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D-WRD notes: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Session 1

Sarah Read let an introductory session on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), beginning with a group viewing of a webcast from Michigan State’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures on “What does it mean to have a writing MOOC?”

* Webcast link:
* D-WRD background notes:

We had a spirited and engaged discussion on the political economy of MOOCs, the potential impact on academic labor practices, the role of teachers in “crowdsourced” peer-review environments, and pedagogy. Sarah will lead another discussion and group viewing of the next scheduled webcast, on “MOOCs as writing research platforms? What can we learn about learning?” — Friday, March 1st 10:00-11:30 a.m. in 143 McGaw Hall.

The next MOOC session will focus more on pedagogical implications.

Some follow-up links from today:

* How employers access student data:
* MOOCs and college credit:

The timing is interesting, given that some colleges are simultaneously questioning AP Credit:

* Dartmouth’s Class of 2018:
* UC faculty, students question AP credit (Go Bears!):


* Friday, February 15th: Assignment and project workshop
— Bring one to share and to workshop

The assignment workshop is a D-WRD specialty, where we workshop each other’s assignments, which can be at any stage of implementation: an assignment idea that needs structure so that it can be put into writing; an assignment draft that needs feedback and revising; an existing assignment that needs rethinking and revising.

For example, I currently have a couple of half-baked ideas for a WRD103 project that tries to contextualize hybrid reading practices — a print/digital literacy project, let’s say — in which I’ll first present some research to students on reading in print vs. reading on a screen, from cognitive psych, comprehension, education, and some history. We’ll read some things in print, some on a screen, and on a variety of mobile devices, and then I’ll ask them to take a position, to advocate, for a particular kind of contextual reading practice. But for the most part, these ideas live only in my head. Until February 15th, anyway.

Past workshopped assignments include multimodal-composing assignments, literacy narratives, photo essays, mid-term and final portfolio assignments — taking the program’s existing portfolio assignment, for example, and adjusting and revising it for your own classroom practice, pedagogy, emphasis, and comfort level — and integrating the St. Martin’s Handbook at various stages of your course calendar.


* Student Portfolio Roundtable
* Reading and Discussion: “Politics and Perils of Portfolio Grading”
* Technology & Literacy Professional Development: “Technological Ecologies and Sustainability”

Thanks for reading!