teams and their roles
They talk about their learning.

Redeveloping for definition essay… Good way to write about words they feel labeled by and offended by and deconstruct those for the class.

Question: What if have no words they feel labeled by? Or they don’t want to deal with?
Way I am beginning project, words that are offensive, and potential of language to be empowering and disempowering
My hope is that they will all find a word. Don’t know what to do if I have a resistor.

Someone else –use term and look at connotation, denotation. Misfit words instead. Not necessarily offensive.
“sweet” or “cute”
sweet in black community also refers to gay people, broken wrist, etc
pull in connotation of plays, music, etc. Where do you see this word used.

Immigration, did you make presentations on this?
Service learning on immigration
Powerful visuals… Students found the visuals. Some were personal images.
One with guys showing off guns. They go to the shooting range, but people see that in Louisiana, they think thugs.


SCMLA: Good Tech

by Dr Davis on October 26, 2014

Amelia Emery
What Are We Doing? Hardware, Software, and Assignments: Implementing Technology Effectively

Amelia is in her tenth year at Abilene Christian University and manages all the theses in the university. She also teaches composition for the Department of Language and Literature.

ACU emphasizes tech in classroom.
Too much to list.
Some of the new things: all students have an iPad. Encouraged to use iPads in class.
New engineering building going up.
Incorporate tech into f2f semesters

Not super tech, but I like it and it’s shiny.
Intimidating to learn to use tech, particularly in front of other people.

Talk about 3 I use and a rundown of what other people use.
Ppt, Prezi, doc camera, OpenClass, zotero, dropbox, Google Drive –use all of these daily

Prezi students use for presentation, big culminating activity
More like a bulletin board than slides
My students are so much more visually oriented, so Prezi makes more sense to them.
You can search for your images while Prezi is open. That’s great.
Students like that if they have picture sideways, the camera moves.
Mixed reviews from students because know Ppt and want to use it. Others love it and want to do every different thing on Prezi.
First time I used Prezi in English class was 2nd time I used Prezi. Diaster. Couldn’t figure out how to advance.
Problem-solution of something on campus.

Easy to get carried away and do all cool stuff, takes away from message.
Too many words.
Good Prezi and good essay, but no coordination.

Google Drive:
Use it all the time.
Use it for just about everything except grades.
Kind of like mini-version of Office.
Can drop in ppt and MSWord docs in.
Easy to share.
That’s what I like.
Class discussion, I type in the notes, then share at end of class.
Make sure you turn off edit.
Don’t use Google Drive to write essays. Lags. Can’t format.

Calendar—very useful
Despite Type A personality, life is chaos.
This way I can give them a paper calendar and I change it online while we are still in class.
Making the homework a different color. Lightbulbs turn on.

Can see sign up sheet and see times. Had students signing up multiple times.

Multiple people can use the doc at the same time. Students can be commenting while showing in class.

Evaluation criteria for movie genres—I can watch them add their criteria and comment as they did it.

Research tool
Lets you add your research from wherever you are into your folder on the Zotero server. Syncs with computer or tablet.
Works best on Firefox.
Searching on library website and come across article you need, just add it to your file, it is in the URL field and it moves it to your Zotero files.

Everyone finds two articles and they write a note about
Assignment: put your name and summarize the article
Then group source.

List of what other people mentioned using:
Notability –she has a tablet and use stylus on their paper and save as PDF and send it back
JoinMe—class when you can’t be together


SCMLA: Close Reading Toolkit

by Dr Davis on October 25, 2014

Jennifer Sapio
Close Reading Interpretive Toolkit: Transforming how we teach close reading

Graduate student at University of Texas at Austin
Tasked to think about traditional large lecture format, try flipped classroom techniques

Close reading interpretive tool

text associated instructions
handout of crit steps

video, 1 minute, background
3D images
students rush to judgment—How does it connect to my life?
But we want the students to go through the process to examine the text in order to discover how a text creates its meanings.
How does a text create its meanings?

“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (1867) by Walt Whitman –steampunk?

1. Paraphrase
2. Observe –as many observations as possible. They don’t have to justify why they notice something.
Poem is single sentences
1st 4 sentences start with When
shift from quantity to quality (proofs, figures, charts ?mystical, time to time)
3. Contextualize –important, keeping history in mind illuminates
Whitman’s Transcendentalist beliefs
4. Analyze—return to observations, justify, which are most important? Which can string together?
Fourfold When helps convey the static quality of the data-stuffed lecture. Tedium, boring, …
Mood shift from quantity to quality
5. Argue—synthesize an interpretation, one argument built on the evidence gathered in previous steps
6. Reflect
Why is it important that the poem is a single eight-line sentence? And what are we to do with the fact that the astronomer received “much applause” from the audience? Do these facts support our interpretation or challenge it? …

Students at UT are able to access with Get started and electronic id.
Everyone else, adapt this process in paper copy. Did paper for two years until site up.
Database of short passages, searchable.
Students are able to keep the passage at the top of the screen on every step.
Can move between the different steps and able to review and submit.

