English

2007


A multilingual website brings phonological rules to life

Liberal Arts
Aleka Blackwell

 

Engl 6580/7580 Web-assisted Course Delivery at the Graduate Level

Liberal Arts
Maria Clayton
mclayton@mtsu.edu

It is no secret that the students that arrive at MTSU's gates are increasingly adept with and accustomed to a variety of technologies for gathering, manipulating, and disseminating information. How ready are we, am I, to meet their needs and expectations? At a recent EDUCAUSE's ELI Conference, the point was driven home to me that the catalyst pushing faculty towards teaching students through appropriate pedagogies will move beyond meeting the Millennials' technology demands/expectations, towards realizing that if we don't, we not only run the risk of not reaching them, but also of not getting our content across to them. This is a sobering thought. While I continue to invest time and effort in responding to this need in the undergraduate courses I teach, both lower and upper division, I feel the next step is to move my efforts into a graduate course, specifically, into Engl 6580/7580, Computers and Writing.

The purpose of this project proposal is to expand IT integration into a graduate course in the English Department. The objectives are three-fold: 1) to develop a heavily web-assisted [possibly a hybrid] version of the traditional Engl 6580/7580, Computers and Writing; 2) to develop a Desire2Learn template for English Department graduate courses; 3) to develop learning objects geared to rhetoric and composition that could be shared through MERLOT.

The Graduate Catalog's description of the course states, "Engl 6580/7580 Computers and Writing focuses on the practical and theoretical implications of computer technology and of the Internet and WWW for the teaching of writing." Because of its subject matter, the traditional format of the course already includes some use of technology: i.e. creating personal websites, creating teaching units in a digital format. However, through the proposed heavily web-assisted [hybrid] version of the course, students will not only gain personal knowledge of how computers and the internet contribute in their own composition process, but they will also enjoy content-specific use of D2L software as a model in developing their mini-courses and modules/lessons. Through the use of very prominent discussion board assignments—beyond the boundaries of the physical classroom—they will be actively engaged in a dialogue about writing and about new pedagogies in teaching writing.

 

"Using instructional technology in teaching variation in Standard English"

Liberal Arts
Mohammed Albakry
albakry@mtsu.edu

The purpose of my project is to integrate technology and a multi-media approach in teaching a new course in topics in linguistics (ENGL 4570 Standard English in Society). The proposed project aims at demonstrating how a sound teaching methodology can benefit from a multimedia approach to include both descriptive and prescriptive information relevant to our understanding of what the term "standard" really means when applied to language description. This approach is based on giving students the opportunity to listen to different regional and international dialects of the English-speaking world, and providing them with access to electronically stored texts from different genre (e.g. news language, academic language, and conversation).

The use of instructional technology, in the form of an educational website with audio and video files, in the class provided real linguistic data to illustrate language variability. By giving students access to a collection of representative language varieties, the electronic learning resource encouraged students to use a multimedia approach in their learning. This approach was based on giving students the opportunity to listen to different regional and international dialects of the language, accessing electronically stored texts from different genre (e.g.<b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal" fiction language, news language, academic language, and conversation), and teaching them how to target specific structural and lexical features by using commercially available software designed for linguistic purposes.

ASSESSMENT OF IMPLICATIONS

The multimedia approach encouraged students to be independent learners and gave them ample opportunities to analyze language systematically by interacting with different varieties of written and spoken English. Students' evaluations testified to the success of the multi-media approach in encouraging them to apply critical-thinking skills in analyzing language issues.

To create an innovative technology-based resource for the new course ENG (4570) to integrate traditional and computer-assisted methods of learning.

 

"PodCT: Real World Engagement in the Online Classroom"

Liberal Arts
Sandra Cavender
scavende@mtsu.edu

This grant will support my creation of podcasts and vodcasts that will invigorate and enhance the student-teacher relationship in my online classes, and, at the same time, promote convivial student-to-student relationships in the virtual classroom. The podcasts will be stand-alone learning objects accessible through iTunes University. I plan to produce the following types of podcasts:

  • On-the-go Lectures: These lectures, aimed at today's mobile student, will supplement and reinforce course content.
  • Guest Lectures: I plan to seek out guest lecturers who will motivate and inspire students. Possible candidates are professors at this and other universities, writers, and publishers.
  • Assignment Modeling: I will carry out selected class assignments so that students will have a thorough understanding of the requirements.
  • Instructor Collaboration with Others: These will be conversations with on-campus experts (valuable resources for students).
  • Student Community Projects: Students will create podcasts about special projects as supplements to their written reports.
  • My ultimate goal is to provide a rich and provocative learning experience for students using the technology that they have wholeheartedly embraced—the iPod.

