Class Report: ENGL/THRE 3333.01: Shakespeare: Comedies & Sonnets–31 August 2016

Discussion extended treatment of the contextual issues from the previous class meeting and attended to some concerns of assignments to come.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Discus 1 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 7 September 2016)
  • Discus 2 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 14 September 2016)
  • PProp (due online before the beginning of class time on 14 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1435 in Weir 109. The class roster listed four students enrolled as of approximately 0630, a decline of two since the last class meeting; some realignment of instruction may be needed. Two attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

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Class Report: ENGL 2340.01: World Literature through the Renaissance–31 August 2016

Discussion addressed concerns of and questions about materials noted during the previous class meeting, extending ongoing discussion as it moved forward to consider currently assigned readings. Online discussion postings seem to be going well, which is good to see.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Discus 1 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 9 September 2016)
  • Discus 2 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 16 September 2016)
  • Ppr 1 PV (in typed hard copy at the beginning of class time on 19 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 202. The class roster listed 12 students enrolled at approximately 0630, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eleven attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Class Report: ENGL 1301.03: Rhetoric & Composition–31 August 2016

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion considered assigned readings and returned attention to the Desc. A riddle quiz concluded the class meeting.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Desc PV (in typed hard copy at the beginning of class time on 12 September 2016)
  • Desc RV (online before the beginning of class time on 16 September 2016)
  • Desc FV (online before the beginning of class time on 23 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 110. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled as of approximately 0625, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified by submission of the quiz. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–30 August 2016

After addressing offering introductions, discussion reviewed required policy statements before treating already-assigned readings and upcoming assignments. Business correspondence received particular attention.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Resume (materials to the dropbox before 0059, 5 September 2016)
  • Week 1 Discussions (completed before 0059, 5 September 2016)
  • Week 2 Quiz (completed before 0059, 12 September 2016)

“Initial Remarks for the September 2016 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio,” here, may be of use for students.

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed seven students enrolled as of approximately 1600. Of them, six attended (with some leaving early), verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL/THRE 3333.01: Shakespeare: Comedies & Sonnets–29 August 2016

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion turned to concerns of assigned readings and coming assignments.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Discus 1 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 7 September 2016)
  • Discus 2 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 14 September 2016)
  • PProp (due online before the beginning of class time on 14 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1435 in Weir 109. The class roster listed six students enrolled at approximately 1545, showing no net change (although one student dropped and another added) since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was mixed; more reading needs to be done. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Class Report: ENGL 2340.01: World Literature through the Renaissance–29 August 2016

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion turned to consideration of the assigned readings and to literary genres in general.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Discus 1 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 9 September 2016)
  • Discus 2 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 16 September 2016)
  • Ppr 1 PV (in typed hard copy at the beginning of class time on 19 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 202. The class roster listed 12 students enrolled as of approximately 0630, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Class Report: ENGL 1301.03: Rhetoric & Composition–29 August 2016

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, particularly the Diagnostic Writing Exercise, discussion turned to consideration of assigned readings and upcoming writing assignments.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Desc PV (in typed hard copy at the beginning of class time on 12 September 2016)
  • Desc RV (online before the beginning of class time on 16 September 2016)
  • Desc FV (online before the beginning of class time on 23 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 110. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled as of approximately 0620, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Reflective Comments about the July 2016 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

Continuing a practice iterated at the end of the Spring 2016 instructional term in Stillwater, Oklahoma, comments below offer impressions of class performance among students enrolled in ENGL 135: Advanced Composition, Section 60174, at DeVry University in San Antonio, Texas, during the July 2016 instructional session there. Overall impressions and implications for instruction are also discussed.

Unlike previous terms, however, demographic data were not tracked and best versions of course documents are not compiled. The relatively small class, combined with newness at the institution and some policies, made inquiring thereabouts inadvisable, and institutional policies insist on particular treatment of enough course documentation to prevent a complete record from being compiled.

Class Performance

Assessment in the eight-week session moved at a rapid pace. It centered around the completion of a single research project, the traditional-to-second-semester-composition conference-length paper, having students through a series of unevenly-weighted assignments leading to the generation of such a paper:

  • Topic Selection, 50 points
  • Source Summary, 35 points
  • Research Proposal, 50 points
  • Annotated Bibliography, 100 points
  • First Draft of the conference paper, 75 points
  • Second Draft of the conference paper, 80 points
  • Final Draft of the conference paper, 125 points
  • Reflective Postscript, 50 points

Other assignments, including information literacy and APA assessment modules (35 points each), as well as weeks of online discussions (40 points for each of six weeks, 60 points for the seventh), supplemented work on the conference-length paper, offering student practice in finding and parsing information and in writing to a broad audience.

Most assignments were assessed by means of rubrics provided by the institution. Other assignments were assessed by rubrics of similar form, announced to students in advance of assignments being due and returned to students with comments once assessment was completed.

