Initial Comments for the May 2019 Session at DeVry University

I have been offered and accepted a class for the May 2019 instructional session at DeVry University, a section of ENGL 135: Advanced Composition. I’ve taught the course several times at the school, most recently in the November 2018 session, so I am confident I will be able to do so successfully again. Certainly, I welcome the opportunity to do so.

Image result for college writing classroom
It’s a nice idea.
Image from Faculty Focus, used for commentary.

So far as I know, there have not been changes to the instructional sequence at play in the course, so I think my earlier examples will continue to work for the students. If there have been changes, I will see about drafting new ones to suit. As a reminder, those examples can be found linked below:

The class will meet online only, which will be something of a relief. I will be spared the commute I have in teaching on site, which will save me a fair bit of money. And I will likely continue my practice of holding office hours online on Mondays at 6pm US Central Time; it works as well as anything else, so I have no reason to alter it.

I am sure I will have additional comments about things as the session progresses. I still have to get through the March 2019 session, so it will be a bit. But I am still happy to have the opportunity I have to earn a little bit more by doing what I spent so long learning how to do. I remain an academic expatriate even so, but I might as well enjoy having a little bit of support while I can.

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Initial Comments for the March 2019 Session at DeVry University

I have been offered a class for the March 2019 Session, a section of SPCH 275: Public Speaking, and I’ve accepted the assignment. It’s a class I’ve taught before, though it seems to have changed a bit for the upcoming term–in part because of an institutional push towards larger student-counts in each section that has me balancing on-site and online lecture. So it will be something of a challenge to teach it this time around.

I hope it goes better than this.
Image from Giphy.com.

I’ve not looked at the course in detail yet, but I expect that I will not need to develop specific examples of student work for it as I have done in my recent writing classes. For one, students are likely to be more familiar with speeches and oral communication than with formal writing. For another, I tend to lecture, perhaps more than I ought to, and those lectures are themselves iterations of public speaking. The examples are already provided by the nature of the course itself. (I will reserve the right to change that, though, since I might well find more targeted work to be of advantage.)

The on-site portion of the class is set to meet Thursdays at 6pm in the VCC at the San Antonio campus, beginning 3 March 2019 and running through 27 April; office hours will be online on Mondays at 6pm, US Central Time. I do have some travel and other concerns that will need to be accommodated, but I have every expectation that things will work out well as I have another appreciated chance to do what I have been trained to do.

Initial Comments for the January 2019 Session at DeVry University

I have been offered a class for the January 2019 Session, a section of ENGL 062: Introduction to Reading & Writing, and I’ve accepted the assignment. It’s a class I’ve taught several times before, though it seems to have changed a bit for the upcoming term. (That’s good, because there were some things that needed adjusting, but it does also ask me to re-learn some things. But that’s also to the good.)

It can be a fun thing, indeed.
Image from Giphy.com.

I am likely to continue to offer samples of the work I expect my students to do, as I have noted that the students in classes where my examples are ready to hand do better on the tasks assigned them than those who were not. Too, I’ve not generated examples for the introductory students yet, and it can easily be argued that they are in the most need of additional assistance; I have been lax in not doing so previously, and I will address the lack. And it will help me negotiate the changes that have gone through since I last taught the course, which is also set to be to my benefit and my students’.

The class is set to meet in Room 111 of the San Antonio campus on Mondays at 6pm, beginning on 7 January 2019 and running through 2 March. It’s scheduled to run until close to 10, but how much of that gets taken up will depend on enrollment; keeping two students in for four hours is a bit much. And I will have to negotiate the MLK holiday, which will interfere with the class meeting. But that will be a relatively minor challenge–I already have plans in mind for how to proceed–and I am happy to be once again in a position to face it, to do again what I have long done and even longer trained to do.

Initial Comments for the November 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

I have been offered two classes for the November 2018 session, ENGL 112: Composition and ENGL 135: Advanced Composition. I’ve taught the latter before–during the current September 2018 session, in fact–but, while I’ve taught first-semester composition any number of times at other institutions (as noted here, among other places), I’ve not yet done so at DeVry. It is the only class in the main writing sequence at that school I’ve not yet taught, so it will be good to get that course under my belt and get a full view of what DeVry asks its students to write.

This would be a nice classroom to have.
Image from University Business.

It will have been noted, I hope, that I have resumed generating examples for my students to follow. I do not think I will do so for ENGL 135 quite yet again; I’m presently in a cycle of doing so, anyway. But I will doubtlessly do so for ENGL 112, partly for the reasons I’ve tended to do so in the past, and partly to help me get a feel for the course cycle expected of my students. (Too, I feel compelled to put materials into this webspace, and doing so for my students helps with that.) I also mean to continue my practice of posting class reports, although the timing on them will shift to reflect the fact that I have an actual class meeting schedule this time around.

To wit, the ENGL 112 class will meet on Wednesday evenings at the San Antonio campus; the ENGL 135 is another all-online section. Both classes begin on 28 October 2018 and run through 22 December 2018. I am happy to have the opportunity to teach once again and put the skills I have theoretically developed through more than a decade of teaching and more than a decade of study to use one more time.

Initial Comments for the September 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

I have been offered a section of ENGL 135: Advanced Composition for the September 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio–and I’ve signed my contract for it. The course will run from 2 September through 27 October 2018, and it will meet wholly online. I admit to preferring hybrid or on-site courses to fully online work, but I also admit to preferring having income to not, so I was pleased to accept the course.

Ah, to see such a thing…
The image comes from DeVry University. It seems to fit, given the topic here.

