By Shakil Rabbi
This semester I have used an assignment in my first-year composition (FYC) classes that asks undergraduate students to digitally record a brief presentation of their essay outlines. I call this assignment a “Flash Presentation.” The activity provides students a way to use digital tools to improve their writing and thinking, two competencies listed in our university’s Student Learning Outcomes. It also allows me a way to give feedback to students early in the writing process (when they are formulating their ideas). Taken together, Flash Presentations help my students create deadlines for themselves early in the writing process and write more substantive, organized first drafts. Flash Presentations also help me offer just-in-time feedback on macro-level writing features, even before students begin drafting their essays. The better first drafts I receive also help me save some time typically dedicated to extensive feedback on full-text drafts.
Click here for a brief video I created for my students this term.
To explain this activity and how it fits into the writing process approach I take to FYC, in this post, I will first lay out the specifics of the assignment. I will talk about how I pivoted to a digital recorded format for the assignment because of the exigencies of online learning. I will then explain how the Flash Presentation activity helps students create deadlines for themselves early in the writing process. The fact that they have to present on the outline invites them to create better outlines and, in my opinion, better first drafts. I will end by discussing how moving this activity into a digital modality assessed asynchronously helps me provide better writing feedback.
By Jiali Wang
On July 1st, 2020, Dr. Troy Hicks facilitated a webinar on purposeful arcs of writing instruction and what they look like in his classroom. This blog offers a recap of that two-hour event. For those interested in access to a replay of this webinar, click here.
What are arcs of instruction?
Arcs of instruction consider writing tasks in the context of larger unit or curricular movements towards writing proficiency. Hicks asks teacher to consider what types of writers they want to mold at the end of multi-day, writing-centric unit:
The UC Irvine History Project (UCIHP) strives to help teachers integrate primary sources into classroom so that students can engage with texts like historians. Students will not learn by memorization; instead, they acquire historical thinking and strategies to think through and analyze texts. View the video below for an overview about what UCIHP's professional development is about and in what ways it supports history/social science teachers.