Since 1992, 1 have taught a variety of courses at a variety of institutions.
In this portfolio, I have included several syllabi and sample assignments.
Here I provide a list and description of the courses I have taught, separating
courses that have used a specific technology or alternative delivery.
Arizona State University (1992-1994)
The course sequences at Arizona State University were first year composition courses based on argumentation. The 101 and 102 sequence was an introduction to argumentation the first semester and advanced argumentation the second. Students were introduced to theories of argument (with an emphasis on Toulmin), learned "modes" of writing arguments in order to critique those modes and understand the limitations of thinking of argument in modal parameters. Students were also introduced to research and the development of research materials into a position paper.
The 104 course was an honors, accelerated version of the first year sequence.
Students in this course were expected in one semester to develop a sophisticated
project based on argumentation. The particular focus of the section I taught
was to develop a well researched position paper on a social issue for which
they did volunteer service. The position paper the students wrote had to be
directed to a specific audience in order to either bring attention to analyses
of social issues or propose specific action on the issue.
California State University, San Marcos (1994-1996)
Community Education Course on Grantwriting
As the coordinator of Community Education at CSU, San Marcos, I also taught
a community seminar on grant writing for the certificate in non-profit management
program. The grant writing course was based on theories of rhetorical analysis
and persuasion. The course taught community organizers to analyze funding
opportunities and requests for proposals in terms of context and rhetorical
values. After analyzing the potential funding opportunities, participants
learned to construct their own proposals as arguments in terms of those rhetorical
features. The seminar also analyzed trends in funding and the implications
of funding constraints for their projects. The seminar resulted in seven proposals
being completed and sent in for funding consideration.
Saddleback College, (1994-1996)
English IB for accelerated placement
Saddleback College is a California Community College and the first year composition sequence is similar to university structures. The I A course was a "basic" or "developmental' writing course for underprepared admittees. The purpose of the course was to introduce students to reading and analysis practices to prepare them for essay and argumentation writing in the later sequences. The students in my course read various approaches to essay writing, analyzed academic discourse as an institutional practice, and reflected on the reasons why this type of discourse was valued. The second time I taught this course, we focused our readings on social justice and the concept of ideology. The students utilized these concepts to analyze institutional practices in order to understand the function of education and social mobility specifically in terms of their material conditions. In this course I attempted to practice models of Freirian pedagogy and found that these particular students were highly receptive to this approach.
I also taught the first semester first year composition course for Saddleback to a group of concurrently enrolled advanced placement high school students. The course was part of an outreach program to give high school students the opportunity to take college level composition before they graduated. As I was teaching the above basic writing course to mostly returning adults at Saddleback in this same semester, this high school course was an interesting opportunity for me to consider the major differences in preparation, investment in learning, and learning styles inherent in these two courses. The students in two courses were vastly different in age, diversity in ethnicity, and class. I had to greatly alter my approach and my understanding of how the principles of Freirian pedagogy play out in American institutions.
Iowa State University (1996-1997)
(Computer intensive section)
At Iowa State University I had the opportunity as an experienced Teaching
Assistant with technological aptitude and experience to teach in computer
labs for the first year composition sequence. In these courses, we utilized
Daedalus software – at that time a leading computer technology that
enabled collaborative chats, document sharing, and peer review and revision
worksheets. Students effectively used the networked environment to collaborate
on traditional essays and to develop sophisticated projects such as newsletters
and web resources for social issues. The courses were challenging for me in
terms of having to determine how to utilize the technology to meet my pedagogical
needs, and I learned quickly that I was attempting to import my own pedagogy
into a technological environment rather than analyzing how the technology
impacted and altered the goals I might have. My experience teaching these
courses and working with inexperienced instructors on utilizing the computer
labs helped me to form a critical framework to consider these questions as
well as to begin analyzing specific technological learning environments such
as Daedalus from a pedagogical perspective. The teaching of these courses
led directly to a paper I wrote for the CCC conference that examined the implications
of utilizing technology in classroom in terms of corporate influences ("Shaping
the Ideology of Consumerism: Corporate Funding, Higher Education, and the
World Wide Web").
English 101: BEST Program
As a science and technical school, Iowa State has innovative collaborative
programs between science oriented disciplines and the writing program. One
of these programs was a first year experience for a group of Biology majors
called BEST (Biology-English Student Teams). As an instructor in this program,
I taught a section of first year composition to a cohort of students who were
concurrently enrolled in an introductory level Biology course. The English
instructors teaching these sections (there were two other sections linked
into the same course) worked with the teaching assistants from the Biology
course to develop linked reading assignments and we taught from two common
literary non-fiction texts with Biology subjects. The students worked through
these texts from a rhetorical analysis perspective in the English courses.
They worked together in informal and formal teams as they were also living
in the same dorm and were teamed in the lab section of the Biology course.
The program was also designed to meet the needs of minority students pursuing
science majors and fulfilled an honors requirement. This was one of the most
successful courses I have taught, as the students were invested in the materials,
were invested in their own group collaborations (often staying up late into
the night peer editing each others' papers), and the linked curriculum enabled
us to talk about the importance of rhetorical/cultural analysis in their content
areas. The students became a bit tired of the texts and subject by the end
of the semester, but nonetheless had an experience that was of significant
value. In addition, the course demonstrated for me the potential of writing
in the disciplines as a potential for cultural critique.
