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4-15 meeting notes

Notes from Friday’s D-WRD Meeting:

Update on Jeff Yan’s visit (developer of Digication):

  • A new text editor is being tested in beta form right now and should be available to us by the end of the SQ. For those of you who attended Kathy Yancey’s talk on reflection last fall and who liked the iterative drafts with a column for annotations and reflections, this feature will allow that. Here’s one example: Many instructors at Yancey’s talk liked the idea of asking students to bold new and/or edited text in subsequent drafts so that readers could follow their processes more easily.

This whole process is still doable within MSWord for instructors who prefer to have files attached within Digication — adding columns, annotating, bolding, reflecting — but for instructors who like to keep digital iterations, the new text editor will be helpful.

  • Shareable modules: Digication is working on a new feature, possibly available in the AQ, where you can share modules and pages between and among Digication sites. For example, let’s say you want to share the FYW Digital Portfolio assignment — — with students in your WRD103 course without having to copy & paste — and usually having to reformat — that material. In the future, you can just embed that shareable module from one Digication site to another.
  • A group of WRD folks — Joyce, Tricia, Justin, Zac — met with Jeff to to talk about their experiences with Digication and to ask questions. Very productive, I thought. We talked about practical matters such as formatting, the problem of blurry images when embedding screen-captured text, and Jeff’s views on digital pedagogies and studio-based practices, including critiques and student feedback.
  • The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is adopting Digication, which is interesting. We had some DWRD conversations about SAIC’s portfolio culture last year: potential students bring them when they apply, and graduating students submit them when they graduate.

Student projects on Digication: the perceived problem of students being able to access other DePaul students’ projects and thereby steal and plagiarize them came up:

  • You can request that students choose the “Private to me” setting when they create course projects and portfolios and adding you as a viewer under “Custom Permissions.” (After your course, however, students can edit their settings however they want.)
  • Students and viewers, depending on how a writer has set her permissions, canimage title “tag” portfolios by keywords, and Digication allows searching by keywords. For example, in the FYW Digication  site where I created the reflective annotations example, above, I added the tag “annotate.” You can now go to the main Digication site — — and under the “by tag” tab, you can search for “annotate.” Our FYW site will appear.

Try the same with the tag “facebook” and “banner” and you will see similarly tagged sites. I think it won’t take long for students to realize that they can tag their own and other students’ portfolios.

On the one hand, this is a contemporary example of 21st-century social media and technology employed in educational settings, one that allows for sharing, access, collaboration, and community.

On the other hand, many instructors will see this as increasing opportunities for students to find materials to plagiarize.

Maybe we could and should have a DWRD session just on this topic? I recently participated in a TLA workshop with representatives from the General Counsel’s Office and the Academic Integrity Board (AIB): One of the things we learned from the AIB is that the overwhelming majority of cases brought before it were ultimately traced to students’ lack of time-management skills. Thus, I think FYW and D-WRD might have some productive contributions to make, especially in how assignments are constructed and structured, and the concerns generated by new technologies such as digital portfolios can provide generative context for such contributions.

Upcoming D-WRD meetings:

  • Friday, May 6th: 10:00 a.m.-noon: Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing — new, from NCTE, the Council of Writing Program Administrators, and the National Writing Project. The document contains at least two areas of interest for us — first, the “eight habits of mind essential for success in college writing” will be useful both in terms of thinking about FYW Learning Outcomes and, secondly, there are several references to technology and “multimodal texts.”
  • Friday, May 20th: 10:00 a.m.-noon: Using LMS features in Digication, led by Scott Johnson.

Any other ideas or requests for D-WRD meeting agendas?