Update from Team Dana

For her TLT project, Dana Luciano is integrating blogs and ePortfolios into Contexts for the Study of Sexuality, ENGL-319/WGST-204. She is also hoping to integrate a Wiki into the course. Dana was interested in incorporating these technologies in order to increase student engagement with the field of Queer Cultural Theory. Because her students have such varying levels of experience in studying gender and sexuality, some students are less comfortable than others during class discussions; Dana hopes that blogs, ePortfolios, and a class Wiki will help foster active participation in these difficult discussions. Her other goal was to encourage students to learn from one another and work effectively in groups.

Dana has used blogs in previous classes, and has found that they have worked to increase student engagement with the topics of the class. They also provide a sense of lightheartedness that helps keep the class fun. Dana has introduced the class to the blog and she reports that they are responding with interest. One challenge that Dana faced was her uncertainty about evaluating student blog posts. In response to her request, team Dana put together a list of resources for developing and assessing blog and twitter assignments: (https://blogs.commons.georgetown.edu/blog/archives/771)

Dana is using ePortfolios as spaces for students to put their research and post their papers, including their final projects. In addition to helping students trace the trajectory of their learning, the ePortfolios will also be a space for students to read and comment on one another’s papers. This will encourage students to provide helpful feedback, incorporate one another’s feedback on the next paper, and learn from one another. Dana was looking for ideas to encourage students to write productive comments about one another’s papers, and we sent her a sample of a rubric that she can give students to help them comment on one another’s work more effectively.

Dana envisioned the Wiki as part of an assignment in which students generate definitions to words that the class has identified as keywords in American and gender studies. Students will choose the keywords that most interest them, and they will work in groups to research and come up with multiple definitions to a keyword. This assignment was based on Raymond Williams’ book Keywords, in which he discusses the evolving meanings of key words we use to understand our society. Team Dana has set up the Wiki and given Dana a tutorial, but because she is new to Wikis, she still has some reservations about providing technical support to her students. She will introduce this assignment to her class in November, and her team will be standing by to provide support.

That’s all the news for now! Team Dana will keep checking in, and we will let you know how the blogs, ePortfolios, and Wiki pan out as the semester continues to unfold.

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