University of Arizona (1997-present)
As a first year Graduate Assistant Teacher at the University of Arizona, I taught the first year composition sequence within the context of the preceptorship program at the University. Working with a group of other instructors of varying experience level, we collaborated on approaches to the program's course structure. I have included an example of an assignment and resources for my work in these semesters in the next section of this portfolio.
This experience was valuable for me because it gave me the opportunity to
collaborate with less experienced instructors on our teaching, enabling me
to articulate, share, and problematize the theoretical foundations of my teaching
in a highly supportive setting. Out of the preceptor experience, I met a solid
group of colleagues with whom I continue to work on pedagogy. We discuss our
approaches to teaching, brainstorm curriculum ideas, critique each others’
curricula, and collaboratively write about teaching.
English 102, Computer Intensive Local History Curriculum (MOO)
In the summer of 1998, the University of Arizona funded Dr. Roxanne Mountford,
a professor in the Department of English, to build the university's first
educational MOO. Based on Jan Rune Holmevik and Cynthia Hayne's University
of Texas based educational MOO, LinguaMOO's
success, Mountford envisioned the potential of an online environment different
from email, web pages, or even chat rooms, as a site for innovative educational
possibilities for the whole university. Dr. Mountford hired me to help design
and develop the MOO and to create an associated curriculum for a pilot course
in English 102. (I have included more information on the MOO
and this specific curriculum under the "Technology" section of the
portfolio.) The course centered on local history and analyzing the notion
of history and community. The curriculum included students working with a
local community organization or group to analyze how that group has been represented
and to create an alternative representation with and for that group. The course
tied issues of technology and service learning in a way I had not formerly
been able to tie these two interests together. As part of the University of
Arizona’s Southwest Project, the curriculum became a model for instructors
to utilize, and the following semester I modified the curriculum to focus
on local labor history. That curriculum approach (examples follow) turned
out to be one of my most successful courses and a colleague, Paul Burkhardt
later utilized this version of the curriculum. That semester he received the
award for Excellence in Teaching from the College of Humanities.
Traditions in Culture 104, General Education
Teaching Assistant for Dr. J. Douglas Canfield
For two semesters, I taught as a teaching assistant for Dr. Canfield's General Education Tradition in Cultures course. I was responsible for a breakout discussion section each semester. The first semester, I taught the honors section of the course. Dr. Canfield's courses focus on reading canonical literary works around a theme in terms of ideological and cultural work that they perform. Dr. Canfield asks his students to respond to the texts by deconstructing the ways these texts construct and reproduce dominant ideological values. The students are expected to write a two page response analysis every week. My function as a discussion leader was to help the students grapple with concepts of ideology/cultural reproduction and to understand how to apply those concepts in their writing. I worked directly with students and was responsible for all grading and commenting on my students' work.
This course was extremely valuable from a pedagogical perspective because it gave me the opportunity to work with a faculty member utilizing many of the same pedagogical principles I enact, to discuss those principles with him, and to have his feedback on my teaching. Additionally, the experience of teaching literature and general education at the same time allowed me to expand my teaching to include relevant disciplinary teaching outside of first year composition. I was also offered my own Trad 104 course for a summer session for which I developed a syllabus themed on the construction of the working class in literature. That course, unfortunately did not meet enrollment requirements, but creating the syllabus gave me a great deal of insight on teaching such courses and generated useful materials for my other courses
English 307, Business Writing. Computer Intensive Course
My experience in developing and utilizing the MOO
for teaching enabled me to incorporate this technology into the curriculum
for Business Writing. I have included the syllabus and sample transcripts
from this course in the next section which demonstrate how effectively we
were able to utilize the MOO for collaboratively working on professional communication.
Additionally, we utilized the MOO as an environment that enables users to
create geographical space to talk about how professional communication also
in embodied in the spaces and ways we work together. The students created
work teams and "offices" on the MOO and analyzed the values and
implications of those decisions in terms of communication and collaboration.
Another particularly valuable aspect of this course for me was that it enabled
me to incorporate my own interdisciplinary interest in cultural geography
into professional communication curricula.
English 307, Business Writing, Profcomm online course delivery
In the summer of 2000, I was hired as part of a curriculum and technology development team in the Composition program to create an online version of Business and Technical writing, develop the technology to deliver the course, and create an accompanying website of resources for instructors and community members. For spring of 2001, I was responsible for piloting the completely online or distance education version of the course.
This experience was valuable in terms of my own pedagogy because it put me in collaboration with my colleagues and advisors in creating a course curriculum that utilizes technology and considers the constraints and potential that technology has rather than simply importing a traditional curriculum into a distance education format. Additionally, the project required me to evaluate and test course delivery technologies in order to find an option that was suited to the course goals and my own pedagogical goals, rather than simply adapting those goals to the technology available. Teaching an entirely online course was also interesting because it required me to evaluate my own assumptions about teaching and learning. I delivered an entirely online conference paper which is a critique of this experience for Computers and Writing Online (April 3, 2001): "Synchronous Communication Learning Environments as Intervention in the Distance Learning Model: The Case of an Online Business Writing Course Development.” I have included additional information about this course in the section of the portfolio on sample assignments and on Technology.