Fresno State DISCOVERe Summer Institute | Day 03

Authored by Jeremiah Alexander Henry

DISCOVERe Day 3 Reflection

Purely from a social justice point of view, I am passionate about equal access to higher education; it seems like affordable learning solutions and open education resources are a big part of the conversation here. I am particularly interested in Intellus’ framework in curating free materials and presenting them to my students in a way that matches the weekly or modular structure of my courses. Too, having a single place for input/output of course materials seems pretty convenient. While the analytics for student engagement look cool, I do not think they will add anything above or beyond what I already do with incorporated formative assessment.

To paraphrase something I heard on the first day of the institute, students who do not speak in class will speak through their devices; this idea was running in my mental back channel during the breakout sessions this afternoon. Although not limited to this, one of the things that makes tablets so powerful is their multifunctionality and mobility. They are portal multimedia recording devices. I used to think that tablets excelled only at media consumption but not generation. Today I realized that through the integrated microphone(s), camera(s), attachable probeware, and (hopefully) keyboards, tablets have really come in to their own in terms of generating media and data. The tablet’s cameras and microphones along with accompanying editing and publishing software have inspired me to think of a new activity for my first year writing students (and any course for first-semester freshmen, for that matter).

Helping my students more fully integrate themselves with university life and culture is an area of my teaching I believe I could improve upon. To this end, one activity I would like my tablet students to do early on in the semester, perhaps within the first two weeks, is to explore campus and find a place that they believe would be a good place for them to study. I see this taking the shape of a visual and audio essay that also mimics a writing process—I might have them take still images and post that somewhere as an initial draft, maybe writing a paragraph about how or why they believe this place on campus will be good for their study time; once that has gone through a feedback loop, their next draft will be to create a more fully realized video. My underlying thinking for the value of this activity is threefold: they will be invited to explore the campus; they will have to learn some of the functions of their device, both hardware and software; and they will be re-introduced to a composition process that involves inquiry, exploration, drafting, feedback, revision, and publication.

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