“Writing for Humanity” (the card game) is happening!

Another very productive night last night for the development of your “Writing For Humanity” card game!  I must admit, I really love this project, and it is coming together as a reflection of all you as a diverse and talented team.  “Writing For Humanity” is now very much a complex/inspired vision that is well on it’s way to becoming a solid reality.  You all negotiated the plan for the card aesthetic with clarity and prowess, and I think you made some smart decisions about the paired down aesthetic and a more realistic approach to the timeline.  Good work.  I think your time in the breakout rooms was a great way to refine the understanding of how to design your cards (continuity issues), and we now have the official demo set complete (Thanks Sun for the quick turn around with these cards :).  Excellent.

Agenda slides from last night:

The remaining work is customized for each of you, and can be seen clearly in our “Writing for Humanity” Working Doc.

Here are your working teams, but please refer to the doc in order to check about your specific tasks.  These tasks should be completed by Monday, Dec. 14th.

“Writing for Humanity” Website shell & Card Design:  Sun

Game Instructions team:  Ryan, Kelsey, Tom

Bio Page team: Bailey, Alyssa, 

Conference & Scholarly events team: Kefah, Amber

Teacher’s Guide Development team: Kate, Diana

Crowdsourced Gallery Invitation:  Hugo 

Technical Editors for entire project:  Maura, Jessie

On Monday, I think we should think of this last class as part – “wrap this final project up with a bow” and part – class party!  Bring some food and drink, and we can be festive and fun.   I will start with some logistics (like going over the final portfolio expectations, etc).  And then we can jump into “finsihing up the website” by dropping in the remaining content and see it “come alive” online before our very eyes.

This project is a seasonal gift, for sure.

See you then, with bells on :)!

Dr. Zamora


Our class last night (on 12/7) was a true success.  Through a mini Zoom version of a roundtable “Design Charette” you were able to share much insight, listen, and draw upon specific concerns, interests & strategies, and then reduce it all down to a  specific plan of action.  I am impressed!  Here are the slides of our agenda last night:

You were able to use a digital poster board and a bunch of virtual yellow sticky post-it-notes to drop down your final thoughts on what projects seemed possible.  For this part we used the “Favorite Concept Capture Board” Padlet to apprehend what was “rising to the surface” in terms of options for the project. And then we took a vote through Zoom polling in order to see what project concept was in the majority.  The Cards Against Humanity concept (with a re-direction towards writing for empathy & equity) was the clear winner.  I think this was a special one for all of you because it is a new kind of twist…who doesn’t like a good game to learn something?  The concept is novel, fun, and accessible, and it also allows for everybody to contribute work they have a deeper knowledge of (due to the presentation work you each completed in the earlier part of the semester).  The key moving forward is to make sure that everyone has a chance to share content that matters to them, and also has the freedom to contribute in a way that allows for their own design (i.e. multimodal options for expression and experimentation).  In this sense, the “Cards” concept is a great vehicle I think.

You have all identified much of the basic tasks ahead in the “Project Proposal & Game Plan” shared google doc at the close of class.  Please re-read this document because a few more notes have been added there after class.  Here are the clear “to-dos” that you should complete before we meet again soon on Wednesday evening (12/9).

  1. Add your first “take” or draft of the “Project Description” in our “Project Proposal & Game Plan
  2. Add you “question card” idea into the chart at the bottpm of our “Project Proposal & Game Plan

I will have a think and make a plan for the best way to use our time productively on Wednesday evening together, but I think the plan will include these activities:

-Going over the “Project Description” together briefly to finalize that language

-Hearing from Sun about the Cards design template (a small demo).  Afterward, you can all make editorial suggestions and revise her early “mock-up” template

-Discuss the final way to “house” or “package” the Cards.   I am thinking that a basic website that includes the “Project Description”, some “Instructions for How to Play”, the Cards themselves, and also a “Bios of Card Designers” section (a couple sentences about each of you written).  There is also the possibility here of a  brief “Teachers Guide” section with a few extra things in there (see Kefah’s note in the google doc about a Kahoot, etc), ….But you can discuss all of this, and what other ways you can package the work, and what is possible timing-wise…

-We will do some breakout room time to get your “response” card concepts moving along…

-You should also discuss if you want to present this work in other contexts (Conferences, Forums, etc.). I think it has the portential to have an “afterlife” in distribution and debut that you will all be very proud of.

See you Wednesday night!

Ps.  This is all moving along very effectively and is truly inspiring work!!!!




