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

Continuing a practice iterated at the end of the July 2016 instructional session at DeVry University in San Antonio, Texas, comments below offer impressions of class performance among students enrolled in ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439, at that institution during its September 2016 session. Overall impressions and implications for instruction are also discussed.

Class Performance

As before, assessment in the eight-week session moved at a rapid pace. It centered around the completion of a single project, a proposal for reducing the carbon footprint of a fictional company, having students through a series of unevenly-weighted assignments leading to the generation of such a project:

  • Routine Message, 90/1000 points
  • Informal Analytical Report, 180/1000 points
  • Negative Message, 100/1000 points
  • Preliminary Course Project, 100/1000 points
  • Final Course Project, 150/1000 points

Other assignments–a resume (80/1000 points), a quiz (60/1000 points), and weeks of online discussions (240/1000 points in total)–supplemented work on the project, offering student practice in finding and parsing information and in writing to audiences mimetic of what they can expect to face in professional life.

As before, 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 Tuesdays from 1800-2150 in Room 111 of the San Antonio campus of DeVry University. Its overall data includes

  • End-of-term enrollment: 6
  • Average class score: 790.5/1000 (C)
    • Standard deviation: 103.131
  • Students earning a grade of A (900/1000 points or more): 2
  • Students earning a grade of F (below 600/1000 points): 0
  • Total student absences: 5
  • Average student absences: 0.833
    • Standard deviation: 1.067

End-of-term enrollment represents a small numerical decline from a peak of seven students enrolled at the first class meeting. Absence rates were relatively low; while one student missed three of the eight meetings, half the students attended each class, and two missed only one meeting each. Completion rates were also good; one student missed one assignment and two missed two assignments each, but all other required coursework was submitted. (Indeed, some students made discussion posts far in excess of requirements; they were rewarded accordingly as the session progressed.)

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Impressions and Implications

Some of the problems noted at the end of the July 2016 session did not emerge from the current class. A combination of smaller initial enrollment and the higher level of the course likely account for the better attendance and submission rates and the greater in-class participation. The small class size, coupled with the fact of group submission of several items, continued to ease grading burdens, which were further reduced by a continued emphasis on framing comments in terms of gratitude.

The issue of tangents common to my lectures persists. In the current class, however, many of the tangents took the forms of discourses on changes to prevailing popular rhetorics and standards of usage, issues of some concern for the students; they came off as more relevant than is usual, and students expressed (verbally and in online discussion) greater appreciation for them than is commonly the case.

I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to work with students, generally, and with the for-profit students, specifically. This class has helped me grow as an instructor; I hope that I was as helpful to the students I taught.

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Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–18 October 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion continued consideration of the overall group project, which is drawing to its end along with the term as a whole.

Further, students were reminded during class time about end-of-course evaluations. In an email of 10 October 2016, Adrian Shapiro, Faculty Chair for Teaching and Learning at DeVry University, offers the following link to students: http://cdiat.devrygroup.com/video/player.html?video=1_p6jwim28. It offers explicit instruction about how to complete the exercise–and completion is distinctly appreciated.

Students are reminded of the following assignment’s due date:

  • Group Project Formal Proposal- Final Version (collectively submitted to the dropbox before 1159, 23 October 2016–although earlier would be appreciated)

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student attended office hours.

Summative comments for the session are forthcoming.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–11 October 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion continued consideration of the overall group project and its remaining individual components. Assigned readings were also discussed.

Further, students were advised during class time about end-of-course evaluations. In an email of 10 October 2016, Adrian Shapiro, Faculty Chair for Teaching and Learning at DeVry University, offers the following link to students: http://cdiat.devrygroup.com/video/player.html?video=1_p6jwim28. It should offer explicit instruction about how to complete the exercise–and completion is distinctly appreciated.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Week 7 Discussions, to be completed before 0059, 17 October 2016
  • Group Project Formal Proposal- Final Version (collectively submitted to the dropbox before 1159, 23 October 2016–although earlier would be appreciated)

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Five attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–4 October 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion continued consideration of the overall group project and its remaining individual components. Assigned readings were also discussed.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Group Project Formal Proposal- Preliminary Version (collectively submitted to the dropbox before 0059, 10 October 2016)
  • Week 6 Discussions (to be completed before 0059, 10 October 2016)

