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GSOLE Joins TYCA for a Webinar Series in OLI

30 Oct 2020 3:27 PM | Amy Cicchino (Administrator)

This October, GSOLE collaborated with one of its affiliate organizations, the Two-Year College Association, to co-host a webinar series in online literacy instruction (OLI). Each of the three, 30-minute presentations addressed a topic that GSOLE and TYCA members identified as areas of interest in a Needs Assessment Survey the organizations distributed in early October. All three webinars had participation ranging from 32 to 40 individuals. Presenter information, brief summaries, and links to resources and recordings for each event are below.

Wednesday, October 21st “Managing Emotional Labor and Intellectual Workload”

Presenters for this event were…

  • Joanne Baird Giordano, from Salt Lake Community College, has worked in open-access OWI programs for over a decade, including teaching, designing courses, coordinating faculty development activities, and mentoring instructors. Her research and writing focuses on strategies for supporting two-year college students’ transitions to college reading and writing. 
  • Holly Hassel, Professor of English, North Dakota State University, has been professor of English at NDSU since 2018. Before that she was a faculty member for 16 years at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County in Wausau, WI, an open-admissions two-year college. She has taught online courses since 2004, including first-year writing, literature, and women's and gender studies courses. 

Giordano and Hassel opened by explaining why global events have increased teachers’ emotional labor and mental load. They defined emotional labor as “the degree to which our jobs entail recognizing, understanding, and managing the emotions of students, colleagues, and ourselves” and mental load as “invisible project management” associated with “anticipating and meeting the current and future needs of others.”

The presenters then shared the results of a 2019 TYCA Workload Task Force Survey that sought to identify how instructors coped with workload challenges, identifying the following strategies:

  • Front-load course development work
  • Keep notes and do course revisions after a class ends
  • Work on revising only one class at a time and let the others go
  • Stick with the same readings or assignments for multiple semesters
  • Use the same course materials for multiple modalities
  • Reduce number of assignments/activities
  • Reduce graded assignments
  • Limit graded revisions
  • Strategically schedule due dates
  • Reduce professional activities
  • Select responsibilities with released time or compensation
Giordano and Hassel then gave a framework (see presentation slide 14) to help teachers decide which tasks needed immediate attention because they were important and which could be done later or not done at all. Giordano and Hassel ended the webinar by asking participants to identify tasks that could fall into each of the four matrix categories. In all, this presentation provided individuals with strategies to moderate increased labor and workload while normalizing the challenges and feelings many instructors are experiencing during the pandemic.

Webinar resources are available here.

Thursday, October 22nd “A Palette for Peer Review”

Presenters for this event were…

  • Christie Bogle has taught at Salt Lake Community College since 2003 with special attention to ELL students. She has taught online for many of those years. As the lead member of an online composition team, she also supports faculty teaching online and using inclusive strategies like UDL.
  • Stephanie Maenhardt has taught at Salt Lake Community College since 1999. She spent nearly 7 years as a fully online instructor, teaching courses in composition, literature, and diverse cultures.  She has served as the Chair of TYCA-West, the TYCA-West National Rep, and the TYCA Archivist. She is currently the Program Chair for TYCA 2021.

Bogle and Maenhardt opened by explaining the benefits of peer review: it engages students in critical thinking, helps them evaluate their own learning and progress, and contributes to a classroom community. They then explained that peer review should meet the design of one’s particular course. For instance, teachers leading developmental courses might situate peer review around understanding the role feedback has in revision and reflecting on writing process while a first-year composition course’s peer review could divide the revision process into higher- and lower-order concerns accompanied by peer review protocols that reinforce assignment’s evaluation criteria. As well, delivery and modality need to be considered when designing the peer review process. Asynchronous peer review, for example, allows more freedom for timing, which can prompt a deeper engagement with a peers’ work, but is limiting because students cannot seek clarification in live-time.

Peer review can be made more approachable and manageable for students by creating flexibility and cognitively manageable processes. To do this, isolate the parts of the peer review process into different types of learning tasks. For instance, synchronous online peer review asks that students navigation technology (how to sign up for peer review and post drafts, how to meet with their partner), interpreting language (directions for peer review instruction and communicating with peers and instructor), task management (achieving the assigned tasks in the time allotted), and context (when should they use speech vs. chat, what should that peer-to-peer interaction look like). Once instructors have identified the separate tasks, they can design peer review materials to explicitly support students in each type of learning task.

The participants then broke up into two groups discussing the logistics of synchronous and asynchronous peer review at introductory and advanced levels. Slides for these conversations are available in the event resources folder.

Webinar resources are available here.

Friday October 23rd “Presence(s): Why and How”

Presenters for this event were…

  • Jason Snart is Professor English and Chair of Literature, Creative Writing, and Film at the College of DuPage, a large suburban community college in Glen Ellyn, IL, just outside of Chicago. His books include Hybrid Learning (Praeger, 2010) and Making Hybrids Work (NCTE, 2016). He is also the editor of the Online Literacies Open Resource, published by GSOLE.
  • Bernie Hoes is an Instructor in the English Department at Madison College. Bernie has been teaching composition for 20+ years. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and was recipient of Madison College’s 2013 Teacher of the Year award. Bernie describes himself as the quintessential face-to-face classroom teacher.

Snart and Hoes formatted their webinar on social, cognitive, and teaching presences to mimic a dialogue between two instructors: one posing problems related to online teaching with the other responding to these problems with suggested strategies.

They began with social presence, or the ability for students to feel like part of a cohesive class and experience the interpersonal connection needed to more deeply engage with learning. Online instructors often express frustration at the lack of classroom community in some online courses. To increase social presence, instructors can prompt students to participate in introductory activities with one another, meet their instructor through pre-recorded videos and conferences, and learn in discourse community groups with their peers.

Cognitive presence, defined as opportunities for students to engage with course material and peers as they construct knowledge, can be encouraged by virtual collaboration platforms, like Padlet or Google Slides. When selecting these technologies, Snart and Hoes recommend favoring technologies that work across devices and allow students to participate in activities without creating an account.

Finally, the presenters defined teaching presence as both the personality of the online teacher as well as students understanding the role they can play in teaching and learning from peers. Snart creates teaching presence by asking students to learn from each other through group projects where they assess peer learning and reflect on how they communicate knowledge to one another. Instructor teaching presence can be created easily through messaging systems like Remind, which helps teachers communicate to students by scheduling reminders and encouraging notes.

Webinar resources are available here.

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