 


2006

Alternative Media in History of English

Liberal Arts
Allison Smith


2004

INTEGRATING WEB-BASED COMPUTER-ASSISTED INSTRUCTION IN ENGLISH GRAMMAR COURSES

Liberal Arts
Aleka Blackwell
ablackwe@mtsu.edu

This proposal is to develop reusable computer-based learning objects for use in English grammar courses (ENGL4510/5510 English Grammar and Usage). ENGL 4510/5510 English Grammar and Usage is a course offered every semester (on average five sections per semester in addition to three sections offered during summer sessions). It is a popular course because Education majors are required to take it. This is a combined undergraduate/graduate course, and as a result, a number of ESL teachers also enroll in the course to earn certification.

Students who work full-time (teach or student-teach) enroll in the evening sections (which I typically teach). The evening sections of this course have a waiting list every semester. These evening sections meet only once a week, and students in my sections of the course (which I teach through lecture and class discussion, powerpoint presentations available on WebCT, exercises with answers available on WebCT, in-class exercises, and several exams) have commented for years that while concepts are clear to them during class meetings, the material becomes confusing once they study it independently during the week. The material is, indeed, difficult (especially the abstract grammatical concepts), and students have to work hard to earn passing grades in this course. A good textbook is only partly helpful to students, and homework exercises have not been sufficient in helping students overcome their difficulties in this course. As a result, on a weekly basis, I find myself offering two-hour review sessions which 8 to 10 students from each section typically attend.

It is essential that students succeed in this course given that the majority of them will have to teach grammar concepts when they become school teachers, and some will have to explain these concepts to ESL students in their classes. To address this problem, I propose to develop computer-based learning activities for students in this course (activities which I will also make available to faculty teaching alternate sections of ENGL 4510/5510 and to the University Writing Center).

1.2 Objectives:

  • The materials I develop with this grant will be used to teach, review, and test the following major grammar concepts:
  • Constituent structure (In this course, students have to learn to identify noun phrases, verb phrases, prepositional phrases, adjectival phrases, adverbial phrases)
  • Verb tense patterns (Students have to learn how to create and analyze the English verb tenses including passive, active, and middle voice)
  • Complex sentences (Students have to learn how to identify and create simple, compound, complex, compound-complex sentence structures)
  • Discourse patterns (Students have to learn how to create interrogative, imperative, negative, affirmative, exclamative sentences) <li>Mechanics (Students have to master punctuation rules and other rules related to usage)
  • Ultimately, students in this course must learn the concepts well enough to be able to teach them not only to native speakers of English but also to ESL students who are likely to be in their classes once they become school teachers.

1.3 Procedure

I plan to create reusable learning objects of three different types: self-correcting quizzes, maze exercises, and interactive activities. I believe the variety will appeal to students. In addition, different concepts lend themselves better to different types of computer-assisted instructional activities. Each type of activity is described in turn.

1.3.1 Self-correcting quizzes.

Self-correcting quizzes will follow the format of the attached quiz (Sample A). Using Respondus, quizzes of this nature will be created for all of the major concepts taught in this course. Each quiz will include 10 questions with multiple options, each of which will provide feedback to the student.

Thanks to this grant, I developed 30 interactive grammar exercises covering a variety of topics, such as constituent structure analysis, English verb tenses, adjectival modification, and mechanics. These exercises are mazes. Students are able to follow different paths in the maze each time they complete an exercise. They can then return to the exercise and follow a different path to continue reviewing the concepts. Within each exercise, I have included numerous explanations of difficult concepts and additional examples to supplement the information presented in the textbook. I have now used these exercises in my face-to-face and my online Modern English Grammar and Usage courses. The exercises are available to students within WebCT, and I can, therefore, also track whether students access the exercises and whether they complete them as assigned. Students have responded very positively to these exercises. They seem to like the fact that there is no punishment for selecting a wrong answer. Instead, they reach screens in which I explain their error (I also can praise them for seslecting an answer that's partly correct) and give them encouragement to continue. In addition, they like that these exercises can serve as a text (with graphics and images) independent of the lecture notes and the course textbook. I have also developed 25 more traditional online quizzes for this course. Students in my course may now access some of these quizzes for practice and others for a grade.

 

Creation of an Online Writing Center (OWC)

Liberal Arts
Trixie Smith
tgsmith@mtsu.edu

As a relatively new tenure-track faculty member in the field of composition and rhetoric, my duties in the English department as Associate Director of Writing Programs include overseeing the University Writing Center (UWC) and training the graduate students who serve as Writing Assistants in the center. It is my goal to advance the UWC's present program so that we can better serve the MTSU community of writers; these changes include enhancing the center's services through the expansion of technology and online resources. The English department is supporting my administrative duties by providing reassigned time from teaching in the fall and spring in order to oversee the UWC, among other responsibilities, but I have no such support in the summer; consequently, I am seeking ITD summer funds, for the first time, in order to make one specific improvement in technology for the UWC.

