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As the semester has gone on, I’ve been identifying things that I wish I’d done differently, or things that I know I want to change next time I teach 1303. I thought I would try to catalogue them, both so I have them written down in an accessible place for next time, and to organize my thoughts about where I’ve been:

  • I won’t use the Ch. 1 exercise about “problematic and significant” questions. I’ll come up with my own, better introduction to the process of writing.
  • I want to focus more on the process of writing, rather than the sequence of assignments in the book. That’s not to say that I won’t change up the sequence of the lessons, which I’ll get to in a moment, but I feel like I haven’t given my students enough context about how to write. How to begin, how to generate ideas, how to draft, revise, give feedback, etc. We’ve incorporated some of those items in the course, but it feels like they’ve been little mini-lessons, rather than a recurring theme of the course.
  • I will re-order the sequence of the chapters, which I did a little of on the fly already. We’ll go through Ch. 1-3 as usual, although I’ll probably take three weeks to do those, rather than two. Then we’ll read and discuss Ch. 4, which begins an analysis of writing, but we’ll hold the nuclear power assignment. We’ll proceed to Ch. 5 and discuss angle of vision, and then do Ch. 7 on narrative, since the Ch. 5 skills of angle of vision and descriptive writing techniques translate easily into the narrative (this was my on the fly syllabus revision this semester). Then, we’ll go back to Ch. 4 and do the assignment there, and then proceed to Ch. 6, since the skills used to analyze the nuclear power articles are helpful for Ch. 6’s summary and strong response. I’m afraid that they’re too far apart, though, as the Ch. 5 and 7 skills would be too far apart if Ch. 6 came between. Finally, we’ll conclude with Ch. 13.
  • I’ll use completion grades on early assignments, perhaps for all the BWEs. I feel like I’ve spent way too much time grading assignments that, in the grand scheme of things, don’t count for very much. I’ve probably spent almost as much time grading them as my students put into them in the first place, which seems to be a bad balance. I’ll save my grading energy for the larger pieces.
  • I’ll devote more time to the larger pieces, so that we have more time for drafting. I haven’t had a chance to view very many of my students’ drafts, because we’ve been trying to hit deadlines. Some of that is because of Hurricane Rita, but some of it is just that I didn’t structure enough time for drafting and my responding to drafts.

I’m sure there are other revisions I’ll want to make to the course, but these seem like a good start. At the very least, I feel like they’re organized and not just floating around in my head, where they’re liable to get lost.

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