The section was scheduled to meet on Thursdays from 1800-2150 in Room 111 of the San Antonio campus of DeVry University. Its overall data includes

  • End-of-term enrollment: 9
  • Average class score: 471
    • Standard deviation: 298.789
  • Students earning a grade of A (900 points or more): 1
  • Students earning a grade of F (below 600 points): 6
  • Total student absences: 25
  • Average student absences: 2.778
    • Standard deviation: 2.299

End-of-term enrollment represents a substantial decline from a peak of 16 students enrolled at the first class meeting. Absence rates were substantial; all but one student incurred at least one absence from among the eight class meetings, and one failed to attend any of them. Most classes saw three or four absences. Additionally, a great many students failed to submit one or more assignments; only two students show up as having completed all expected work.

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Impressions and Implications

It had been some time since I had taught at a for-profit institution, and so I had forgotten some of the challenges that seem to associate themselves with such schools. In particular, I had grown unaccustomed to the high absence and low assignment submission rates that were on display during my class in the July 2016 session at DeVry, and while they did have the effect of making grading easier, the disjunction between expectation and realization was somewhat disconcerting. Moving forward, though, it should be less of a problem.

In teaching this time around, I did work to address some of the concerns voiced by students in an earlier survey, the report of which is here. Namely, I have tried to adjust my manner to be less condescending and derisive. I do not have data to attest to the effectiveness of my efforts, although I have made sure to offer valedictory messages in written commentaries returned to students and to be explicit about identifying areas of strength or potential strength. My tendency towards tangents also received some moderation, although I continue to be aware that I am prone to them.

I think I had some success in my classroom work, though. Teaching non-traditional students again illuminated for me some of the reasons I had had difficulties previously, and the simple fact of having the work to do served to remind me to be grateful–and to work in a way that indicates the gratitude. The latter is likely to be particularly helpful as I move into the September 2016 session at DeVry and more fully into the Fall 2016 instructional term at Schreiner University–as well as into possible future work.

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Sample Diagnostic Exercise: An Entering Hope

As noted here, the students in my Fall 2016 section of ENGL 1301: Rhetoric & Composition at Schreiner University were asked to complete a diagnostic writing exercise during class on 26 August 2016. My usual practice (although I am not always able to follow it) is to do the assignments I give my students, so, as the students wrote their diagnostic exercises, I wrote to the same prompt. That prompt and my response thereto are below.

The Prompt

One motto of Schreiner University, that long displayed at the main entrance, is “Enter with hope. Leave with achievement.” With what hope do you enter Schreiner? Why do you harbor it? How do you think to enact it?

The Response

Like most or all of the students in my section of Rhetoric & Composition, I am new to Schreiner University; I grew up in Kerrville, to be sure, but I went elsewhere for my college coursework. As I return to the Hill Country, though, and to working in Kerrville, I am struck anew by the idea of entering the Schreiner community with hope—and I do have several hopes as I begin my work at the campus. Perhaps chief among them is that I will do that work well, but that would be true of any job. More specific to my work at Schreiner University is that I hope to make a new beginning for myself, primarily as a professional, but also as a person.

I have been in need of a new professional beginning, to be sure. For one thing, more than one of my previous jobs employed me on term contracts, and those terms ended without promise or hope of renewal; at the level of simple employment, then, I needed to make a new beginning. At a deeper level, though, I realize that I had grown into a mixture of complacency and, I am sorry to say, disdain for the work I had been doing at one place. (The other was much better, although the certainty of my limited term made engaging more difficult than it might otherwise have been.) I make no excuse for it; I have no excuse for it. I acknowledge my failure to commit to my earlier work as much as I could have—and maybe ought to have—done, but that does not mean I cannot also recognize that a change was needed. And it does not mean that I do not recognize I was in a bad place, mentally and emotionally; I was disconnecting not only from much of the work I was doing, but also from family and friends—and many of my colleagues did become friends—and from most of the things in which I had taken delight. So I suppose my need for a new personal beginning emerged alongside the need for a new professional beginning.

Schreiner offers me hope that I can find such beginnings again. When I interviewed for my position, I was welcomed warmly and eagerly, and I have continued to be welcomed each time I have come to campus. Faces smile when they see me here, rather than falling into frowns or turning away, and I find myself smiling in return—which is not something I was prone to doing before coming here. A new instructional term has gotten underway, and I am pleasantly surprised to see my classes holding all of the students they are supposed to; it is not something that has often happened for me before. And the upbuoying that I feel as I come onto campus follows me as I leave it; I have gone home tired, but it is the kind of tired that follows work done well and diligently rather than the tiredness of being leached of vitality and plodding along despite it. It is a kind of tired that allows me still to smile at my wife and daughter when I arrive home, rather than collapsing in on myself and walling out all that I can. It is a kind of tired that bespeaks and ongoing hope for a new beginning fostered by the simple fact that it seems to be realized as I walk onto the grounds, from building to building, and from class to class.

I hope it will endure.

Class Report: ENGL 2340.01: World Literature through the Renaissance–26 August 2016

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion turned to concerns of the Discus assignments, file submissions for upcoming papers, and questions of canon-building.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • Discus 1 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 9 September 2016)
  • Discus 2 (to be completed online before the beginning of class time on 16 September 2016)
  • Ppr 1 PV (in typed hard copy at the beginning of class time on 19 September 2016)

Please note that instructional materials are still being developed for the course.

Class met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 202. The class roster listed 12 students enrolled as of 0630, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.