Talks and Ideas to Consider


Link to our course calendar here.

Google +

We’ll use G+ to share ideas about readings, course design, and other things that interest us: Link

Author: kjaxon

Plans for finishing out the semester

Plans for finishing out the semester

Hello everyone,

Hope this finds you safe and healthy. Thank you again for joining the call last week with the writing faculty. Here is a plan to finish out this strange, and at times brutal, semester. Lots of information, so please read carefully.

  • Full draft due: The full draft of your course design is due by tomorrow night.
    • These drafts should include all the components to the best of your ability: 1) overview of the course with your teaching philosophy, 2) syllabus, 3) assignment sequence with rationale, 4) calendar, and weekly plans with rationale.
  • Share in G+: Since some of you have shared various versions and links, would you please post the link to the Google Doc in a new category in G+? I created a category labeled “Full Drafts Course Design Links (April 28)” in G+. This will help me to read the full and newest version; thank you!
  • No Zoom BUT Peer Feedback: No Zoom meeting tomorrow night. Instead, please give your partner one more round of feedback by the end of the week. Isaiah, Jenna, Jasmine, and Alondra will need feedback quickly, so thank you in advance to those partners (Jesse, Jo, and Jazz)! The TA application materials are due Friday for them.
    • Isaiah, Jenna, Jasmine and Alondra: I’ll will send you four another email with additional ideas for feedback and prep for Friday’s materials.
  • Yes Zoom May 5 for Mock Interviews (Our last Zoom session): please plan to join next Tuesday, May 5, at 5:00-7:15pm for mock interviews. We will be supporting and asking questions of the interview candidates to help them prep for TA interviews. I also think it will be helpful since many of you will apply for teaching jobs throughout your academic careers. Here is a link to the sample questions we will ask in the interviews. I’ll send the questions again before we meet next week.
  • Final: MODIFIED next steps and final: We’ll finish out the semester with a short (1-2 page) memo about next steps for your course design plans. So, instead of fully revising the drafts that are due tomorrow, you can use the feedback (and ideas you may have for revision already) to think through next steps if you were to teach the course you’ve designed. I’ll have some guiding questions to support this memo. I think we could make this due on Wednesday of final’s week, May 13, and post them in G+. I actually think this will be more helpful–time to gather thoughts and track future plans for this course design–than revising again now.

In a nutshell:

  • Full drafts due tomorrow night: share link to Google Doc in new category in G+
  • Peer feedback round again this week (some timely for Alondra, Jasmine, Jenna, and Isaiah)
  • Full application materials due Friday, May 1, at 5:00pm to Sharon DeMeyer.
  • Next (and final) Zoom: May 5 from 5:00-7:15pm for mock interviews
  • Memo due May 13. Kim will share prompt ideas for the memo next week.

Thank you all!

Week of March 30: Best Laid Plans…

Week of March 30: Best Laid Plans…

Hello awesome humans,

Hope y’all are doing okay or finding moments where you’re doing okay. I’ve decided that the optional Zoom check-in for this Tuesday is bad timing. We really should take the holiday off given all the things in the world. Or, you may need that day to get other things completed. We’ll start our optional Zoom check-ins (and perhaps meet with your partners for feedback in small break out rooms) Tuesday, April 7, at 5:00pm. You are always welcome to email me questions or ask for help with course design materials!

As promised, here is a suggested plan for this week:

