All posts by Zohra Saed

Bernard L. Schwarts Comm. Inst. Part Time 6/31/2014

The Myth of “Teaching in my Jammies”

Working from Home

This is the image I get when I think of online teaching. Curled up in a chair and feeling quite devilish knowing that I was typing up lectures for students to read on blogs while in my Hello Kitty jammies.

BUT, after the readings and discussions, I see a different way to teach hybrid Eng 28000 [Great Works I] classes online and maintain a sense of face time with the students. What about incorporating video responses? I know we are in the experimental stages so I can just daydream out loud. But what if there were two components to reading responses? One in which they responded on a blog with quotations and analysis. Another form of response, just to keep things fresh and exciting, would be video responses or question sessions. This would not take away from office hours, which I would always keep in person. But I mean what if their assignment was to design a set of questions about the texts and they tag someone in the class to ask and the person tagged responds back in video format. A kind of conversation that happens that allows online friendships to happen. I am in agreement with Meechal, my favorite classes were those that allowed me to build relationships with my classmates and the professor. We may not lose that in a hybrid environment. Perhaps by bringing play into the classroom, we can still create friendships. I have to say that I have made a lot of friends and professional contacts just talking to them in an online setting first then developing it f2f [my fav new acronym btw]. Perhaps this concept of tagging would then allow people to pick on each other — I only see this in a wordpress document with their emails connected to getting notifications, or a system that allows them to see when they are tagged by someone to respond to the questions.

This is only one assignment that I have to play out. But the medium of video and audio may be a nice way to build different kinds of listening and engagement skills. Audio alone is a good separate assignment because it teaches us to listen. These things would be fun and important ways of being connected to one another and feeling like a live [as in lively, noisy, constructively messy] class.

Video, Audio, Writing, and Images would be a way to introduce a variety of forms of communication and analysis strategies. Using these media formats as a way to scaffold toward in class meetings, papers, and a final performance [something that is an important part of my classes] would be actually some fun ways to teach an ancient literature course.

Last night, I watched a one woman multimedia performance “One Drop of Love” by Fanshen Cox DiGiovonni. It was absolutely amazing. The text, the translations was one way to absorb her life history. The audio¬† interviews with her family members, after she had just done a performance of her mother, her father etc, was powerful. The photos of her childhood and images of U.S. census records were all such an incredible way to immerse the audience in her life history.

I can’t help but think how useful this would be for teaching. How does Gilgamesh come alive? When we see images of Gilgamesh. When we see Cuneiform. When see video of the reception of Gilgamesh:

Epic of Gilgamesh

And students are allowed to role play characters or rewrite and perform [recite and record themselves] then I’d say that they’ve been immersed fully in the text and then can find the lines more alive, and more accessible.

So maybe there is a way to keep the sense of analysis, community, collaboration, and levity in a Great Works class even if it is hybrid. So maybe I shouldn’t be so nervous about hybrid classes… maybe…



Disrupt, Innovate, and Percolate…

I love any article that wants to bring up disruption to recreate, and bring back innovation. I’m a fan of Fernando Pessoa whose book on Disquiet has motivated much of my creative and intellectual work. Disquiet and disrupt are similar in philosophy. To do things without worrying about how neat it is offers a lot of freedom to create.

I have to do a little more research on LMS, but I imagine they are something along the lines of Blackboard, or Angel that is used in schools? I find these tools utterly useless and try to stay away from them in my courses. I have had a rather reckless, let’s use what is for free on the internet, attitude but since sitting and reading in this seminar, I wonder how that information is being used. Although, I believe my students to be much smarter about how they present, use and post information on such systems. I’ve said this in the meeting but I’ve loved using Prezi, Youtube,VoiceThread, and even instagram as ways to get them to think about the material we are researching, analyzing and presenting in class.

This article was so clear and broke down the history of this system in a way that helped me see what has been happening in education. To be honest, I’ve always gone on my own route and as an independent publisher and cultural curator, I’ve used the mediums that are in the real world, so to speak. In this way, we have connected to authors through twitter or tumblr and shared what we have been as a class saying about their works. This was tremendous fun and the reason why we should be doing digital online work that is not private, and controlled. Of course, this choice is in the hands of the student.

Potentiality: “This is the idea that within the use of every technical tool there is more than just the consciousness of that tool, there is also the possibility to spark something beyond those predefined uses.” This was perhaps the most powerful section of this article — finding the potential is key to learning in an open web learning atmosphere. I have so much more to think about in this field.

This article was a great way to break it all down without getting overwhelmed by the tech talk. But thinking of technology as educators. I’m curious about this freedom to innovate and how much mistakes are allowed to be made, particularly in an educational setting. I am all for working outside of LMS but I cannot help but think for copyright reasons that these settings are useful for collecting a knowledge database that students can benefit from. I am thinking here of the quotes collecting work I do with my students on blackboard and how useful it is for them while writing larger essays. But not sure if we are allowed to quote so much from a text, or even have poems to annotate as we have been doing. I suppose that can be replicated in a private blog setting and still find a way to avoid Blackboard.

I feel like my response is just thinking out loud. I am reading analysis of this work I’ve been doing for years for the first time and to be honest, I feel like I keep thinking “Wow” after each line. I appreciate the guidelines and breakdown of how technology and critical thinking works in a classroom. I am reluctant to give up class time. I feel like there is so much we accomplish in discussions and presentations but the Randy Bass essay is very helpful in thinking about how much time can be used even more efficiently or creatively through online time, collaborative or alone research work.