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University Writing Program > Course Information > Course Descriptions > UWP 298 - Computers and Composition Practicum
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UWP 298 - Computers and Composition Practicum

 (2 units)

 

  1. Catalog Description

    Participants in this course will develop hands-on experience both from the student’s perspective and the teacher's: I expect to spend at least half of every session having individual graduate students spend five minutes or so leading an activity as if they were the instructor, and then use the computers themselves to facilitate quick constructive critiques and brainstorming.  In this and other ways I intend to acclimate grad students to teaching in a computer classroom or in a computer-enhanced regular classroom: you will have actually seen the moves, thought about them, done them, and written about them.  Ideally one product of this practicum would be short videos of students in action, as well as detailed annotated scripts for some of the basic operations, to which new instructors could refer, as needed.  I’ll also expect every student to do at least two observations of an experienced CAI instructor, with a full write-up; each student will also generate at least one detailed script / annotated lesson plan for a UWP 1 / ENL 3 session or sequence, including back-up plans that anticipate glitches.

  2. Sample topics for the course:
    • Orientation to computer classroom
      • Equipment geography / layout (including lighting, projection, audio etc.)
      • Basic software and operating-system facts & foibles
    • Transferring work: from home; from office or workroom; via removable media; using SmartSite
    • What to do if the network goes down--low-tech workarounds for specific tasks and classroom activities
    • Troubleshooting networking problems (e.g., disconnect an Ethernet cable, see how this manifests on student's screen in context of various operations)
    • Bombproof and time-efficient techniques for conducting in-class writing assignments, from prompt / pickup to dropoff / print
    • Hybrid classroom: cultivating better face-to-face discussion using chat prompts or other pump-priming techniques--and how to follow up / integrate these discussions into future classes
    • How the computer can (but doesn't always) enhance every phase of the writing process--brainstorming-drafting-revision-editing-polishing
    • Sentence-crafting beyond simple drills: using computers to enhance collaborating on specific skills
    • Using the computer to cultivate large-scale editing moves (sentence, paragraph, block)
    • How to use (and how not to use) MS Word's "Track Changes" function
    • Annotated Webliography exercises, especially for research paper assignment (including the difficulty of detecting plagiarism from the blogosphere)
    • Using online resources intelligently to help resolve usage / grammar questions
    • Responding to disruptive students / preventing problems in the first place
    • How the computer classroom can be a good place to show how plagiarism can be detected / avoided
    • Getting more out of class lists / newsgroups / blogs / wikis: appropriate versus problematical prompts, effective management, damage control
    • Using SmartSite and showing how skills transfer / don’t transfer to other Course Management Systems (e.g., BlackBoard)

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