Welcome, Again, to Elliott RWI!

In my first post to this webspace, I noted a desire for this website to do a number of things: host research projects, connect to writing samples, offer course materials, and maintain a professional portfolio. It is doing that, but I thought I might make it a bit easier to navigate. (There is a navigation menu at the top of the page, but not everyone seems to find it amenable to use.) So, if you are looking for

  • Most recent posts, scroll down
  • Background information on the website, click here
  • Research projects, click here
    • My abstracts, click here
    • The Fedwren Project, click here
  • Writing projects, click here
    • The Pronghorn Project, click here
    • Points of Departure, click here
  • Instructional materials, click here
    • DeVry University materials, click here
    • Previous institutions’ materials, click here
      • Schreiner University materials, click here
      • Northern Oklahoma College, click here
        • Composition II, click here
      • Oklahoma State University, click here
        • Composition II, click here
        • Composition I, click here
        • Summer Bridge 2015, click here
    • Sample courses, click here
    • Sample assignment responses, click here
  • Biographical/CV/Resume information, click here

I am sure some updates will occur as matters progress. What appears above should make things easier to handle in the meantime, however.

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Updated 31 May 2017 to reflect current status.

Class Report: ENGL 062.12192, 24 June 2017

For the final meeting of the session, class was given over to completion of the Reflective and Planning Postscript–which serves the course as an analog of a final exam. Some individual consultation was conducted while the exercise was in progress.

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus. The class roster listed seven students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, five attended, verified informally. Student participation was as expected. No students attended office hours.

Initial Comments for the July 2017 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

I seem to be a bit further ahead this time.

The year seems to have come full-round, and I am once again looking at teaching at DeVry University during the July session of the year. This time, I have two classes once again:

  • ENGL 135: Advanced Composition
  • ENGL 147N: Advanced English Composition

The former is a class I have taught before. The latter is a similar class oriented specifically towards nursing students. Both will be new, however, as the school is transitioning to a new learning management system, so we will all be feeling our way forward.

The transition to the new learning management system does have the effect of placing more of the materials I would post to this space on the school’s system. As such, I’ll not be putting as much about my DeVry teaching here, although I’ll still post my usual course logs–and perhaps some other materials, as well.

Check back often for more information!

Class Report: ENGL 135.12184, 20 June 2017

For the final meeting of the session, class was given over to completion of the Course Project Reflective Postscript–which serves the course as an analog of a final exam. Some individual consultation was conducted while the exercise was in progress.

Class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 107 of the San Antonio Metro campus. The class roster listed 10 students, a decline of one since the last meeting; five attended, verified informally. Student participation was as expected. No students attended the most recent previous office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 062.12192, 17 June 2017

After addressing questions from the previous class meeting and online, discussion turned towards concerns of essay-writing, as well as other questions about writing in general. Class concluded by offering supervised in-class completion time on coursework and unsupervised time to complete student surveys of instruction.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates, following the initial comments on the session:

  • Essay 2 Final, online before 0059 on 19 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Reading Textbooks, online before 0059 on 19 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Next Reading (V), online before 0059 on 19 June 2017
  • Week 7 Discussions, online before 0059 on 19 June 2017

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus. The class roster listed seven students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, five attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student attended office hours.

Reflective Comments about the Second Year

It has been two years since the first post to this webspace went up, two years that I have been working on Elliott RWI. As I write this, I have made 475 posts to the blogroll (this will be post 476), and I have posted many individual pages, collecting 15637 views from 4398 visitors. In the last year, therefore, I have made 311 posts and collected 3043 views from 1315 visitors (based on “Reflective Comments about the First Year“).

My employment situation continues to be odd. While I still teach, I do much less of it in the classroom now than I have done, and I am working mostly outside academia for reasons I have discussed previously. I do still remain engaged in some scholarship, though, having recently sent off an article for review and pressing on, albeit only haltingly and with difficulty, with the Tales after Tolkien Society.

I have also tried my hand at creative writing, notably in the Points of Departure and Pronghorn Project lines. They seem to have been decently received, but my employment situation has kept me from doing more with them for a while. Whether I’ll return to them or go on to other subjects entirely, I am not sure. Still, the experience has been good; I am glad to have had it.

Donations remain welcome and may be made here.

Class Report: ENGL 135.12184, 13 June 2017

After treating questions from the last class meeting and earlier in the semester, discussion returned to concerns of revision, addressing specific concerns noted on the most recent submission, before moving toward assignments.

