EOP43Excited to be back in the full swing of the spring semester. I spent the first day of classes completely full of jitters the whole day; funny how that doesn’t go away after 15 years of teaching. I have an amazing group of students in my jumbo first-year writing course: 88 freshmen who are a sea of awesome. I have eight writing mentors who work with me in the space, but this semester I am also running one of our break-out workshops too. This means I have 12 students on Thursday afternoons and we work together on the writing for our course.

We’ll spend this semester thinking about the problems of the freshman year. With 97 of us in the room, we have an opportunity for a rich data set. We’ll blog about “the day in the life” of a freshman, create surveys, follow case studies, read current research, and ultimately create a series of white papers, working to solve the problems of the freshman year on our campus. Students will then be part of one of three teams who turn those white papers into 1) short documentary films, 2) an augmented reality game to be played by incoming freshman, or 3) a website resource for incoming freshmen on our campus.

Today we’re starting our WordPress sites, so soon we will introduce 88 new bloggers to the world. I hope you’ll read about their campus lives: they are all first generation students and they have amazing stories to tell. And if you are so inclined, introduce yourself and discuss ideas they are researching with them.