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Session notes from Friday, 1/18/19

Submitted by Sarah Brown:

Last Friday, D-WRD joined forces with the WRD 202 Reading Group to discuss two articles:

  • “Contingent Faculty, Online Writing Instruction, and Professional Development in Technical and Professional Communication” by Lisa Meloncon
  • “Just a Tool: Instructors’ Attitudes and Use of Course Management Systems for Online Writing Instruction” by Lauren Salisbury

Alan Ackmann, Sarah Brown, John Buckvold, Tricia Hermes, Victoria Hohenzy, Heather McShane, Margaret Poncin, Gabrielle Rose Simons, Bridget Wagner, and Andrea Yelin gathered to consider points of resonance and dissonance with these two pieces. A few highlights:

  • Online Writing Instruction Scholarship – Alan noted a fair amount of digging necessary to find the Meloncon piece, so perhaps this is one of those “field gaps” to be aware of (*cough* conference presentation fodder *cough*).
  • Tool Fatigue – DePaul has had several platform changes in the past couple of years (New Digication, video conferencing tools, D2L Updates). If you ever want a D2L refresher, Alan has a fantastic course available on
  • Does D2L/Digication reflect your f2f classroom? Several faculty agreed with the Salisbury’s survey findings, that there seems to be a disconnect with the way course content looks/feels in a content management system (CMS), versus what that content looks/feels like in the classroom. Discussions, in particular, seem to diverge pretty sharply between the two spaces. The purpose of the CMS space also varies pretty widely depending on course modality: in a f2f course, D2L may be supplementary, while in an online course, D2L isn’t a “tool for teaching” – it is the teaching.
  • What is the “right” amount of course master? We discussed the benefits (not starting from scratch; having helpful guideposts; etc.) of starting to build an online course from a template or master course, as well as the drawbacks (feeling a loss of autonomy).
  • DePaul’s Support – Many of us find that DePaul provides a higher level of support for online teaching or teaching with technology than is typical for our colleagues at other institutions.

Up next: strategies for annotating digital texts/spaces on Friday, February 15 at 11:00am in SAC 300.

Tricia, Bridget and Sarah