Documentation:Learning Design/Rob's Page

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Template: English 100 Collaborative Text Analysis

Activity type: Scaffolding, Culminating

Linked activities:

Individual assimilation of material, practice with analysis, then collaboration and group analysis and the creation of a discussion post.

Interaction types:

Learner/Material, Learner/Learner, Learner/ Instructor

Facilitation requirements:

High level of instructor scaffolding, monitoring of groups and discussion, weaving of discussion summary.

Activity Patterns:

Assimilate

Introduction to literary analysis and terminology and specific literary genre through textual material, possibly through other media.

Identify/Analyse

Individually, students practice literary analysis and the identification of specific literary features.

Collaborate

Students placed into groups (four works well) and asked to complete a project, the analysis of a specific unidentified text.They are asked to analyse form and content.

Analyse

Students work together to analyze the text.

Create

Groups create a discussion forum post with their response to the problem.Instructor gathers the results and produces a summary -- could lead to some new and interesting insights.

Activity tasks:

Case or Example: (if needed)

This poem is actually what the Beatniks called a shape poem, "The Bomb" by Gregory Corso; in the original, it appears in the shape of a mushroom cloud. In this case we were studying Beatnik poetry. Students would not be given the title of the work nor the author and asked to analyze the work for use of language, metaphor, simile, symbols etc. and then to provide a content analysis -- what do you think the author is trying to say? As well, they would be expected to identify the genre. (For the eventual assessment, which was based on this activity, I had to find an anonymous Newfoundland author whose works did not appear on the internet).


St. Sophia peeling over Sudan

O athletic Death Sportive Bomb

the temples of ancient times

their grand ruin ceased

Electrons Protons Neutrons

gathering Hersperean hair

walking the dolorous gulf of Arcady

joining marble helmsmen

entering the final ampitheater

with a hymnody feeling of all Troys

heralding cypressean torches

racing plumes and banners

and yet knowing Homer with a step of grace

Lo the visiting team of Present

the home team of Past

Lyre and tube together joined

Hark the hotdog soda olive grape

gala galaxy robed and uniformed

commissary O the happy stands

http://www.litkicks.com/Texts/Bomb.html

Learning Environment requirements:

Very few in the face to face context; for the online adaptation it will be necessary at the very least to use the discussion and chat functions in Blackboard.

Please choose two activities that you use or have used in your designs and answer the following questions:

· How would you characterize this design and why do you think it is successful?

1. I have yet to create a design here that has been tested with students. I know in my f2f projects that collaborative problem-solving exercises have worked very well to generate ideas and stimulate learner engagement.

2. I have a sense that the collaborative case study generation exercise that we are developing for Psych 3991 will also yield interesting results.

· What is the role of the facilitator/instructor, what is the learners' role?

1. Students are assigned a problem situation and given an allotted time to come up with a solution; I used this task for an undergraduate English course. Before the exercise, the instructor provides students with background information on a specific genre of literature. Students are also given time during class to analyze a work of literature associated with this genre, and ask questions and reflect on this genre. Once the instructor senses that the students have grasped the basic tenets of the instruction he/she can place students into groups of four or five for the problem-solving exercise. In my case, students were give an example of poetry without the name and author and asked to determine if it was representative of the genre we were studying; if so, what made it typical or atypical of the genre we were studying; they were also asked to analyze formal aspects, including the rhyme scheme, the use of metaphor and imagery. I gave them thirty minutes to complete the exercise and then we took up the results as a group. Not only did students have the benefit of learning from their group members, they also had an opportunity to participate in a class discussion. I found the exercise yielded some interesting insights which, though not always congruent with the standard critical literature (this is not a bad thing), demonstrated some very creative approaches to the material.

2. The Case study exercise for PSYC 3991 asks students to develop a case study exercise. Instead of students analyzing a case, they have to collaborate in groups of four and develop the ideas and content that they feel would be a challenging exercise for a student at their level. In order to complete the development of a case study in psychology, students would have to have a very good grounding in the subject materials. The instructor provides the parameters for the assignment; the grading rubric, and has the option of assigning groups. Because these students are at a high level, they will require less structure than they would need for a first year course. The instructor can ask them to choose a subject on resiliency that they find particularly interesting and develop a case study for another peer group to evaluate or analyze. Students can determine their roles and the subject for their case. Learners will get valuable experience in collaboration and analysis and gain a deeper understanding of the subject material.


· Under what conditions does this activity work and under what conditions does it not (i.e facilitation, learning environment)

1. Because they are first year students, there has to be a high level of scaffolding. The instructor has to do a lot of preparation work; students need to be introduced to the specific genre and they need exposure to a number of different examples of the genre of literature being studied. I went over a few examples in class and assigned homework. Students also need to be familiar with the basic tools of poetry analysis; metre, rhyme scheme, symbols etc.

2. Students need to be at a fairly advanced level in terms of their studies. They need to know how to conduct research in psychology, they need to have been exposed to problem solving exercises and feel confident with the subject material. For those not familiar with the field of psychology and its research methodology it might be challenging to complete this exercise. However, peer support could help with this issue.

· What are the barriers you see to the success of this design (i.e.constraints/costs/org/time factors)?

1. I think there are limitations to the number of times one can use this instructional strategy in the classroom. Students must read a certain number of core texts and complete a pre-designed curriculum in order to receive credit for the course. In the end, there is not a lot of time to experiment with different teaching strategies and the department I taught in still emphasizes the use of the standard transmission method of lecturing.

2. Again, I think time is a factor. PSYC 3991 is quite reading intensive; there are a number of advanced journal articles for students to consider. Having them generate a case and then review the case of a peer group will take a lot of time. On the other hand, this exercise will ease the burden on the OLFM who will be grading peer-reviewed collaborative cases as opposed to an assignment from every student. There is a fair degree of organization and coordination involved. Students must complete their case study and submit it for peer-review withing a set time period. The instructor must ensure that this exercise proceeds on schedule.

· How can we share these practices as a department and then with others?

1. I think this activity could be applied in the online context. Students could be divided into groups and given a problem situation and then asked to report on their results in the discussion forum. This could make for some lively discussion as it did in the classroom environment.

2. I hope the case study generates a very positive student response. If so, it could be circulated as an idea for other departmental members to consider.