  • Partner Assignment: Your writing response with feedback to your partner is due Sunday, March 29 (remember: you’re sharing these two things (your writing and your feedback to the teacher on how things went) in a comment on their G+ post)
  • Course Design: Your main goal this week (and until April 27) is to create your Course Design: 1) overview of the course with your teaching philosophy, 2) syllabus, 3) assignment sequence with rationale, 4) calendar, and weekly plans with rationale.
    • This week: I would suggest working on your assignment sequence and rationale (number 3 above), but you could start in any way that makes sense to you.
    • Your resources for this:
      • my English 130 website (check out the syllabus and assignments page), and the Example TA Syllabi page (Catherine Wilcox is recent and really good, but all of them should be helpful for seeing how this Course Design is organized.)
      • Hoping you got some feedback from your partner; ideally, you can use the assignment you created for each other as one of assignments in your sequence.
      • You could also look back over your G+ posts to see the kinds of ideas we talked about.
      • If you are creating a course for English 130, you can find the Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) on the English 130 Course Design Resource page.  You can copy & paste those or the ones from my site into your syllabus. If you are creating a course for another context, you could refer to Common Core (Jazz & Jesse) or create your own goals for students.
  • Sharing Drafts: Let’s share these drafts in Google Docs so we can easily give feedback. Please set the share settings to “anyone with the link can comment.” We’ll work with consistent partners for the rest of the semester for feedback loops.
    • By Sunday, April 5: Post the Google Doc link in our G+ community under “Course Design Links.”
      • Jo & Alondra
      • Jasmine & Jenna
      • Jesse & Isaiah
      • Carolyn & William
      • Sophy & Jazz
  • Sharing Memos on Sundays: For the next few Sundays, we’ll write a memo on our Course Design drafts (as a comment at the top of the Google Doc or perhaps in another font color at the top of the draft, which tells your partner where you are in the process, what feedback you need, where you’re stuck, etc.

Here is a kind of template if it’s useful. 

    • Feedback: With your partner, decide when you will give feedback: by Wednesdays? Thursdays? Decide what works for you both given your drafting timelines. Please leave feedback in the Google Docs (do not resolve comments yet), so that I can help support this process too.

In a nutshell:

  • Progress on the course design by Sundays with a memo on the Google Doc
  • Feedback to your partner soon after that week (based on what the two of you decide). Leave comments in Google Doc
  • Repeat.
  • Optional Zoom chats starting Tuesday, April 7

Video explanation of this post here too:

We begin again…

We begin again…

Hi all,

Hope you are finding some Zen moments in this new, strange normal. I do miss you all and look forward to finding some footing again in our community.

My plan going forward is to post the week’s goals/tasks on Monday morning with due dates for those tasks on Sundays. You can work on things when it makes sense to you that week. Our main goal: design and revise your writing intensive courses. Each week, we’ll try to focus on a new part of the course design (I’ll offer you a lens/suggestion each week to frame your design work and help coordinate ways to give feedback to each other). I’ll share the weekly plan in an email AND post to the front of our website each week too. We’ll use G+ and Google Docs for the most part for sharing our work.

I would also like to plan to meet via Zoom on Tuesdays at 5:00 for 30-45 minutes to check in on plans and set goals for our work/feedback. This will give you a chance to get comfortable with Zoom since we’ll be using that platform to do the TA interviews in early May. But…

We do have one potential dilemma that I need your help solving: our class should have met today (Tuesday), but of course, classes are cancelled so faculty can prep for distance learning. Next Tuesday is César Chávez day, so again, class would not be scheduled to meet. I can not imagine how we’ll miss three weeks together and still be able to design courses. Would you be able/interested in a quick check in this week (Thursday, the 26th) and/or meeting in small groups next week for support, or even as a whole class on Tuesday, March 31, at 5:00 for an hour?

I have a quick Google Form for feedback; if you could fill it out soon that would be really helpful for planning.

I also want to assure you that Zoom meetings are optional for those of you who have any issues with getting connected. For example, I can create some FAQ’s from the Zoom meetings and share with anyone who might not be able to make a Zoom meeting work. Please know that I have no intention to contribute to stress: you should please ask me for support or direct me to what it helpful for you right now. I will be completely flexible.

