Week 6 Reflections

In my previous reflections post, I noted some concerns about my undergraduate courses, that ENG 252 student reading groups might utilize class time better, that there's a visible gap in ENG 298 between the haves and the have-nots in terms of knowledge and experience. Of course, the latter issue carries a heavier weight, if only because I should have anticipated this in offering a survey-type course in writing about videogames. I see now that incorporating student reading groups in 298 might help close the gap, and there also might be less confusion about reading selections. Instead of the syllabus just declaring what's worth students' attention (culture/history, art, New Games Journalism, genre, sex, violence, racism, etc.), perhaps it should have been more of a series of suggestions for students to consider. One look at the 252 syllabus reveals how it is closer to this idea without going wholesale.

My graduate course, ENG 513, has evidence of this as well, although there is some confusion and/or disappointment regarding that course's focus (or lack thereof). An apparent expectation for some students was a greater focus on composition pedagogy and theory, that the course would not only get us thinking about identity construction online but also about "how the Internet has changed the way we write, including writing processes, and new ways of thinking about audience...What assumptions do we need to reconsider in light of the way we see texts produced online?" This could, of course, reveal simple miscommunication or mutual misunderstanding about particular aspects of my approach to guiding ENG 513. It could also be evidence of a course design problem, that I've provided too little/much opportunity for students to chart their own unique trajectories, that I've neglected important areas of emphases, that I didn't prepare or think enough about the course itself. Right now, I'm unsure of the reason (or reasons). Could it be that the course itself is too broad, too general?

Such broadness and generality is an apparent strength in ENG 252, though, as most students are enthusiastic in exploring and discussing various and sundry kinds of everyday writing. Perhaps such diversity just doesn't (or shouldn't) work as well when writing about video games or learning about identity construction online. I am quicker to provide context in 252, though, so perhaps that's the root of the issue in 513, or even in 298. Then again, maybe I'm nowhere near the heart of these concerns. Amidst regular work for all courses, these are the kinds of thoughts taking up residence in my mind. As always, I welcome comments and feedback.