This fall semester, I’m doing something new with my online composition classes. It’s something I’m not really sure they are going to like. It’s something I’m not sure I’m going to like either. But that’s sort of the point of humanities education, right? Trying to communicate in new and more profound ways the various experiences of being human.
Sometimes those profound ways just seem a bit philistine.
This semester I’m bringing my online classes out of the LMS and onto the actual web. We’ll be using eCollege to house all of our grades and hand outs and important FERPA-protected work, but additionally, we’ll be using Twitter and Tumblr to engage with discourse communities that regularly get discussed by outsiders, but rarely in an unbiased, critical, or scholarly way. By using social media in this course, I hope to bring students to the proverbial trough of online social literacy, flash form blogging, and literacy practices of fandom communities. Some of the challenges I know we’ll face include technophobia, a disinclination to think of blogging as an academic form of writing, and trouble with the digital divide. I’m not sure exactly what to expect from my students on the whole, or the semester itself, but they already seem much more excited in Week 2 than they did in previous semesters.
Over the course of this semester I’ll be updating periodically to discuss my experience with taking Comp out onto the web. If you’re interested in following this journey, please subscribe to the Innovations blog, and feel free to comment with your suggestions, ideas, or questions. Here’s to composition in a digital environment, and in a digital age.