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

The creativity on display is not just student work!

Congratulations to our colleagues who designed and taught the classes in which students developed the artifacts selected for the Student View exhibition, now in the Ferst Center for the Arts (until January 31) and then moving to the Woodruff Art Center (1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309) for one… Continue reading

October 27: Research and Pedagogy Colloquium

The Writing and Communication Program’s Research Colloquium, originally scheduled for Thursday at 11 AM, has been resecheduled for this Thursday, Oct 27 from 11-12 in Skiles 002. Michelle Gibbons will present on “The Speech Examplar in the Multimodal Classroom”, which discusses using “I have a Dream” and other MLK speeches… Continue reading

Digital Divide, part two: gender, sexuality, and ability

Ready for the next installment of our discussion about the digital divide, access, and privilege?  This time, we’ll focus more of our attention on how issues of gender, sexuality, and ability should be addressed when we incorporate new media and technologies into the communication classroom. We’ll start the seminar off… Continue reading

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Student View Exhibition at the Ferst Center!

One of the pleasures of being a teacher is seeing the often surprisingly varied, original work that students produce—particularly on projects that may seem challenging to us (“Will they grasp the assignment’s complexities? Is this too much to ask of freshmen?”), and to them (“How will I get this done?!”). Often in LCC courses, we ask our students to “Think Big,” and encourage them to do so with assignments that are creative, challenging, and broadly conceived (that is, we don’t spoon-feed them a specific essay topic or conventional, straightforward assignment outline). Continue reading

Teachable Moments: The "Gallery Walk"

Gallery Walk

This semester I have the privilege to be a participant in the Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars program here at Georgia Tech.  We (a small group of faculty members, instructors, and staff from a variety of disciplines) meet once a week to discuss issues related to our seminar topic, “student engagement.”  I am learning so much from our sessions, not only from the readings and discussions, but from the techniques our seminar leaders use to engage us with the topic at hand.
his week I took part in an exercise that I’m now excited to try in my class:  the gallery walk.
The exercise required us to read an article on how students learn, looking at the way the brain changes when new information is stored and recalled.  Continue reading