Week 5 Reflections

In offering one course with substantial revisions and two new courses, I began the semester with some expectations of a blunder or three. I anticipated all kinds of potential problems, that perhaps some ENG 252 or ENG 298 students wouldn't buy the course approach, that maybe half the ENG 513 class would grow prematurely tired of the course focus (which could still happen). I was also concerned about student-led class sessions in 252 and that some of my reading selections for 298 were questionable. How fitting, then, that both concerns were manifest in Week 5.

In 252, we are to that point in the semester in which, each week, a student group is conducting a Thursday session, complete with assigned readings and discussion questions. This past week marked the first and it had some modicum of success. For instance, I learned how few of my advanced composition students learned anything at all about audience prior to that particular discussion. The readings and subsequent discussion were enlightening in that respect, but not much else happened. As I had no real expectations beforehand (and provided little prior guidance to the group), I can't level much criticism. The second group, though, has plans to utilize class time to a fuller extent, and I will be sure to include some pointers in the next course syllabus.

An amendment to ENG 298, though, will involve a different organization and overall selection of assigned readings as some students were confused about them this week. However, I also find an increasing disparity between those who have a wealth of experience with videogames and those who do not. I hear it in the whole-class discussions, and I worry that inviting both kinds of students was a mistake, that I'm doing all a disservice. My initial thought about having particular videogame experience requirements was that to do so would be a bad idea, that it would be an unfair parameter for this course, in particular for one I was trying to get off the ground. Now, though, I wonder if future students might be better served by a course that is less an introductory survey and more of a specific orientation to writing about videogames. Granted, this was part of my future plans from the beginning but I think there might be some additional requirements for taking the course.

However, ENG 513 remains a thoroughly fulfilling endeavor. The first student facilitation, in which we discussed LinkedIn and online professionalism, went very well, and it is with great interest that I look forward to the second next week.