Gave students a pre-test. No content or skills instruction.

Cold reading poem pre-test they had never seen before. Average was 4.59.
Cold reading poem at the end of the semester. Average was 7.02

STEM students felt this was “more accessible and more objective” because before “English seemed frustratingly abstract” Jason Escandell (TA F2012)

Why is contextualize after observe?
Been talking about it for 3 years.
Not tied to the language of the text. We could contextualize at the beginning. Or at the end to add contextual frame.

After observe and before analyze.

Give students opportunity to make observations without any justification.
By placing contextualize between, hoped it would emphasize the difference between observe and analyze.


SCMLA: Tech Questions

by Dr Davis on October 25, 2014

Self-graded quizzes for comp? for lit?
Large component of intro to lit is writing instruction.
Self-graded quizzes worse in lit.
Takes time to create answers.
Can program in feedback for quizzes. (go re-read p. 25 in book)
Then only need to revise after first semester.
Recommend them as pre-emptive quizzes before discussion.

Retaking tests?
Group tests. (Readiness Assessment Test)
Distance learning. Can you incorporate group tests?

Anna: We have to have 30% of my courses be strictly monitored individual. Have to be done independently.
If have access online, could set up wiki or discussion forum to discuss. Could discuss. If want to revise and explain, use a wiki. Discussion forum works in Google docs.

Where does it live? Do they have to sign up?
$15/year gets you a pro account and editing account
They have to have link to get in. Make it unsearchable. So it’s only their link. Link goes into my feedback in D2L.
There’s no grade on the video. Could make it so the name of the thing doesn’t necessarily have name of student.

Screencast-o-matic you can only save on your own site. Paying for pro account means you can save on their site.

Have students mark up their paper while they are listening to your screencast. They see your highlight but it isn’t changed for them.
Screencast, they don’t know how to put their page number and their name, you can show it. Teaches computer skills, too.

Revise and resubmit for papers is great.

Both of you are still using rubrics or do they still feel useful?
Steve: Gives ability for students to break it down on the revise and resubmit.
This goes with really detailed prompt.

Anna: Rubrics. Makes students feel more accepting.
Rubrics can be helpful before the paper is due.

Can also use an example paper with a rubric and let them help determine grades. Figuring it out. Understand the process.

Do you ever have problems with access?
Steve: one linked wrong. No server issues. As long as can play YouTube video, can play screencast. 2 of 20 something viewed on phones.

Where instructor announcements or news? Does this register for being present?

Anna and Laura both use News to maintain online presence.

Steve uses audio only for screencast.

D2L v Blackboard
D2L has host of issues, but is better. Currently less broken.
D2L has to be blue and I don’t like that, but…

Students perceive multimodal/screencast as more personal?
I do audio comments and they perceive them to be more personal as well.

“appreciate the time my instructor took”
Laura has streamlined, so it is now less time than traditional for her.

Steve: Most studies started with both typed comments.
Pretty sure that my traditional comments would have been much more

Turnitin now has audio.


SCMLA: Online Feedback

by Dr Davis on October 24, 2014

Laura Osborne
The Art of Feedback: Techniques for Effective Online Feedback in Writing Courses

Stephen F. Austin State University
Department of English & Office of Instructional Technology
She has over 16 years’ experience in the field of higher education.

Art of feedback in online writing courses

Do quizzes 2x. Make videos myself.

Adjunct for Dept of English—tech writing online
Full-time job –Center for Teaching and Learning
D2L school (used to be blackboard)

Online feedback = world of possibilities
Can cause greater harm and confusion BUT potential to do much greater, long-lasting good.

When you mark up a paper on paper, your middle of the road student looks at it and puts it away.
When leaving feedback online, you may be leaving it where their grades are. Negative is awful then (because see often) but good is wonderful.

Words right there for student over and over and over again
Be constructive
Open with something positive…. End with specifics.

Know exactly where your feedback shows up.
We use GradeMark with 3 steps. Know how students have to access and how difficult.
Consider realm of possibilities beyond text.
Voice comments, video comments.

Lead with the happy stuff.
Reframe your thinking
Stop thinking in terms of what the student got wrong—focus first on what they got right.
What are the strengths here?
Don’t ask what’s wrong but instead What can be improved?

Reframe the negative
“Looks like you are off to a reasonable start…”
“Headed in the right direction, but…”
You got the format exactly write. Times New Roman.

Love to infuse my personality in my online classes, but when giving feedback on students’ work, I try to steer away from expressing personal disappointment. Frame it to return to the directions.

