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OLOR Effective Practices Publications, 2022-2024

Supervising Asynchronous Team Projects: An Exercise in Trust

by Bonnie McLean

Published in OLOR Effective Practices (22 Feb. 2024)

To mitigate negative self-perceptions related to team-oriented projects in online writing courses, I adapted a layered approach presented in Theresa Evans' (2021) “Supervising team projects effectively in an online writing course.” Evans’ implementation of the layered approach to team building has illustrated the need for equal partnerships between a student, the instructor, and their peers, independent of the instructor. Deviating from Evans’ use of a synchronous meeting as part of the project, I emphasized a fully asynchronous process. Yet this adaptation did not facilitate the trust that Evans and other scholars argue is necessary for true collaboration within online writing courses. Consequently, I realized my own need for a more explicitly responsive model to asynchronous project building, as well as a more comprehensive timeline for student trust-building, communication, and project creation.

Think Aloud Protocols in Composition II Courses: Let’s Talk About Research

by Laura Seeber

Published in OLOR Effective Practices (20 Feb. 2024)

For online asynchronous courses, students lack the face to face interactions that traditional in-person courses offer. The introduction to Think Aloud Protocols (TAPS) in an online environment afford students the opportunities to have an interactive experience with their classmates and get feedback. Think Aloud Protocols (TAPS) have students use interactive technology, such as a recording, to share their responses to their classmates' writing. Additionally, Think Aloud Protocols offer students a chance to hear what their writing sounds like aloud, such as synthesizing research sources with their own writing. This article explores the use of Think Aloud Protocols in an English Composition course focused on Research Writing. Their use permitted students to focus their research while fostering conversation about their research through brainstorming, workshop, and reflection. Students utilized various methods to record themselves for Think Aloud Protocols such as Screencast-o-matic, Screenpal, Youtube, and even their cell phones. The goal of this project is to create a more engaging and interactive experience in an online writing course for students.

Accessibility and Inclusivity to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students: Bridging the Gap with Loom

by Jubal Metzger-Smith

Published in OLOR Effective Practices (20 Sept. 2023)

Language delay or language deprivation is common with many deaf and hard (DHH) students and making the curriculum accessible can present unique challenges. Because DHH students do not fit into a "one size fits all" style of learning, educators are often confused about how to make the curriculum not only accessible but inclusive. Many DHH students communicate via American Sign Language (ASL), using sign language interpreters, yet the question that arises is how can sign language interpreters be used in an OLI setting? One tool that instructors and interpreters can use is Loom, a website designed for OLI and asynchronous learning. Loom allows interpreters to screen record and record themselves, while interpreting lessons, videos, and other digital instructions. When finished the recording is saved to a Loom account and closed captions are generated, making curriculum accessible and inclusive for deaf and hard of hearing students.

The "Provoker" Strikes Back: Fostering Student Community and Engagement through the "Provoker" Thread

by Aleisha Balestri

Academic discourse is an important aspect of the writing process. Yet, it involves conversations that students must feel both engaged with and comfortable participating in, especially since these discussions may involve challenging the positions of others or even rethinking one’s own perspective. Thus, facilitating a welcoming and supportive classroom community is vital, though this can be difficult in an online setting. However, by utilizing innovative resources, such as the Online Literacies Open Resources “Effective Practice” Journal, online instructors can learn various approaches and tools to address these concerns. One such approach is detailed in Scott Warnock and Lisa Schepis-Myers’ article, “Provoker Discussion Board Threads." In the Fall of 2022, I adapted this activity for my own online classroom. These discussion boards encourage the instructor to create and present a faulty and often outrageous argument to students, asking them to work together as a team to challenge “the provoker” in an online, asynchronous debate. These debates combat student disengagement by fostering dynamic conversations and teamwork, creating a sense of community while also showing students how academic discourse can be both enlightening and fun.

Reducing Barriers to Learning: Creating Accessible Learning Resources

by Katharine H. Brown, Mark Smith, & Heesun Yoon

Accessible document design is essential for the removal of barriers to learning. This article explores how the authors retrofitted over 300 learning resource documents and PDFs for accessibility and published them in a new Open Educational Resource (OER) for University Writing at Auburn University. Working collaboratively, the authors learned about accessibility standards and the technical processes of creating accessible documents and PDFs. Using the four principles document accessibility, including visibility, audibility, mobility, and searchability, the authors describe their retrofitting process and provide readers with considerations for document accessibility. Their article addresses OLI Principle 1: “Online literacy instruction should be universally accessible and inclusive.”

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