Students are reminded of some upcoming assignments, noted in an earlier post:

  • Course Project Final Draft, online before 0059 on 19 June 2017
  • Week 7 Discussions, online before 0059 on 19 June 2017

Class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 107 of the San Antonio Metro campus. The class roster listed 11 students, a decline of two since the last meeting; five attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended the most recent previous office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 062.12192, 10 June 2017

After addressing questions from the previous class meeting and online, discussion turned towards concerns of inference, organization, and essay-writing, as well as other questions about writing in general. Class concluded by offering in-class completion time on coursework.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates, following the initial comments on the session:

  • Essay 2 Draft, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Inferences, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Patterns of Organization, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Next Reading (IV), online before 0059 on 12 June 2017
  • Week 6 Discussions, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus. The class roster listed seven students enrolled, a decline of one since the last class meeting. Of them, only four attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 135.12184, 6 June 2017

After the interruption occasioned by weather last time class was scheduled, discussion treated questions from earlier in the semester. It then moved toward concerns of revision, engaging the class in a practice round thereof, before moving toward assignments.

Students are reminded of some upcoming assignments, noted in an earlier post:

  • Course Project Second Draft, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017
  • Week 6 Discussions, online before 0059 on 12 June 2017

Class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 107 of the San Antonio Metro campus. The class roster listed 13 students, a decline of one since the last meeting; seven attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students attended the most recent previous office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 062.12192, 3 June 2017

After addressing questions from the previous class meeting and online, discussion turned towards concerns of summary and response, as well as other questions about writing in general. The class generated a sample summary and response, as well, practicing for assignments for the week. Class concluded by offering in-class completion time on coursework.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates, following the initial comments on the session:

  • Summary & Reaction, online before 0059 on 5 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Paraphrasing & Summarizing, online before 0059 on 5 June 2017
  • Reading Lab: Next Reading (III), online before 0059 on 5 June 2017
  • Week 5 Discussions, online before 0059 on 5 June 2017

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus. The class roster listed eight students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, five attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. Office hours were truncated against the instructor moving.

Concluding Thoughts on the Spring 2017 Term at Schreiner University

In keeping with my practices from earlier terms and teaching jobs, the comments below offer information about the demographics and class performance in the two sections of ENGL 1302: Literature & Composition I taught during the Spring 2017 term at Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas. Overall impressions and implications for future work are discussed below, as well, and best versions of course documents are presented.

Student Demographics

Demographic data derive from a survey administered online to students during the term–discussed here. As enrollment changed after the survey was administered, final figures will necessarily differ–and because survey answers are anonymous, which adjustments need to be made to represent final data are unclear. Accordingly, the demographic report retains its original information, however belatedly presented.

In the survey, students were asked a number of questions. Some pertained to teaching practice; responses to them are elided in the current report (see “Impressions and Implications,” below). Those pertaining to demographic data, however, asked after section of enrollment, age, gender identity, racial and ethnic identities, socioeconomic status, classification at the institution, GPA, school of enrollment, and major and minor fields of study.

The question about section of enrollment inquired as to whether respondents were enrolled in Section 02 or Section 03 of the course. Seventeen responded in the former, although three responses appear to be duplications. Fourteen responded in the latter.

The question about student age asked respondents to select only one answer from among “Under 17,” “17,” “18,” “19,” “20,” “21,” “Over 21,” and “Prefer not to respond.” Sixteen respondents identified as 19 years of age, seven as 18, four as 20, and one as over 21. No other responses are recorded.

The question about gender identification asked respondents to select only one answer from among “Male,” “Female,” “Prefer not to say,” and “Other.” Seventeen responded as male, ten as female, and one as other. No other responses are recorded.

The question about racial identification asked respondents to select all appropriate choices from those listed in 2010 US Census Bureau data. Two students identified as Asian, one as Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, three as Black or African American, 23 as White, and four as Some Other Race.

The question about ethnic identification also asked respondents to select the appropriate response from 2010 US Census Bureau data. Ten students identified as Hispanic; 18 disavowed being Hispanic.

The question about socioeconomic status asked students to select one response from among “Upper class,” “Upper middle class,” “Middle class,” “Lower middle class,” “Working class,” “Lower class / Underclass,” “Prefer not to identify,” and “Other.” Sixteen responded as middle class; six as upper middle class; three as lower middle class; and one each as lower class / underclass, prefer not to identify, and other. No other responses are recorded.

The question about institutional classification asked students to select one response from among “Freshman,” “Sophomore,” “Junior,” “Senior,” and “Prefer not to identify.” Twenty-three identified as freshmen, four as sophomores, and one as a junior. No other responses are recorded.

The question about GPA asked students to select one response from among the following: “3.5+,” “3.0-3.499,” “2.5-2.999,” “2.0-2.499,” “1.5-1.999,” “1.0-1.499,” “Below 1.0,” “No GPA recorded yet,” and “Prefer not to respond.” Eleven responded with a GPA of 3.5+; nine with 3.0-3.499; three with 2.0-2.499; two with 2.5-2.999; and one each with 1.5-1.999, 1.0-1.499, and a preference not to respond. No other responses are recorded.

The question about School of major asked students to place themselves in one of the three Schools at the University: the School of Liberal Arts, the Trull School of Sciences and Mathematics, and the Callioux School of Professional Studies. Students could also identify as undeclared majors, and they could opt not to identify. They could also fill out an “Other” response if they double-majored across Schools. Nine identified as in Liberal Arts, nine as undeclared, four in Trull, four as other, and two in Callioux.

