Hybrid Pedagogies: Epistemology and Empiricism

This week’s seminar picked up where we left off, revisiting the usage of Twitter in a classroom setting with two instructor demonstrations of Twitter backchannels, including one for an in-class film screening. Another instructor demonstrated how the Piazza platform had stimulated classroom discussion in similar ways to Twitter, which led to the first of two main questions of the night: What we want from using a hybrid pedagogy? Possibilities included more student engagement, or a better quality of student work and responsiveness, but we also voiced the desire to create a classroom space that had a different sense of community that is somehow different from that created by face-to-face interaction. Once our goals were articulated, we were faced with the more difficult question of how we can assess to what extent we get what we want. It is this second question that this blog post will focus on.

While discussion mainly centered on practical and logistical questions, as well as anecdotal successes and failures, the underlying assumptions that shaped our inquiries are both methodological and epistemological. Epistemology and methodology are inextricably linked. The purpose of this post is to review the reasons why epistemology and methodology are so contentious among researchers in composition theory and technical writing, as well as create a space for further discussion. Continue reading

Hybrid Pedagogies: Platforms and Tools for Virtual Learning

This week, in our weekly Brittain Fellow Research Methodology seminar on Hybrid Pedagogy, we discussed using Twitter as a tool for creating a “back-channel” of conversation at conferences, lectures, and in the classroom. Our conversation constituted the “face-to-face” component of our own hybrid classroom; our session technically began last week when we all attended the Emory DISC lecture “Seeing Time” by Edward L. Ayers during which we used a twitter back-channel (#discayers) to have a synchronous discussion about the talk. We then continued our conversation asynchronously on TECHStyle by commenting on Robin Wharton’s write up of the event “What Should a Hybrid Classroom Look like?” during the week leading up to our Wednesday evening Research Methodology seminar.

In our “face-to-face” discussion, we shared our experience using the Twitter back-channel during the talk, and many of us expressed feeling distracted by the effort to listen to the speaker … Continue reading

What Should A Hybrid “Classroom” Look Like?

Well, last night our hybrid classroom looked very much like the Jones Room and the new Research Commons at Emory’s Woodruff Library. Every spring, a number of Brittain Fellows choose to participate in an optional postdoctoral seminar on research methodologies. This semester, because the Writing and Communication Program is piloting hybrid pedagogy in our first-year composition and technical communication classes, we are using the design and assessment of hybrid pedagogies as a lens through which our examination of method is focused.

For those of you who may be wondering, hybrid pedagogy (also known as blended learning) combines face-to-face and distance or virtual learning strategies. Some thought-provoking recent studies have suggested hybrid instruction may–at least in some situations, for some students–create a more optimal learning environment than either traditional or wholly-online classes. Continue reading

Using Multimedia and Film as a Motivational Medium for Students

As a multimedia instructional librarian, I am continually amazed at how much more engaged and excited students become when they have to challenge themselves and break away from using what they consider to be the traditional modes of communication in an academic environment. For example, this can occur through having to create a website, a visually stunning poster, designing a three- dimensional model, or masterminding a feature film.

So often, the necessary emphasis placed on the message content may cause us to forget the importance of choosing the best method for delivering that content. The way information is transmitted has the potential to either obscure or enhance the message content.
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Little Eureka Moments

The final project for my ENGL1102 course “London City Comedy” is a collaborative digital edition of Tarlton’s Jests, a 17th century collection of anecdotes about the Elizabethan clown Richard Tarlton. The assignment consists of five parts: Continue reading

Material Studies

(Seminar by Sipai Klein, Julia Munro, Michael Tondre) 1. The meaning-making process writers face has been historically determined by the “technology” of paper. The integration of electronic communication has arguably changed writers’ meaning-making processes and the discourse produced by writers. In other words, the material contexts of writing have influenced… Continue reading

Putting Students to Work: Guest hosting a “best blog” round-up

I had an “a-ha” moment in first-year composition class last week. I was preparing for a conference, writing job letters, preparing my classes, and trying to keep up with grading. In short, something had to give. But what? And then it hit me – Blog Post of the Week! Every… Continue reading

Reflections on Digital Media Archaeology: Excavating Definitions

In this article I wish to reflect at more length on the topic of “archaeology of digital media,” which happens to be the topic of discussion this week for the weekly Digital Pedagogy Seminar for first-year Brittain Fellows. Although many literary scholars are certainly well-versed in historical approaches, myself included,… Continue reading