Dr. Halasek and team (English, College of Arts and Sciences) incorporated elements of their Gates Foundation Grant supported MOOC for use in three for-credit, classroom-based pilot sections of the second-writing course English 2367. Adaptations included a large-scale peer-review management system and a writing analysis engine. The large-scale peer-review system facilitated sharing best practices between sections and made it possible for students to receive guided feedback from a larger pool of readers. The writing analysis engine provided students with standardized, contextualized feedback about their writings that supplemented instructor feedback. Simultaneously, both systems gathered information instructors can use to assess and improve their teaching in future sections. Following a successful pilot, these tools and related course materials will be made available for additional sections of 2367 offered in the English department each semester and online sections of English 1110 (First-year Writing), and made available in upcoming terms to second writing courses throughout the university.
This pilot project ran in three sections of English 2367 during Spring 2014.
What We Learned, in a Sentence
WEx—when employed in a pedagogically-robust fashion—has the potential to transform students’ engagement with their writing and learning at the University.
5 Specific Points
- WEx, The Writers Exchange, successfully facilitated peer-based learning among students across multiple sections of English 2367.
- The u.osu.edu blog site also facilitated peer-based learning across sections of English 2367 although less consistently or productively than anticipated.
- Both WEx and u.osu.edu enabled individual student self-assessment as both technologies allowed students to view their own progress and performance relative to their peers.
- WEx holds great value (if used across multiple sections of 2367 or other writing courses) as a mechanism for programmatic assessment and assessment of student learning.
- WEx, if integrated in coming years into writing intensive courses across the curriculum, may also serve as a University-wide platform for writing assessment and student self-reflection on learning.