New Media and Teaching Online

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New Media and Teaching Online by Mind Map: New Media and Teaching Online

1. Grading

2. New Media

2.1. As the GCP begins its chapter pointing out, the term "new media" is contentious and alternate terms have been suggested (like "digital pedagogy" and "hybrid pedagogy."). However, Brooke claims that the phrase "new media" emphasizes the "long history of multiple modalities" that are now "intersecting with recent development in technology [and] shifts in audience, institutions and context" (179).

2.1.1. Werner's report definitely confirms this debate on the very definition of "new media." She ends up concluding that "new media" has no clear, agreed-upon definition, which has positive and negative effects on composition scholars and instructors. In some ways, the lack of a clear definition of "new media" makes me feel like I can't get a firm grasp on what a class involving "new media" would look like. However, I think this also makes a "new media" pedagogy seem even more similar to other, more established pedagogies like WAW or critical pedagogy in which there is no one clear WAY to teach it - just a certain mindset that frames teacher's choices. Do you all find this lack of a clear definition more troubling or empowering for teachers considering using a new media approach?

2.2. Possible Benefits

2.2.1. GCP states that by teaching our students to consider "what new media do apart from the end products themselves," students can pay more attention to "the practices and skills those products were originally meant to develop" (180). I LOVED the idea of using a Prezi to organize an annotated bibliography and map out connections. What are some brainstorming techniques or resources we could use as teachers to come up with assignments that take advantage of digital media to emphasize process?

2.2.2. According to Fraiberg, "code mashing," or the complex blending of multimodal and multilingual texts and literacy practices in our teaching and research"...can “increase the bandwidth of semiotic resources for communication in order to make available all means of persuasion" (102). I'll admit that some of his article was a bit too theoretical for me to clearly follow, but I appreciated this point. To me, it seems like multimodal and multilingual writing is just giving students more tools to use in each case of rhetorical situation.

2.2.3. I really appreciated the Actant-Network theory mentioned by Fraiberg in which people and tools both affect one another. How could this help students more deeply consider the effect writing can have on its readers and how readers play a role in interpreting and shaping meaning?

2.2.4. Werner states: “Teaching new media makes the field relevant to students who will seek careers where critical thinking meets social media and beyond. If curricula fail to meet students’ needs, the field will suffer, and our students may miss out on valuable opportunities to implement the necessary writing skills for a technology-saturated workforce.” I can't agree enough with this. If our goal with teaching is to help students succeed in the real world, it seems impossible to ignore a very large digital part of the real world. But how do we align this goal with institutional requirements, especially if departments aren't encouraging the implementation of new media in FYC classes?

2.2.5. I found Shipka's approach to the WAW pedagogy very refreshing in that the writings were "shaken up" to some extent by including pieces about multimodal, multilingual, etc. communication. In addition, I feel like giving articles that talk about the history of FYC is not only helpful for students but also for teachers who can then consider how their own class fits into that historical context.

2.3. Possible Negatives/Challenges

2.3.1. GCP also points out that students' slower approach of writing in composition classes could not give them the skills they need to write and react quickly online. How important is it to teach students about trending topics and curating information quickly, etc? Do we need to teach this at all if these are skills students are already being exposed to regularly online?

2.3.2. GCP: issues with lack of access to needed technology (in and out of the classroom), accessibility, etc.

2.3.2.1. GCP: points out that grading often relies on reflection by the students versus just grading the new media product that has been created.

2.3.3. Anderson's report uncovered many challenges, including the fact that most teachers using new media in their classrooms were self taught and there are few developmental opportunities or academic/professional benefits to learning new technologies. This reminds me of a reading from our Rhetoric and Argumentation week that stated teachers will never be able to fully teach and engage in critique and rhetoric until they have job security and better working conditions. Do entire department or college infrastructures need to change in order for new media to be effectively implemented into more FYC classrooms? Are the benefits worth the challenges and time this would take?

2.3.4. Anderson's report also found that many teachers felt that there was a lack of appropriate materials for teaching new media, especially materials about other projects than just visual analysis or creation.

2.3.4.1. For me, this is a big problem and one of the biggest questions I had while reading Shipka's chapter in FYC. She mentions that a lot of the multimodal projects are very challenging for students and many don't know where to start. She helps them overcome this challenge by giving them samples of what previous students have done. If there are limited textbooks on new media available for teachers and this is the first time they're using a multimodal project in their class, what resources can teachers use to help students along? In other words, how does one START teaching using new media when there is limited accessible groundwork to build on?

2.3.5. Fraiburg suggests "incorporating our students multilingualism into the classroom" and "(re)locating them as experts in their own language with knowledge and experience that they can share and contribute to the class." How can we provide students opportunities for offering insight based on their culture without othering them or making them feel forced to speak for and represent their culture?

2.4. GCP discusses how teachers often rely on students reflecting upon the creative process and their choices to achieve certain goals to grade new media projects (187).

2.4.1. Shipka also has her students write a mini reflection about the choices they made for their project, etc. She has this reflection worth half the points of the whole project. Keeping in mind that we must teach what we look for when assessing, what activities can we use to teach this kind of metacognition? Shipka seems to model this reflection constantly in class, which would be one very helpful approach. Any ideas on other assignments or framing techniques to help?

2.5. Blurred Boundaries

2.5.1. Werner mentions how new media is discussed in two spheres: the academic/disciplinary world and contemporary society.

2.5.1.1. This relates to Fraiberg's call for attention to "convergence culture" in which global perspectives collide in a local context, and his point about the importance of examining larger cultural and historical influences on texts as well as the more everyday usage of multimodal and multilingual communication.

2.5.2. How can we make time in our courses to cover all of this material? Can new media be implemented into a more "traditional" assignment that brings more of the public sphere into the classroom while also meeting school requirements? Should we create our own kind of "hybrid" course that features more traditional, print-focused assignments as well as new media inspired ones? What is the right balance?

3. Teaching Online

3.1. GCP notes that any pedagogy or essay genre can be used to teach an online writing class. However, would certain pedagogies be less successful than others? For example, I imagine it would be challenging to have deep, vulnerable and challenging conversations about race, gender, discrimination, etc. in a course taught with a critical or feminist pedagogy? On the same note, could teaching with a community-engaged perspective help make up for the lack of physical contact between actual students and the teacher in the class?

3.2. GCP also points out that online courses are much more work-intensive for teachers and for students. How can we make this workload more clear for students so that online classes aren't seen as an "easier" option and students have a better idea of what they're getting into? On a realistic/practical level, what strategies can teachers use to handle the workload while perhaps also lacking some of the motivation that comes from talking to students face-to-face and helping them in person?

3.3. My biggest takeaway from this chapter of GCP was that online courses take WAAAAY more thought than I ever imagined, from the synchronicity of the class meetings to the medium of students' responses. Personally, I really enjoy how as grad students, we've been given more flexibility in our medium of response in terms of these weekly discussion posts. But would undergrad students benefit from this kind of freedom or would more structure be needed since an online course might already seem overwhelming enough with how much self-discipline they need to apply?