Jeff had a good point/link on his blog yesterday about YouTube. I’m not completely sure I agree with him entirely (mostly though), but I haven’t read the IHE article about YouTube he mentions yet.
Oddly, the think that most immediately comes to my mind is not YouTube, the article in Inside Higher Ed, or Jeff’s take on it. Rather, the first thing I thought was “jeez, that’s something else I need to figure out for English 516!”
I’m teaching that course online in the winter term and I have an embarrassing amount of stuff to do to get ready to do that. Don’t get me wrong; I have a pretty good sense about what I’ll be doing this coming term, mainly because I’m in the third year of this particular cycle of the course. (What I mean by that is I have found that I have to pretty much throw out everything but the most foundational texts– things like Ong on writing as a technology, Selfe’s “Paying Attention” essay, a few other things– about every three years because they simply become too dated).
But as I have learned before, the tricky thing is figuring out how to make this stuff translate to the online experience. For example, one of the things I’ve done in this class in recent years that I think has been reasonably successful is student presentations on books from a selected reading list on “cutting edge” issues in computers in writing. A lot of it is stuff that I’d like to read but I haven’t gotten around to it.
Anyway, in a face-to-face setting, this is pretty easy to facilitate: students talk about their book project for about 10 minutes or so and they hand in a brief essay. I could of course just ask student presenters to write something that the rest of the class can simply read. But that doesn’t really capture the “presentation” experience. On the other hand, I could ask students to make a presentation and post it– an audio file, a video, etc. But that makes technical demands at a level that I’m not sure I can expect from online students.
So we’ll see. It makes me nervous to say this, but there is going to be a “making it up as we go along” element to this class in the winter….