Course Postmortem

Following the practice I began last summer, I am continuing to reflect on past courses, making public both my course evaluations and my own sense of how a course went.

Summary Course Evaluation Numbers (17 out of 24 responded)

Overall Course Content: 13 rated Excellent; 4 rated Good; 0 rated Satisfactory; 0 rated Unsatisfactory; 0 rated Poor

Overall Instructor: 13 rated Excellent; 2 rated Good; 1 rated Satisfactory; 0 rated Unsatisfactory or Poor

Student Course Evaluation Comments (Uncensored)

What did you like about the course and/or instructor? Please give examples. What aspects of the course and/or the instructor’s methods should be improved? Please give examples. Please give additional comments and/or suggestions.
He was very clear and concise with instructions and feedback. He genuinely wants everyone to succeed and learn.
Very in control of the class and knowledgeable of his craft. Can answer questions as well as keep an interest. It is very easy to relate to the material due to how Mr. Bedsole addresses it, I think he did a great job.
Coursework was varied and readings were well chosen. I think he did a great job, show real interest in class and students
David was always willing to help and give useful tips and feedback.
I liked the online course website. The instructor could have been more confident in his teaching
The course led us through a number of projects that felt intimidating at first—such as conducting interviews and creating websites/blogs—but by the end of each project, I felt confident, like I had really come to grips with a valuable new writing/editing/publishing skill. I’m proud of my portfolio and confident going forward. N/A N/A
I really liked how practical and hands-on the course was. All the theory we learned we applied. David was a great instructor for the semester. None. Literally. You rock David!
Learned a great deal about editing that I could very well use in the future.
Mr. Bedsole was really understanding, clear, concise, and willing to help students.
I really enjoyed this course. I appreciated how each project built on the previous assignments. I like the portfolio aspect.
David is great! He treats his students respectfully; everything is open to discussion if you have a question or don’t understand. He knows what he is doing, you can tell because he facilitates great class discussions by asking critical thinking questions. You can tell he appreciates listening to what his students have to say

I’ve just submitted grades for this WEPO course, and as is my habit, I’m reflecting on how the course went.

In my Fall, 2015 WEPO course, I launched a writing initiative with the students. You can read about it here, but the idea was to use a WAW (Writing About Writing) framework to teach the course, where they would become writing and editing experts, creating material to start and continue a conversation about writing with FYC students.

In this course, I tried to modify and continue that trajectory. Responding to the feedback from the previous course, I tried to require less group work, because I agreed with them that it was a lot, and hard to maintain. I also cut down on the more theoretical readings, and focused more explicitly on using genre studies and the rhetorical situation in writing and editing tasks. I had them do a lot more editing–I tried to have them do both a composing and an editing project for all units. And, perhaps most importantly, we used multimodality as an entry point, which is something the students almost universally appreciated.

We still wrote about writing, however. The students struggled with the first task, the Why You Write Press Release, because it represented a real break from the academic writing to which they were accustomed. They also struggled a little with the Why You Write Web Package. For a lot of them, I think this is because they were learning functional literacies alongside rhetorical–many of them had never created a website before, even on a WYSIWYG platform like Wix or Weebly. Some of them focused so much on this that they gave the content short shrift, resisting expansion of the original press release.

However, by the time they moved to their portfolios, most of them had figured out the functional literacies, and there were several very impressive portfolios that came out of this course. They also seemed to like the Social Media Mini Promotion pretty well, though most of them did not do as much research as they needed to do in order to justify their choices.

They were a quiet class, many of them buried in their laptops for much of the course meetings. I was surprised, then, by the positive nature of many of the reflections–though sucking up is not unheard of in student reflections, many seemed to genuinely enjoy and benefit from the course, and they were not necessarily the ones I would have thought. Just goes to show you that it’s hard to judge.

Overall, I would say the course went a lot more smoothly this time. I will teach the same course design for my final section of this course this summer.

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