I note, also, that there have been some adjustments to the assignment sequence in the course. As such, I’ll need to adjust my teaching materials somewhat from those I’ve been using for the past couple of years. It’s not a bad thing; updates need to happen as more research is done into what best practices are (even if that research tends to focus on traditional undergraduates, who are not the students DeVry tends to teach), and there were things in the previous assignment sequences that flatly did not work well.

Whether or not I assign a topic for consideration is still undetermined. I did not have great success with it the last time I did so, as I believe I noted. My concerns about it remain in place–the more so with a wholly online class, where students are typically even more pressured to cleave to assignments as prescribed and less inclined to range out from their expectations. (It’s not my first wholly online course, and my own mother completed a wholly online degree. I’ll admit my experience is limited, but it is still what I have to work with.) If I do, I do not think I will restrict myself to the previously assigned topic; again, few of the students I taught felt as if they could meaningfully address it. (I wonder if it derives from their having been underserved by their previous academic experiences.) Perhaps if I prescribe a topic, I will work with humor once again–although the circumstances of the class are not such as admit of jocularity easily.

In any event, I have it to do one more time, at least. Even if I do confine myself to the “standard” offerings this time around–and I might, that I might better negotiate the changes to the course sequence since the last time I taught it–I will be glad to have the opportunity to work with students yet again, hopefully to help them move beyond the idea of research as compiling and reporting information only and into the notion of research being the revelation or creation of new knowledge. Students in first-year writing classes do not necessarily often make such breakthroughs, but when they do, it is quite a joy to see; every time I am able to help it happen, I am pleased with myself.

Every time it happens, whether I am responsible for it or not, the world is that much better off than it was before. And more of that needs to happen.

Initial Comments for the July 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

To spite my earlier comments, I’ve been offered a section of ENGL 062: Introduction to Reading and Writing for the July 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve even signed my contract for doing so, so I’ll take a bit to get my materials ready again.

The session runs from 9 July through 1 September 2018; the class meets Thursdays from 1800 to 2150 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus. I am not yet certain when or if I will have office hours–the “if” because the class is something of an unusual situation. It is, at present, showing only one student enrolled, which would normally make for a threat of class cancellation. Circumstances are such, however, that the class has been authorized despite the low enrollment–although the campus is trying to get other students enrolled in the class. If more do not enroll, however, the class will function as an eight-week tutorial, and that might well eliminate the need for office-hour availability. Perhaps; it will remain to be seen.

Initial Comments for the May 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

In a bit of news, I have been offered a section of ENGL 216: Technical Writing for the May 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve not yet signed my contract for doing so, but I expect it will be coming soon enough; in the meantime, I can take a bit to get my materials ready again.

The session runs from 30 April through 23 June 2018; the class meets Mondays from 1800 to 2150 in Room 111 of the San Antonio campus. I am not yet certain when I will have office hours.

I feel I had great success teaching it last time, so I am looking forward to teaching the class again. Additionally, I think restricting topics for the class will work well, as it seems to be the case for the March 2018 session’s classes, so that will be one of the adjustments I make as I move forward. There will be others, I am certain, coming from results of surveys as they arrive.

More Early Comments for the March 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

Not long ago, I made a few comments about the March 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio, noting with appreciation that I had been offered a section of ENGL 135: Advanced Composition. I have been at work developing materials for that class, and I am happy with how things are proceeding in that line.

I am also happy to note that I have been offered another class, one I have not yet taught at the institution, although it is similar to one that I have taught elsewhere–namely SPCH 217: Public Speaking. From what I have seen of the course so far, it is similar to the HUM 110 class I taught at the now-defunct Technical Career Institutes, so that while it has been some time since I taught such a class, I am not coming into it all unaware of what I need to do and what I need the students to do. Materials are on their way to me now, so that much is to the good, and I look forward to seeing how I can make things better.

Initial Comments for the March 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

I know that I’ve had a lot to say about DeVry University this week, what with my usual class report and a recent addendum to an older post. But more news keeps coming in on that score, to wit:

Although I’ve not yet signed the contract for it, I have been offered a section of ENGL 135: Advanced Composition for the March 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio. The session runs 26 February through 21 April 2018; the class is slated to meet on Saturdays from 0900 to 1250 in Room 106 of the San Antonio campus. I still have a bit of time to begin to prepare and refine materials, and I look forward to doing again the work of teaching.

Among those materials will be an alternative assignment, one that follows the sequence prescribed by the University but that treats a different topic altogether. I have the hope that it will prove more amenable to students’ engagement than those previously assigned–and that they and I will gain more from it as a result.

Initial Comments for the January 2018 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

Not too long ago, I signed my teaching contract for the January 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio, Texas, which extends from 1 January through 25 February 2018. I am pleased to note that I will be working with a single set of students across the eight-week span, a group enrolled in ENGL 216: Technical Writing. I was assigned the course during the November 2017 session, and I found it a relatively congenial experience. That I get to approach the class again pleases me.

It does so in part because I will be trying something new to me in the coming session. I have noticed an unfortunate decline in attendance, as I have attested in blog posts throughout my time teaching at DeVry. It is my hope that doing more to put my lectures and the like online for students to access will improve student performance, and I hope also to guide my students more directly than I have tended to do in the past. (I recall having better results with them when I have defined tasks more narrowly. But that may be faulty recall, admittedly.)

Too, I can use the practice in developing materials. I have not been attending to this webspace nearly so much as I ought to, and having more to put here will be of benefit…