Here is a plan for this week (week of March 25):

  • Soon hopefully: Fill out Google Form. Potential check in on Zoom, Thursday, March 26 (see Google Form and give input on time)
  • By Sunday, March 29: Your Partner’s Assignment (was originally due today, March 24). Share your response to your partner’s assignment: the actual writing you did based on their assignment AND feedback to the “instructor”:
    • Questions for feedback: What worked well for you as a writer? What was confusing about the assignment? What suggestions might you make to revise or scaffold the assignment for undergraduates?
    • Share these two things (the assignment response/writing itself and the feedback on the assignment) in our G+ community. Comment under their assignment post.
      • You can link to a Google Doc in the comment area (important: set share settings for Google Doc to “anyone can view”) OR simply copy and paste your response as a comment. Or, share the writing you did in response to their assignment as a Google Doc link (in the comment area) and put the feedback to their assignment in a second comment.
  • Hope to have whole class or small group check-ins next week. Again, options on the Google Form.
  • Here is a link to a Zoom tutorial. But really, I can help everyone. The first time you get a link, it will prompt you to download the app.
  • New plan shared on Mondays for week’s tasks. Watch for new update March 30.


Hello. Again.

Hello. Again.

Just wanted to say hi to y’all. Hope you are safe and healthy. I’m working on the revised calendar for us. Hope to share by Tuesday, March 24 (Wednesday at the latest). Take good care. Kim

Week 2 & 3: the goals and things

Week 2 & 3: the goals and things

Hello nice people,

Thank you for the thoughtful work with Situated Learning this week. Here are our goals heading into week 3:

  • By Sunday night (Feb 2): Try out some summary work, ask questions, think about take-aways for Chapters 1 & 2 based on our conversation on Tuesday. Since you’ll be writing papers later about your teaching philosophy, you might think of these responses as a place to draft and try out ideas.
  • Before class on Tuesday, annotate the Wells reading in Perusall (our course code again in case you need it: JAXON-K4YS6). You can highlight, add comments, add links that might be useful for all of us, add definitions, reply to each other…
  • We’ll also read Chapter 3 and discuss Wells and Chapter 3 in class on Tuesday.


Week 1 reminders

Week 1 reminders

Enjoyed our first gathering together; thank you for jumping into Dewey with thoughtful insights.
Since the first day of classes can be a flurry of information, here are a couple reminders for this week in case it’s useful to you:
  • Find Situated Learning book (rent, buy, borrow). We’ll read chapters 1 & 2 for next class. Together in class next week, we will try to unpack the main terms “situated learning” and “legitimate peripheral participation.” We’ll work to understand what these ideas mean: of course, feel free to use ideas you find in a web search too.
  • By Sunday night or early(ish) Monday, please write a few paragraphs in our G+ space about the Dewey reading and your initial thoughts about how people learn? What are the conditions that make learning something new more likely? Link to our G+ space again here and also on the front page of our course website. (Make sure you’re logged in through your Chico State account.)
Have a great rest of your week. I look forward to designing courses together this semester
Welcome to English 634

Welcome to English 634

Hello everyone,

I look forward to working together this spring! As promised, here is our course website. You’ll find all the materials and links here: I don’t use Blackboard at all.

One of my absolute favorite things about teaching (besides students) is course design, which means this course is one of my favorites. I am hopeful that we can play with a range of ideas for teaching writing intensive courses. If you want to read some of my views about educational design while we’re waiting to meet in a few days, you might check out a piece I wrote for the Connected Learning Alliance: “No Short Cuts in Course Design.”  

We’ll talk about texts and the ways we’ll work with them a bit on the first class. We’ll also do some reading together in class Tuesday. One book to buy/rent or check out from our library: Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. We’ll use it by week 2, so hoping you might all be game to just rent it via Amazon for less than $10.00. The library also has a copy or two if you want to check it out next week. All other readings are available as pdf. I’ll supplement some reading when I know the contexts you hope to teach in.

We’ll start the semester by pulling back from schooling and thinking about learning and literacy more broadly. I am hoping these conversations and texts support your theories of learning and pedagogical choices as you design.

If you have a laptop/tablet, please bring it each time. I’m also happy to check one out from the English Department for you. Just email me to let me know before class:

Feel free to email with any questions. See you Tuesday in ARTS 306A!