Earlier this semester, I put together an activity for an English class to guide them through the two databases that they would be using this fall. You can read about that here. It worked pretty well (enough for me to revise it for future use!) but it definitely had some issues to be worked out.
Good news! I did!
This semester I'm working with the Business & Admin Writing class here at UCCS. One of the things that I think is really cool about this class is that the professor emphasizes Google as a research tool. His thinking is that once his students leave UCCS they won't have access to our library resources so they should get the skills to use the tools they're actually going to use on the job.
And that tool is Google.
Earlier this summer, I piloted an activity that asked participants to evaluate a collection of sources to decide which ones they would pick to build an argument. I called it Know Your Sources and you can read about it here. TL;DR: I wasn't really happy with it. The concept was good, but the execution left a lot to be desired. It depended on a single volunteer from students in a synchronous online environment (and in its first iteration that volunteer ended up being the professor) and Google Forms wasn't a good delivery system.
Good news: I made it better!
This class (TCID 2080) is a first-year writing course but the emphasis is on Business and Technical writing rather than academic writing. So for KYS 2.0, I picked a single example that would be timely and similar to the work the students would be doing over the course of the semester. This helped streamline the activity IMMENSELY. I'm not opposed to having multiple options in the future, but I maybe should have limited the scope of KYS 1.0.
Padlet, however, was the real innovation. Not only was it easier to see all the items on the page but also everyone could participate. Instead of asking one person to talk through their thought process, I dropped the link in the Microsoft Teams chat and asked the students to give the sources a star rating from 1-5. I wish the padlet would have sorted itself by that star rating -- that would have made it a lot easier to recap after the activity -- but that's more of a quibble than an issue. After the students had rated the sources, I asked the following questions:
What Worked: PADLET. This is exactly the vehicle for this activity that I was looking for.
What Didn't: We didn't get into types of sources as much as we did during the discussion period of KYS 1.0, but I think that's partially because of the topic and class context.
What I'd Change: If I can figure out how to get Padlet to sort the columns by star rating, that would make the discussion portion that much further. I would also probably write down my questions in advance more clearly to guide the discussion section,
Interested in any of these? Use the Contact tab to be in touch!
You can also view the current state of these activities on my instruction menu: