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.

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Class Report: ENGL 135, 15 October 2018

Continuing on from the previous week, students were asked in discussion to present a draft of their presentation for peer review. They were asked to revise the previously submitted second drafts in light of instructor and peer comments, as well, improving upon the earlier materials and generating said presentation.

The course roster showed 14 students enrolled, a decline of four from last week; 13 participated in online discussions during the week. An online office hour was held on Tuesday, 9 October 2018; two students attended, albeit briefly

Students are reminded that the next office hour will be today, Monday, 15 October 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 20 October 2018:

  • Discussion Thread: APA Workshop (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Discussion Thread: Project Design (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: Final Draft (due online as an APA-formatted Word document)

Class Report: ENGL 135, 8 October 2018

Continuing on from the previous week, students were asked in discussion to present a draft of their course project for peer review. They were asked to revise the previously submitted first drafts in light of instructor and peer comments, as well, improving upon the earlier materials.

The course roster showed 18 students enrolled, a decline of one from last week; fifteen participated in online discussions during the week. An online office hour was held on Monday, 1 October 2018; no students attended.

Students are reminded that the next office hour will be tomorrow, Tuesday, 9 October 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 14 October 2018:

  • Discussion Thread: Presentation Peer Review (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: Presentation (due as a narrated PowerPoint or similarly accessible presentation)

Class Report: ENGL 135, 1 October 2018

Continuing on from the previous week, students were asked in discussion to present the first paragraphs of their first drafts for student critique and to analyze sample arguments. They were also asked to draft and submit first drafts of their papers for instructor review.

The course roster showed 19 students enrolled, a decline of two from last week; all but one participated in one or more online discussions during the week. An online office hour was held on Monday, 24 September 2018; no students attended.

Students are reminded that the third office hour will be tonight, Monday, 1 October 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 7 October 2018:

  • Discussion Threads: Course Project Peer Review (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: Second Draft (due as a Word document in APA format)

Class Report: ENGL 135, 24 September 2018

Continuing on from the previous week, students were asked in discussion to practice annotated bibliography entries and to discuss presentations of ideas. They were also asked to produce a brief annotated bibliography and to submit a final pulse-check.

The course roster showed 21 students enrolled, a decline of six from last week; all but two participated in one or more online discussions during the week. An online office hour was held on Monday, 17 September 2018; no students attended.

Students are reminded that the third office hour will be tonight, Monday, 24 September 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 30 September 2018:

  • Discussion Threads: The First Draft and Analyzing a Sample Argument (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: First Draft (due as a Word document in APA format)

Class Report: ENGL 135, 17 September 2018

Continuing on from the previous week, students were asked in discussion to work through summarizing a source and investigate reliability of online sources. They were also asked to sit for an online APA quiz, to complete a “pulse check,” and to draft a topic proposal and tentative outline for their course project.

The course roster showed 27 students enrolled, a net gain of one from last week; most participated in one or more online discussions during the week. An online office hour was held on Monday, 10 September 2018; no students attended.

Students are reminded that the third office hour will be tonight, Monday, 17 September 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 23 September 2018:

  • Discussion Threads: Presenting Ideas and Annotated Bibliography Practice (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: Annotated Bibliography (due as a Word document in APA format)
  • Week 3 Pulse Check (due online)

Class Report: ENGL 135, 10 September 2018

While it might seem somewhat odd to offer a report of activities for a class that does not actually meet, some running commentary seems in order for even a wholly online class. To that end, the following:

During the first week of the session, students were asked to introduce themselves and to work through developing a topic for the session-long course project. Instructor comments on the latter were offered in the hopes of prompting deeper consideration and more engaged, authentic work.

The course roster showed 26 students enrolled; 19 participated in online discussion during the week. An online office hour was held on Tuesday, 4 September 2018, adjusted from the normal Monday meeting due to a holiday; one student attended.