The purpose of this project is to develop an Online Writing Center (OWC), which would greatly extend the services of the UWC. The OWC would be easily accessible from the university's website, thus making its features (see IC for an explanation of these features) available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, an OWC would allow us to provide services to a number of students who do not traditionally use the UWC, including many commuting and non-traditional students with tight schedules, students who are afraid to work with someone in the brick and mortar center, and students enrolled in online courses, as well as limited services to members of the community, including alumni and MTSU partners, who may desire writing help but are unable to travel to campus. Additionally, area high school staff, students, and parents could benefit from a devoted OWC's information base and resources, while MTSU and the English Department would benefit from the positive promotion and image created by the site.

In "Online Writing Labs (OWLs): A Taxonomy of Options and Issues" [From Computers and Composition 12 (1995)] Muriel Harris, who designed one of the premiere OWLs at Purdue University, and Michael Pemberton, director of the writing center at Georgia Southern University, say that OWLs can "enhance and expand" the present work of writing centers while "tak[ing] advantage of the strengths of online environments" to work with "local conditions and writing center theory" (145). However, they warn that developing a local OWL (or OWC) requires analysis of all of the possible configurations that will work best for the goals of the local writing center, the mission and technology of the university, and the needs and technology of the students and community. In Taking Flight With OWLs: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work (Erlbaum 2000) James Inman and Donna Sewell argue that "Writing centers occupy a dynamic position at the crossroads of computers and composition, distance education, and composition theory, pulling ideas, theories, and pedagogies from each"

The purpose of this project was to develop an Online Writing Center (OWC), which would greatly extend the services of the UWC. The completed OWC is easily accessible from the university's website, thus making its features available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the OWC allows us to provide services to a number of students who do not traditionally use the UWC, including many commuting and non-traditional students with tight schedules, students who are afraid to work with someone in the brick and mortar center, and students enrolled in online courses, as well as limited services to members of the community, including alumni and MTSU partners, who may desire writing help but are unable to travel to campus. Additionally, area high school staff, students, and parents benefit from the OWC's information base and resources, while MTSU and the English Department benefit from the positive promotion and image created by the site.

The new website includes an announcements page and revolving photo gallery of UWC events; basic information pages; a virtual tour of the center and its services; resource pages for faculty and students, which includes lists of services, links to all UWC handouts, and links to other online resources for research and writing; directions and a link to online tutoring, Sunday through Thursday nights 8:00 pm to midnight; and links to our newsletter published each semester, The Blue Writer.

Future plans for the OWC include adding an online scheduler, which will allows students to schedule (and cancel) their own appointments. We also plan to add a space just for the staff, so we can do away with the yearly paper version of the staff manual. Other additions will be made in accordance with center needs and user requests. I would like to thank the ITD Committee for their support of this project.


2003

English Department WebCt Course Development Materials--Composition

Liberal Arts
Kelly McKee
kmckee@mtsu.edu

To develop standard course WebCt templates for English compsition courses. Advisory material specific to the templates and the particular pedagogical needs of the English Department will also be created.

 

English Department WebCt Course Development Materials-Literature

Liberal Arts
Maria A. Clayton
mclayton@mtsu.edu

To develop a training package and accompanying templates(s) for English Department literature courses--undergraduate and graduate. The goal of this project is to facilitate and promote the use of instructional technology, specifically, WebCt, for web-assisted and web-based courses within the department. In a department of 72 fulltime faculty, 14 adjunct instructors, and 25 GTA's, only 15 faculty members use WebCt and only 4 of these 15 use WebCt for Web-based purposes. 


2002

Interactivity of the CD

Liberal Arts
Elvira Casal
ecasal@mtsu.edu

During the spring of 2000, work began on the rough draft of the explanatory material and some of the exercises that will be used in the English 1040 course taught through the Writing Center. Since the CD will not be needed until spring 2003, more material will be developed during the summer and fall of 2002. The "regular" English 1040 class in the fall of 2002 will provide an opportunity to test the materials before they are given to the students taking the course through the writing center.

Because of enrollment concerns, efforts are underway to make the CD more interactive.

The current goal is to have enough material ready for students to use (under the appropriate level of faculty supervision) in the fall1040 class, as well as, providing a BETA version of the CD for use in the spring of 2003. After use in the Spring, final polishing will be done so that the material can be included as part of the regular teaching apparatus in the Writing Center.

 

Women and the Internet

Liberal Arts
Elyee Rae Helford
ehelford@mtsu.edu 


2000


The Experience of Literature

Liberal Arts
Maria Clayton
mclayton@mtsu.edu

Maria will be developing the first online, first semester Sophomore Literature course- Eng 211, The Experience of Literature. This course will allow long distance learners to log on and participate in the same quality of education enjoyed by their on-campus counterparts.

 

Multimedia Classroom Presentation on Cultural and Historical Backgrounds of Literature

Liberal Arts
Rebecca King
rking@mtsu.edu

Rebecca will be using PowerPoint to develop a presentation on 19th-century British Literature. This presentation will include video, CD-ROM's, audio, still photos, and text to facilitate students understanding of differences and similarities between their own experiences and those represented through literature.