Friday, December 18, 2020

"This course is an experiment": On learning when not to say that

The description of "111 Words a Day: A Writing Project" last spring began, "This course is an experiment." So everyone knew what they were getting into. When "Academic Writing in English I" started three weeks late this fall after my sick leave, I told the students about a new experiment: instead of working step by step toward an essay in week 5, I gave them worksheets, and they wrote the essays in one week – with opportunities to revise essays with poor grades. In the course evaluations, a student commented: "I'm not an experiment!" In retrospect, I regret using that term for a required course with no warning in the course description. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 18 December)

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