Re-visioning the general
Online feedback can and should be better than pen/paper feedback
Online feedback permits you to beyond the 3-letter notations
Devise new ways of saying “huh? Or awk.

Exercise caution when using I in your feedback. Can work for you but can easily work against you.
I like the way you did x
I love your use of metaphor when discussing x
I agree with you on x

Value judgments –use with caution
Be careful with
Good, bad, great, terrible

Avoid the feedback sandwich b/c students may read the start and end and get a false impression
Bulleted lists (naming specific areas needing work)
Include references to course materials or links to websites
Remind students that you are here to help (email if you have questions, drop by during office hours)

IF limited time
–consider a tiered system of feedback that rewards timely work (sequence of feedback)
full comments for on-time/early
partial comments for later
no comments for final deadline

Consider and re-consider your words in light of the fact that any situation may end up in the hands of a Chair or Dean or may involve parents.

Quick tip:
Keep a file of commonly used comments on your computer’s desktop
Copy and paste as needed

I have a rotating set of end comments. Have learned to keep those in a running file.

Choices of feedback:
Direct feedback in a comments/reply box
Email—can be time consuming, but good with graduate seminar
Rubric—either built in or as Word file
Text comments on the paper (MSWord, Grademark, on paper—then save to PDF)—I don’t recommend this.
Voice comments
Screencast comments (video of screen with audio)
Combo of above

Grademark is easier for drag and drop comments….

Think about your objectives:
Seeking to clarify reason for grade OR will they be revising
Do you need to give line by line feedback or just general comments

Think about how often they will see it. Be brief if it will show up on their grades’ screen.

Think ahead about uni, dept, program assessment needs
Will you be asked to submit samples of student work?
Will those samples need to have comments and grades on them?
Or should those samples have No comments?

Further considerations
Cross-reference your feedback
Written at the end of a rubric ? Good work. For detailed comments, see the video feedback.
Spoken at the end of the video commentary?

Use News or Announcements (LMS different)
If many students are making the same mistakes, post feedback and advice in course announcements.
Increases visibility of feedback and saves time.

Automated feedback:
Remind students what to turn in, sets reasonable expectations for when to expect grades
Find out how release conditions and email rules work in your LMS.
(Thank you for turning in, did you remember your x on this?)

If you are going to give online, know how to delete and edit.
Know how immediately it shows to students.

Try student view in your LMS so that you can give them

Check whether they viewed the feedback.
Consider running a poll or survey.

Consider extra credit for first time they respond to
Or make it a requirement for revision


SCMLA: Screencasting Student Feedback

by Dr Davis on October 24, 2014

Steve Marsden
Screencasting Student Feedback in Literature

An associate professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he has been teaching for 8 years.
Steve has presented and published on gothic and American literature.

In literary analysis papers
Screencasting in an f2f class

Problems with written feedback in lit courses—my handwriting terrible and unimprovable. Also students don’t know read cursive. Typing = I spend more time on the writing than they do.

Previous research and then how my experiments came out.

Traditional feedback:
Traditionally encoded marginal comments (haven’t necessarily had a standard comp experience—You have to teach it.)
Rubric form (itemized by area, typical problems listed to be circled, scores for different elements of wirting)
Holistic end comments

Frequently not read (low student engagement)
Ambiguous/low context—commonly misunderstood
Little explanation of why—no room (maybe no time)
Hard to address complex style or logic = awk

Using elliptical encoded text to address student problems in reading and writing
Often devolves to editing—students just do accept

Problems for literary analysis:
Students often lack basic skills course does not address, even though in 200-level course. Try to fix the problems somehow, so I am not contributing.
Student problems are often higher order (interpretive, logical, conceptual).
We assume they can write, so we do not encourage extensive revision, do not include conferences. Often the writing is due late.

Previous studies
Thaiss and Zawacki—s
Vinclette Moore & Filling, Brick & Holmes= multimodal feedback for written communication is valuable
Students prefer screencast

Rough and ready study:
22 students, 2 sections f2f summer
16 female, 6 male, between 18 and 37 (mostly juniors and seniors)
60% comp credit at SFA, 23% at HS (most problematic), 18% at comm college
Students reported mostly marginal feedback in previous courses.
Initial attitudes toward revision were pretty sketchy; they were unconvinced.
May noted coferences.

Study design
2 literary-analytic papers, available for a 20-point increase in revision
half randomly selected for screencast first time
controlled for assignment and priority (found weird effect with priority)

all surveys online via Qualtrics
initial survey for demographic data, previous exp w revision
online survey required after each revision
final survey about attitudeas and preferences
rubrics marking improvements on revision packets (a revision memo explaining changes, old draft, new draft)
I gave no written feedback, but they had to go back and mark what I was talking about.
Eyeballed the rubrics and decided how much they improved

Traditional feedback (see above)
Said you can come in for conferencing. Those people did well, who came to conferences.

