Composition Goes Online: How a Small Pacific Island is Blogging into the Future

Composition Goes Online: How a Small Pacific Island is Blogging into the Future

Michelle Bednarzyk (University of Guam, Guam) and Merissa Brown (University of Guam, Guam)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-880-2.ch014
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In the spring of 2007, English faculty members at the University of Guam began researching the need for online education options that could be offered by the University. With the support of other English faculty, Merissa Brown proposed, created, and implemented the first fully online composition class and taught it in the spring semester of 2008. Michelle Bednarzyk took over the class in the fall of 2008. This case will provide a history of the course’s development, insights from both instructors about the process of teaching this way within the diverse population that makes up the University’s student body, and offer suggestions they have for future successes based on challenges they faced. Finally, this document will argue that students at the University are ready for more technology in their classroom environments and should expect the University to accommodate their requests in an effort to successfully prepare them for their careers.
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One of the most interesting parts about the development of EN110 Online is that it costs the financially strapped University nothing. In order to understand how this happened, it is important to learn a bit about the history involved. Former University adjunct instructor Merissa Brown secured a full-time faculty position in the division of English and applied linguistics (DEAL) that began in January, 2007. Before moving to Guam, Brown had taught for the University of Illinois as a graduate teaching assistant and for Robert Morris College as an adjunct instructor. Guam is the first place she ever came professionally face to face with a chalk board as the only readily available classroom media). Brown had been teaching composition and communication classes for the University since 2005 and had also been teaching online for the University of Illinois at Springfield. In her UOG classes, she always utilized whatever computer mediated communication tools she could reasonably expect her students to access. This included assignments due by email, online grade books, and posting class documents on her Web site.

Christopher Schreiner, acting associate dean for DEAL and communication and fine arts (CFA), approached the newly hired instructor in early January about taking her experience and shaping it into something new for UOG. Brown began seriously looking at the resources available and what the demographically diverse group of UOG students desired, understood, and had real access to in the way of technology. A simple Google-search provided her with countless questionnaires that could be reasonably put to use. She was looking for a simple yes/no format consisting of multiple questions regarding technological skill sets, personal motivation, and access to reliable internet sources. Students would fill out these questionnaires in order to communicate as a group if distance education was really something that the University needed to make a priority or pool resources towards. Allen County Community College provided the best template (ACCC Student Skills Quiz, 2007) and a group of forty-six yes/no learning assessment questions were produced for a UOG specific survey (see Appendix A). Many of these questions involved explicit computer and internet functions and jargon that a student would need to understand in order to be successful in an online course. In addition, many questions discussed personal motivation factors that were also very telling about a student’s ability to maintain their interest in a course that they would not have to physically attend.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Mark C. Goniwiecha
Yukiko Inoue
Yukiko Inoue
Chapter 1
Roisin Donnelly
This chapter discusses the complexities of blending technologies and problem-based learning (PBL) group interaction within the context of academic... Sample PDF
The Nature of Complex Blends: Transformative Problem-Based Learning and Technology in Irish Higher Education
Chapter 2
Linda De George-Walker, Abdul Hafeez-Baig, Raj Gururajan, P. A. Danaher
One of the most significant challenges in learning and teaching is to maximize successful and sustainable learner engagement. The growing literature... Sample PDF
Experiences and Perceptions of Learner Engagement in Blended Learning Environments: The Case of an Australian University
Chapter 3
Martin R. Reardon
Dewey’s concept of experience as an active engagement with a process of action, feedback, and reflection permeates the setting of the case reported... Sample PDF
Instructional Leadership and Blended Learning: Confronting the Knowledge Gap in Practice
Chapter 4
Chris Morgan, Janie Conway-Herron
This case study reports on the results of a two-year pilot study in blended learning in an undergraduate creative writing program at Southern Cross... Sample PDF
Blended Learning in a Creative Writing Program: Lessons Learned from a Two-Year Pilot Study
Chapter 5
Joan E. Aitken
Blended learning is an instructional method that opens the channels of communication in the learning process so that there are increased... Sample PDF
Blended Learning for Adaptation to Needs
Chapter 6
John Lidstone, Paul Shield
This paper examines the enabling effect of using blended learning and synchronous internet mediated communication technologies to improve learning... Sample PDF
Virtual Reality or Virtually Real: Blended Teaching and Learning in a Master's Level Research Methods Class
Chapter 7
P. Toyoko Kang
This chapter provides an argument endorsing blended learning and teaching for foreign language (FL)/second language (L2) courses, in lieu of total... Sample PDF
Teaching Online: What Does Blended Learning Require?
Chapter 8
Roberto Di Scala
This chapter tackles the implementation of the way online courses of English language are structured within the on-line degree courses of the... Sample PDF
The Perfect Blend?: Online Blended Learning from a Linguistic Perspective
Chapter 9
Yukiko Inoue
This chapter discusses the case of a pilot course implementing blended learning at an American Pacific island university. This case provides a... Sample PDF
Reflections: Two Years after Implementing a Blended Educational Research Course
Chapter 10
Hong Lin, Kathleen D Kelsey
In recent years, Wikis, an open Web-based editing tool, have increasingly been used for collaborative writing projects in classrooms. Hailed as a... Sample PDF
A Case of Using Wikis to Foster Collaborative Learning: Pedagogical Potential and Recommendations
Chapter 11
Kam Hou Vat
This case investigates a set of empowerment concerns in the context of transforming classes of student and teacher learners (considered as... Sample PDF
Virtual Organizing Professional Learning Communities through a Servant-Leader Model of Appreciative Coaching
Chapter 12
John J. Doherty
This chapter discusses the role that technology can play in a first-year Honors seminar. For the purposes of the chapter, blended learning is... Sample PDF
Bothering with Technology: Building Community in an Honors Seminar
Chapter 13
Kai Masumi
This chapter discusses how to adapt online learning to teach Japanese language courses. The author overviews the current language education... Sample PDF
Online Materials for Teaching Japanese
Chapter 14
Michelle Bednarzyk, Merissa Brown
In the spring of 2007, English faculty members at the University of Guam began researching the need for online education options that could be... Sample PDF
Composition Goes Online: How a Small Pacific Island is Blogging into the Future
Chapter 15
Richard Engstrom
This case outlines the author’s experience teaching a large Introduction to American Government course using a hybrid classroom/online approach. The... Sample PDF
Integrating Classroom and Online Instruction in an Introductory American Government Course
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