Students are reminded that the second office hour will be tonight, Monday, 10 September 2018, at 6pm Central Daylight Time. Students are also reminded that the following assignments are due before the end of day (Mountain Daylight Time) on 16 September 2018:

  • Discussion Threads: Summarizing Sources and Internet Reliability (3 posts/thread, rubric online)
  • Course Project: Research Proposal and Outline (due as a Word document in APA format)
  • Information Literacy and APA Format Quiz (due online)
  • Week 2 Pulse Check (due online)

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

Continuing a practice I most recently iterated at the end of the May 2018 session at DeVry University in San Antonio, and following closely the patterns established in previous practice, comments below offer impressions of class performance among students enrolled in ENGL 062: Introduction to Reading and Writing during the July 2018 session at that institution. After a brief outline of the course and selected statistics about it, impressions and implications for further teaching are discussed.

Students enrolled in ENGL 062: Introduction to Reading and Writing during the July 2018 session were asked to complete a number of assignments in quick succession. Many, and the weightiest, related to the overall course project; others were homework meant to practice skills used in the workplace and in later stages of the course project. Those assignments and their prescribed point-values are below, with relative weights shown in the figure below:

ENGL 062 Grade Breakdown July 2018

  • Homework (a developed paragraph, a summary and response, and two essays in two versions each)- 370/1,000 points
  • My Reading Lab (reading skills and reading level assessments)- 300/1,000 points
  • Discussion Posts (three posts in each of two graded discussion threads weekly)- 280/1,000 points
  • Reflection on Progress and Plan for Improvement- 50/1,000 points

As before, most assignments were assessed by means of rubrics provided by the institution. Some few were assessed on a percentile basis from standardized testing conducted as part of University-wide course requirements.

The section met on Thursdays from 1800-2150 in Room 107 of the San Antonio campus of DeVry University. Enrollment was low–only two students as the class began, dropping to one before the class ended–so presentation of students’ statistics is inappropriate; there are insufficient numbers to allow either anonymity or the extraction of useful data.

Teaching so small a class had its benefits, certainly. I’ve got a fair amount of experience as a tutor, so I was able to operate the class as a sort of extended tutorial, though my tutorials are usually more responsive and flexible than a prescribed assignment sequence allows. I do have to note that the relatively low workload made for an easier time of things for me, and I am not ungrateful–particularly given that the next session looks like it will ask quite a bit of me (I’m only teaching one class, but it has 28 students in it as I write this–and it’s a wholly online composition course). In all, it catered to my strengths, and I feel I did a good job of it this time around.

I still appreciate having had the chance to teach again, and I once again look forward to having others in the new session and in sessions yet to come.

Class Report: ENGL 062, 30 August 2018

Discussion was meant to address questions from the previous week and earlier before turning to summative thoughts about the course. Time to complete the assignment for the concluding week of the course was to have been offered.

Class is reminded of the upcoming assignment:

  • Homework: Reflective and Planning Postscript, due online as a Word document in APA format before the end of 1 September 2018

The session closes at the end of the day on Saturday, so all work must be submitted by then to be counted.

The class roster listed one student enrolled, unchanged from last week. None attended, assessed informally. No student attended the most recent office hour.

Class Report: ENGL 062, 23 August 2018

After addressing questions from the previous week and earlier, class turned to workshopping student work in advance of the second draft of the final essay being due. Student questions were addressed as they arose.

Students are reminded of upcoming assignments:

  • Discussions (three posts per graded thread), due online before 0059 on 27 August 2018
  • Homework: Essay 2, Graded Draft, due online as a Word document in APA format before 0059 on 27 August 2018
  • My Reading Lab: Reading Textbooks Topic and Post-Test, due online before 0059 on 20 August 2018
  • One selection from My Reading Lab: Next Reading (in the Reading Level part of My Reading Lab; requires the Lexile Locator [which will be unscored]), due online before 0059 on 20 August 2018

The class roster listed but one student enrolled, a decline of one from last week. The student attended and participated well. No student attended the most recent office hour.