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–27 September 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion continued consideration of the overall group project and its remaining individual components. Attention was also given to the upcoming negative message.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Negative or Bad News Message (individually submitted to the dropbox before 0059, 3 October 2016)
  • Week 5 Discussions (to be completed before 0059, 3 October 2016)

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–20 September 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion treated assignments previously submitted and moved into continued consideration of the overall group project and its individual components, particularly the report due next.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Group Project Informal Analytical Report (submitted by one group member to the dropbox before 0059, 26 September 2016)
  • Week 4 Discussions (to be completed before 0059, 26 September 2016)

Students should note that the rubric applied to discussions in Week 4 and moving forward is contained herein: ENGL 227 Discussion Assignment Sheet.

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, five attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–13 September 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion treated assignments previously submitted and moved into consideration of the overall group project and its individual components.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Routine Message, to the dropbox before 0059, 19 September 2016
  • Week 3 Open Discussion, completed before 0059, 19 September 2016
  • Week 3 Group Discussion, completed before 0059, 19 September 2016

The class met as scheduled, at 1800 in Rm. 111 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed six students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, five attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students attended office hours.

Class Report: ENGL 227: Professional Writing, Section 11439–6 September 2016

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion treated concerns of assignments that had been submitted. It then turned to consideration of assigned readings and upcoming work, with some emphasis on questions of usage.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Week 2 Quiz (completed before 0059, 12 September 2016)
  • Week 2 Open Discussions (completed before 0059, 12 September 2016)
  • Week 2 Group Discussions (completed before 0059, 12 September 2016)

“Initial Remarks for the September 2016 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio,” here, may still 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 six students enrolled, a decline of one since the last class meeting. Of them, four attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students attended office hours.

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.

Initial Remarks for the September 2016 Session at DeVry University in San Antonio

As the new session begins and I find myself teaching ENGL 227: Professional Writing, there are a few things that present themselves as needing attention. Chief among them are due dates and certain assignment materials, both of which are presented below.

Due Dates

The University generally holds that weeks begin and end at midnight Mountain Time on Sundays (so at 0100 Monday mornings in San Antonio). Each week’s assignments are due before the week ends, meaning that written assignments are due according to the following schedule:

  • Resume, to the dropbox before 0059, 5 September 2016
  • Quiz, completed online before 0059, 12 September 2016
  • Routine Message, to the dropbox before 0059, 19 September 2016
  • Group Project Informal Analytical Report, to the dropbox before 0059, 26 September 2016
  • Negative or Bad News Message, to the dropbox before 0059, 3 October 2016
  • Group Project Formal Proposal (Preliminary Version), to the dropbox before 0059, 10 October 2016
  • Group Project Formal Proposal (Final Version), to the dropbox before 1159, 23 October 2016 (although earlier would be appreciated)

That the final assignment is due at a different point in the week than other assignments is an artifact of anticipated grade submission deadlines. I cannot put in final grades until I have assessed all assignments–and it takes time to assess projects.

Additionally, discussions must be completed according to the following schedule:

  • Week 1, before 0059, 5 September 2016
  • Week 2 open, before 0059, 12 September 2016
  • Week 2 group, before 0059, 12 September 2016
  • Week 3 open, before 0059, 19 September 2016
  • Week 3 group, before 0059, 19 September 2016
  • Week 4, before 0059, 26 September 2016
  • Week 5, before 0059, 3 October 2016
  • Week 6, before 0059, 10 October 2016
  • Week 7, before 0059, 17 October 2016

Typically, in each class meeting’s report, I will indicate the next applicable set of due dates. Still, knowing them ahead of time makes drafting a personal schedule easier–which should, in turn, make getting done all of what needs to be done easier.

Assignment Materials

How to handle the discussions on which class relies needs some explanation. Some of it is taken care of by the course shell already, but most of it is not. As such, I present the following document, which lays out what I expect and how I will assess it in the September 2016 session: ENGL 227 Discussion Assignment Sheet. Hopefully, it will clarify matters in advance of them becoming confused.

I look forward to teaching more professional materials once again, and I look forward to working with the students enrolled in my section for the session. Both promise to be enriching experiences for all involved.

Updated 30 August 2016 to account for better information.