Writing as Design: course syllabi analysis (draft)

Between Baldwin’s and Prof R’s syllabus, I prefer the former. Although Prof R’s breadth of assignments and organization through hyperlinks is impressive, the syllabus lacks the unity and cohesion of Baldwin’s. In order to be truly successful, however, Baldwin’s assignments will need to be further clarified in class discussions, in particular the technical details of website building.

  • how teachers assign reading and writing to scaffold learning

Baldwin: warning that image narrative assignment requires forethought (start image collection early), direct engagement with readings in the assignments

Prof R: students asked to define key theoretical terms in publically shared blog posts  (“rhetoric,” “audience,” “genre”) before working on assignments; difficult to evaluate scaffolding because all assignment prompts were linked to from the course calendar and not explicitly discussed in relationship to one another

  • what kinds of writing theories inform the pedagogy both explicitly and implicitly

Baldwin: writing as multimodality, writing as criticism (asks specifically for theoretical rationale for all major assignments), writing as l’esprit de l’escalier, writing as reflection (MyStory-esque); writing as remix; writing as learning

Prof. R: writing as persuasion (“particular situation” and “persuasive nature of all writing” in the introduction gave it away), writing as multimodality (Storify); genre theory; writing as learning

  • the role of design in these classrooms

Badwin: using “available designs” of the first two assignments, creating a new design for “writing spaces” assignments

Prof. R: ???

  • the weight on analysis vs. production vs. delivery, etc.

Baldwin: unclear whether students are expected to code the websites (since Java and HTML basics are mentioned)

Prof R: appears to be well-weighted between blog posts, analysis, and production

  • clarity of websites, instructions, assignments

Baldwin: good clarity, except for the “Writing Space” assignment: “Unify and expand your web sites for Projects #1 and #2 to present a space of multimedia (self-)writing.” Does it mean that the old pages are erased/written over; is it remixing and transforming? “Examples” in the assignment prompts are useful without being too limiting

Prof R:

-although all the assignments are described well by hyperlinks in the calendar, a separate webpage giving a brief overview of all assignments required would’ve been helpful

  • clarity of course objectives, assessment, etc.

Prof R:

-blog posts and participation rubrics on the syllabus given, but nothing in relationship to particular assignments (I assume that the rational for this is discussed in actual class)

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