I have been looking forward to meeting all of you and getting this course underway for some time. This class will most certainly have special chemistry since you are a truly diverse and talented new cohort joining the MA in Writing Studies program. ENG 5020 will serve as a foundation as you begin your graduate studies and you embark on your academic journey to your MA degree. During this class, you will learn more about the field of Writing Studies, you will establish an academic foundation for your future coursework, you will consider what it means to be a writer in the 21st century, and you will take an important step in acclimating to the grad school experience.
Our course will be an open (online), connected (networked), co-learning (participatory) experience. Our ENG 5020 Writing Theory and Practice course will also be participating and collaborating with “Equity Unbound” aka #UnboundEq – “Making Borders Meaningless”. Equity Unbound or #UnboundEq is a global community and conversation focusing on intercultural learning and digital literacies on the open web – it is also known as an open online “collaboratory”. (I have co-created this online community and conversation along with my partners Dr. Maha Bali from the American University in Cairo and Dr. Catherine Cronin from the National University of Ireland-Galway). This year, we also have partners joining us from the University of Padova (In Padua, Italy). All Kean University students in ENG 5020 will also be active participants in the global @Unboundeq project.
One factor that often leads to lack of energy in the traditional classroom is the way that learning might be perceived as a passive activity—a thing that happens to students. What you learn and how you learn it is decided by someone else, without considering what you care about, what you know already, or what you want to learn. Part of the idea of an open class comes from giving you the opportunity to influence the course. As we build a foundation for Writing Theory & Practice and consider what it means to write in a globally interconnected world, I want to place value in the interests and ambitions that each of you brings to this course. What do you want to learn during our time together? What do you want to make during our time together? Please remember to reflect on these key questions throughout our shared time together. There will be flexibility and choices along the way as you determine some of your own learning outcomes for this course.
Through discussion and negotiation, we will identify shared-purpose and a mutually beneficial learning agenda, we will read and write (both individually and collaboratively), and we will embrace peer-to-peer cooperation and learning. During our first meeting, we will get to know each other a bit, and we will discuss why we have all chosen to converge for this experience. I sincerely look forward to working with each of you. And I know that through our collaboration we will lay foundations of knowledge which will no doubt influence your future practice.
See you soon,
Dr. Mia Zamora