Screencast feedback
Papers read once, problem areas highlighted
Don’t write feedback.
THEN scroll through highlighted text in Word on screen, explaining. Get pretty discursive, informal. Will stop and read or stop and ask questions. There’s nothing I see I don’t mark.
Maximum 15 minutes of audio/visual (Screencast-o-matic)—6-7 minutes most of the time
No marginal or end comments
Rubric filled out, handed back separately with paper copy of paper (which means after screencast for most) —Only heard coaching comments, until they get the paper copy—which does say what they did wrong.

100% of students preferred screencast
79% more clear or less ambiguous
79% more detailed
68% more friendly-seeming
37% said more instructor work so seemed more committed

73% traditional feedback read completely (if did revision)
100% of screencast viewed completely
videos on screencast-o-matic were viewed an average of 2.5x
16 viewed the video more than once—max 8x

Process notes:
Careful screencasting feedback (view, highlight, record, fill out rubric, upload, post link to feedback area of D2L) took only slightly longer than written feedback … about 1.5x longer

Required a quiet place and time set aside.
Need a microphone that won’t catch ambient noise.
Couldn’t grade in hallway, between classes. Had to grade at a computer.

Required control of voice.

Student feedback:
Sometimes said uh when he wants to say something and then doesn’t say it. (rage management)
Screencasting helped me understand each issue I had better than just written comments

During the question session, Steve and Laura both mentioned that students responded well to screen casting, preferring it and seeing it as a way that the teachers showed they were involved with and committed to the class.


SCMLA: Online and Hybrid Retention

by Dr Davis on October 23, 2014

Anna Hall
Distance Ed and Drop Rates: Maintaining Enrollment in Online and Hybrid Classes

Anna is an English Instructor for the Department of Humanities at Blinn College.

Online = lower retention, drop often, grades of those who continue is similar to f2f

Current trend toward holding professors responsible, as faculty assessment.

“develop an online community” is advice, but doesn’t say how to do this
concrete strategies for increasing retention
first to teach hybrid English classes at Blinn

personal strategies, not foolproof
influence retention

2 core approaches = help students keep grades up and make students emotionally attached

How can I increase student retention and still have time to sleep?

Grades up:
May seem too obvious, good grades = students more likely to continue

Students often think online will be easier. Often freshmen, first semester. Don’t understand the difference between college and high school and then are in online classes.
Students need opportunities to make better choices next week.
One of best ways = increase number of formative assessments
Takes lots of time.
Student participation decreased if only did completion grades.

All assignments I think are useful but not imperative—help them master material. I label as extra credit. Fully embedded.
Topic proposal. Used to hate them. Even though people needed them. But would read 100 proposals and 30+ were awful, not thoughtful. But would still feel waste of tiem to respond.
NOW they are all thoughtful, because done by students who want them.
A&B students write first one. C and D students write for the second one (or subsequent ones).

More quizzes and more difficult quizzes, but allow students to take them twice.
Only write self-grading quiz questions.
Possibility of immediate feedback.
Any opportunity for quick turn around is welcome.
Decided to let them take the quizzes a bunch of times. Discovered 3x was too many. Quiz grades dropped. Students believed they would eventually be able to guess correctly.
All students may take quizzes 2x.
Most of the time 2x allows them to improve.
The CMS/LMS randomizes questions.
Even if students do quiz 1x and then go read, they get benefits.

Creates a more accessible class. Learning disabilities find it helps them more than time.
Also helps students with text anxiety.
Saves me time because I have to do less technical support.
Re-takes allow for rigor because I am able to make them harder without students feeling I am tricking them.

Higher grades are not enough to get retention.

“disembodied professor”

“maintain an online presence” suggestion = post frequently
but my students engage more when I don’t

one on one f2f with students early in semester
can do online interviews if needed
online conferences can help people understand how important in world, because common for business
usually do with return of first essay

digital nativism is not necessarily indicative of digital literacy

stronger connection between professor and student = more likely to retain students

only met with online freshmen comp classes (not enough time to do more)
most likely to drop because least likely to understand what they were getting into (both college and online)

also do videos of myself for lectures, etc
record myself including gestures…

when first started, did no videos
students ignored online instructions
exit survey = lack of connection to anybody biggest problem

first videos were awful, I read from the PPTs which were awful and text heavy.
3rd semester I changed a lot. I am far more lively in f2f.
made videos like I teach in f2f
students were watching videos and responding to them

most students, if I can convince them to start, will continue to watch the videos

exit survey = most often “actually”
actually interesting, actually useful

in hybrid classes, if I show a piece of my videos early in class, students are more likely to watch the videos throughout the class

1. only enough ppt words
2. 20 minutes most
3. don’t edit out problems
4. make video just for them, don’t keep them for more than a year
5. be happy—we enjoy talking about this stuff and our students should see this