The question about major field of study was a short-answer response, presented as follows: “What is your major? (If you are a double-major, list both majors. If you are undeclared, please note it. If you prefer not to identify, please type ‘Prefer not to identify.’)” Four respondents identified as being each of psychology majors and undeclared majors. Three identified as Greystone preparatory students, bound for service academies. Two responded as each of political science and programming majors, with two others opting not to identify. One responded as majoring in each of business and marketing, business economics, business management, education, engineering, English and history, English and psychology, exercise science, history, math, and nursing.

The question about minor field of study was presented as follows: “Do you have, or intend to take, a minor? If so, in what? (If you are unsure, please type ‘Unsure.’ If you prefer not to identify, please type ‘Prefer not to identify.’)” Eight students responded as unsure about minoring, while six noted having no minor, and another three disavowed wanting a minor. Two each noted minoring in education and Spanish, while two others preferred not to identify. One each noted minoring in communication, computer information technology, outdoor leadership, photography, Spanish and Latin American studies (as distinct from Spanish), sports management/coaching, and theater technology.

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Class Performance

The students in both sections, Section 02 and Section 03, were asked to complete a number of assignments throughout the term: an essay on poetry, an essay on drama, an essay on prose, and an essay on a work in any selected genre, in draft and submission versions; a series of vocabulary quizzes; a final exam deriving from those quizzes; and an overall impression of professionalism. Each was scored using a scale of A+ through zero, and scores were unevenly distributed, as noted below:

  • Poetry Essay, 15% of the total course grade
  • Drama Essay, 15% of the total course grade
  • Prose Essay, 15% of the total course grade
  • Choice Essay, 15% of the total course grade
  • Final Exam, 10% of the total course grade
  • Minor Assignments, cumulatively 15% of the total course grade
  • Student Professionalism, 15 % of the total course grade

Unlike previous terms, attendance did not directly factor into grading. Missed assignments still counted against students, but the idea of tracking non-attendance for grade penalties in and of itself is not one that has continued to suggest itself as a useful classroom practice for me. In the absence of institutional mandate, then, I did not grade students down for not showing up.

Section 02

Discussion of individual assignments and individual student performance exceeds what is appropriate for such a report as this. Overall data is not, however, and for the section, it includes

  • End-of-term enrollment: 14
  • Average class score: 72.661 (C-)
    • Standard deviation: 19.151
  • Students earning a grade of A (90%+): 1
  • Students earning a grade of F (below 60%): 1
  • Total student absences: 71
  • Average student absences: 5.071
    • Standard deviation: 8.172

The class suffered from relatively high attrition; initial enrollment was 20, and one student attended class only nine times (out of more than 40). Said student was the one outright failure, given that the absences were accompanied by thoroughgoing non-submission of assignments.

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Section 03

Discussion of individual assignments and individual student performance exceeds what is appropriate for such a report as this. Overall data is not, however, and for the section, it includes

  • End-of-term enrollment: 16
  • Average class score: 79.136 (C+)
    • Standard deviation: 12.382
  • Students earning a grade of A (90%+): 3
  • Students earning a grade of F (below 60%): 1
  • Total student absences: 49
  • Average student absences: 3.063
    • Standard deviation: 3.733

The class suffered from attrition; initial enrollment was 20. One student withdrew because information came in that the student had taken an equivalent course at another institution and credit therefore was accepted. The other three withdrew from other concerns entirely. Non-submission was something of a problem for the student who failed the course; two of the four major papers never came in from that student.

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Impressions and Implications

What can be taken from the report is not entirely clear; it has been announced to me that I will not be teaching at Schreiner in the Fall 2017 term, and my return thereafter is doubtful. Indeed, my return to any teaching other than that I maintain at DeVry University in San Antonio is doubtful; I have sent out hundreds of applications to such jobs, and none have gone favorably for me. As such, I am largely leaving academe for the time–and possibly for all time.

Even so, and despite certain early difficulties in the semester, I am pleased with how things turned out in the classes themselves. I had a number of fine students who engaged with writing as a process and ended up finding excellent ideas–one, for example, focused on difficulties of transcription in a paper, while another grappled with higher-level literary criticism. I appreciate the efforts such students made, and I have found my way into at least one other paper as a result of working with them–which I also appreciate.

If it is the case that the Spring 2017 semester at Schreiner is my last “regular” teaching gig–my work at DeVry is necessarily Other to it and to academe more generally–then it was a good term on which to end.

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Course Documents

The two sections of the course worked from the same syllabus and course packet, combined into a single document that was made available to students in print and online. It was supplemented by two assignment sheets, one prompting a diagnostic writing exercise, the other expressing standards for the papers required throughout the term. They have been compiled into a single document, and slightly edited to address some–but likely not all–of the issues in both; I am sure there are others that have escaped my attention.

G. Elliott ENGL 1302 Combined Course Document

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