First Year Seminar — Elizabeth Manwell

Enrollment: 16

Typically, this class is discussion-based. Students engage in a lot of group work, write in some form almost daily, and discuss or present course material constantly. Writing is emphasized, and I use time to focus in on practicing skills they can use going forward (i.e., marking a text, close reading, developing a topic sentence, organizing paragraphs, peer review). Much of this work requires students to be next to each other—and since this won’t be possible, we will do a lot of remote work, because I think the peer-to-peer work is critical.

The graph below illustrates my current, tentative plan. Yellow is constant: what undergirds the work and what the scaffolded work is building toward—in that sense, both asynchronous and synchronous. Green represents weekly asynchronous tasks, blue synchronous.

Schematic diagram for weekly workflow in first year seminar course. The content of this diagram is repeated below in a format suitable for screen reader software.

The constant goals of the course

  • Reading Texts
  • Long-term writing projects

Asynchronous course content

  • Collaborative annotation
  • Quick assessment of comprehension
  • Written Reflections
  • Threaded discussion (moodle, flipgrid, etc) as preparation for synchronous sessions

Synchronous course content

  • Group A or B, every other week
  • strategic practice with reading/writing tasks
  • virtual discussion and student presentations
  • practicing reading: analysis and critical engagement

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