Due to illness, I canceled the 9.12 sessions of English 111 College Rhetoric (#111cr) and English 252 Advanced Composition (#252ac). My third course, a team-taught Gen Ed offering on media literacy, continued without me thanks to the other instructor and our two student-peer facilitators. Sick as I was, I had some reservations about canceling class, but I ended up going ahead with it because I didn't want to risk infecting students. In a way, I guess I'd rather we all be behind together, which is most certainly what we are.
While the 9.14 sessions of #111cr and #252ac were both illuminating and productive in their own ways, the list of things to do is longer than I'd like. Because we weren't able to air grievances and pose questions about course materials, Posterous, Twitter, and other aspects until 9.14, we remain in a kind of suspended animation. Watching the Twitter feed for each class, I can see students starting to grasp how to handle what I'm asking of them. This is great, of course, but I'm also frustrated as I should have been seeing this earlier in the week. However, there is no guarantee I would have seen it earlier in the week if I hadn't canceled the 9.12 sessions. If I hadn't canceled classes when I did, my illness may very well have forced the cancellation of the 9.14 sessions instead.
When on a twice-a-week course schedule, canceling a session halves what might be accomplished. Still, I think the 9.14 sessions were good ones. I fielded queries about course materials, managed quick, helpful demonstrations of specific features of Posterous and Twitter*, and even introduced #252ac students to Media Representations of Writing. While I detect some reservations on the part of some students regarding course particulars, I'm optimistic. Both #111cr and #252ac appear full of bright, inquisitive minds willing to entertain my crazy ideas about blogging and tweeting in lieu of 4-5 more traditional pieces of written work.
As I pick up reflective writing about courses again, I want to continue concluding with student voices. In the weeks ahead, I'll be sharing snippets of blog entries and the like, but I want to offer here summary lists of their expectations for the next 14 weeks.
Students want to learn how to write research papers, how to better organize their writing, and develop better reading skills. They want to write in-depth and figure out different and better styles of writing. They want to develop a greater vocabulary, acquire different perspectives, and get a grasp of proper grammar. They want to know how to cite sources, how to take good notes, and how to land good research. They want to craft solid thesis statements and smooth transitions and edit, edit, edit. They want to practice their speaking skills, engage in discussion, and have fun. They want to be better all-around writers.
Students want to learn the value of online communication and hone their skills in learning what to do and what not to do in writing. They want to develop better speaking skills in formal and informal settings and be presented with constructive challenges. They want to develop more confidence and motivation when it comes to writing, find gainful employment through their writing, and expand their vocabulary. They want to pass the class and/or earn an "A." They want to tweet, engage in professional writing, and figure out how to better construct stories. They want to find cures for writer's block. They want to learn a lot.
In all of these expectations, I couldn't be happier to help.
*Thanks to all those who helped out tweeting hi and where they were from!