No more scaffolded assignments, mostly, for right now, a thread on pandemic resilient pedagogy, by me, doing the best I can in a trying time. #ResilientPedagogy #AcademicChatter #RemoteTeaching 1/13
In general, I love scaffolded assignments: they produce mini-deadlines and mini-deliverables and emphasize process and mitigate the possibility of last-minute-panic-writing, while also making cheating more trouble than it's worth. Yes. But. 2/13
12 week terms and scaffolds means that if each component builds on the next, I have a super-fast grading turnaround time, and things are due every week. That's a lot. And then chasing laggards on top of that. It requires me to be 100% fully functioning and *ON*. 3/13
Last year, I had an insane amount of travel and obligations that made this kind of scaffolding very very hard for me to stay on top of. I became a bottleneck, grading all the time, counting submissions, emailing things. I began to rethink. 4/13
Scaffolded assignments build a chain of dependencies: miss one step and everything falls off track. I needed to go more modular, because *I* was the Flaky Variable of Unpredictable Availability. But the pandemic has made everyone vulnerable in this way now, too. 5/13
Now I still employ scaffolds, but they're completion exercises. No graded item is dependent on other graded items being completed or graded first. I'm working to create accountability and process, but I'm not GRADING everything, and that's helping. 6/13
I don't want to have to give 38 students a one week extension on each of the next three things because I only graded 32 "intro paragraphs" by my own deadline. I don't want students to hav a graded assignment every week in the back half of this term. It's too much. 7/13
My Media course has 10 totally independent quizzes (5 to complete), 4 group work writing assignments over the term, individual participation elements spread over term, and two take-home weeklong exams. Modular, like Lego: build your own term, as best you can. 8/13
I've designed things to keep students engaged in the course, and writing all the time, as much as they are able, low stakes: do a quiz, it's full marks even if wrong. But the exams have exactly those kinds of questions, marked more seriously, so it pays to read the feedback. 9/13
Every week, I have about 25 quizzes to grade, and I do them as they come in: it's always full marks, so I just have to write my response to their answer on one short essay question, which I find very easy. And I have 4 two-page group works to mark: also very easy. 10/13
The quizzes are independent from the group work, which is independent of the individual participation, but somehow doing all these things leads to better learning opportunities and better exam prep, which they write when they want, over a week. 11/13
If I fritz out on the grading, it's not terrible: they don't need one thing in order to do the next. If they fritz out for two weeks for some reason, it's not irrecoverable or grade-smashing: the term has lots of room to complete everything, choose your own adventure. 12/13
Me, I am substantially less stressed about the very tight turnarounds that my usual scaffolded assignments require, from all of us. In pandemic times, low contact, asynchronous, it seems even scarier and riskier. My own answer, for now, is modular. You? 13/13

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More from @digiwonk

9 Sep
What do you need in a video lecture? A thread of provocations, by me. First, here's what you don't need: new camera, new microphone, new lighting, new software. You can make EXCELLENT class videos using consumer-grade tools you already have. 1/
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15 May 18
To my tenured colleagues: A thread on how we can be part of the solution, not just a precious relic of the way things used to be, and the manifestation of disproportionate privilege and inequity in the academy. Let's talk; please share and add. #cdnpse
A lot of us with tenure are watching PhDs leave without finishing, go into debt, suffer lousy adjunct jobs, destroy their mental health. We are watching our undergrad programs turned into scaled-up piecework. Our administrative structure turn managerial. What can we do?
Because *we*, the tenured, are the ones to do it. Who else? Marginalized scholars? Contingent workers? Trustees and boards? No. If anyone has the footing, power, and safety to push back, it's tenured people. What are you going to do?
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