We’re All in This Together

Whenever a professor mentions the words “group project,” I must admit that I cringe on the inside. I have never been a fan of working with others in an academic setting. I am passionate about my grades, and having to rely on my classmate to complete their part of the project does not sit right with me. I have a terrible habit of changing others’ information and/or PowerPoint slides if the information is not accurate or does not flow well. Of course, I inform the person beforehand that I am looking to make changes, but I can guess that most are annoyed when I do so. Although we have a fantastic class for ENG 5020, we share the same sentiments that group projects are not our favorites. However, I do believe with the individuals in our class, we will be able to pull this off. 

Reflecting on my past academic years, I want to learn and/or teach how to formulate one’s ideas. Often in the educational setting, students rely on their teacher’s thoughts and ideas. We have covered this in the reading “Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting Out Three Forms Of  Judgement.” Why is it that students give up and yield to only their teacher’s opinions? I have done this myself mostly because I wanted to receive an A, and I knew that I would receive that A by agreeing with and using my teacher’s ideas. This tactic is most commonly used for written assignments, but students must begin voicing their ideas without fear of being “wrong” because one’s ideas do not correlate to their teacher’s. This will also require teachers to get out of the mindset of believing there is a right or wrong answer. Perhaps creating a how-to on formulating one’s idea. I find that the topic of research will also play a part in this. Recognizing bias while researching plays a crucial role in developing one’s ideas. 

From looking at my peer’s ideas, I enjoy the idea of revamping a course or creating a new course that will be beneficial to students later in life. Overall, I believe that we all have great ideas and a few overlapping ideas. By today’s class, I hope that we all can find a common ground and complete our final project as a team with the least amount of stress!

Ride the Lightning!

I’m a pretty simple guy, and I can characterize myself, and my mentality towards everything I do in my daily life that involves others in one phrase; If I’m working, you’re working. The work is clearly outlined and divided up. We help one another when necessary, encouragement, and not indifference is offered, and we go […]

Just projecting.

I’m curious.

Usually, group projects make me want to rip my ears off. I was usually the student who ended up doing all the work for the project. (I made up for it by only ever putting my name on the projects because no J.) 

But this time around, I’m very curious. Aside from the great ideas that everyone has brought up, which I will get to, I’m curious to see how this all unfolds through remote learning. So far, my experience with computers has become a bit of a push and go, steamed by the need to not slip into the screen oblivion. I’m a little concerned that we may be pressed for time if we pick an enduring project….but God, I love getting carried away with this class’s crazy ideas.

So bring it. 

To be very specific, I really want to learn about how writing rules are incorporated into other fields and more about remix culture, such as in science and music. My idea for the project was simple: to make a mini gallery of songs and works of literature beside them that either participate in remix culture or reference works of literature that shape the song. On a more general note, I want to learn more about techniques used in writing and how they’re incorporated into learning now. Someone in class had an idea where we would make a guidebook of important practices and techniques for teachers to reference. We’ve learned so much about teachers and students struggle to meet each other on an even plane when it comes to learning. I think a guidebook that both teachers and students could have access to would be a lot more helpful. While teachers should be able to have a guidebook to reference to for techniques, I also think that students should get to see the same book so that they can assist the teacher in using the right techniques to teach them. 

I also really liked Kelsey’s idea. Creating a course that can be useful beyond graduation would be a great idea. I remember when I came to college and first realized that everyone had a different learning experience than I did and that we all knew different things. I think that if we were able to create a course where everyone contributes a different technique or their best  teaching practice would also be similar to creating a guide book for teachers, except this would be in the form of lessons that a teacher would actually teach. Or that’s how I was looking at it at least. Either way, it’s brilliant. 

To be very simple, I’m most excited to just work in a group with you all. We’re a super funny and smart group, and I can only imagine what we’re going to come up with. 

P.S. – I really liked Sun’s idea..I ALREADY VOLUNTEERED TO SING. 

Oh, How I Love a Group Project! (said no student, ever…)

I was talking to my mother today about Christmas Eve.  I’m hosting the holiday for the first time ever, and I am so excited!  We just moved into a new house, and I’ve waited YEARS (8 of them, exactly) to have a proper dining room and be able to use my wedding china for the first time.  We were discussing the holiday, and she inevitably put her two cents in:  “Just use paper plates.” Um, I literally volunteered to host this holiday with the express intent of using my wedding china! “Crab cakes aren’t necessary, are they?” Um, crab cakes are literally ALWAYS necessary! And I make my own remoulade sauce!  “You can borrow my table cloths. It’s fine if they don’t match.”  Um, I already told you I bought a 108” table cloth! Because, mother, I’m not putting paper plates on mismatched table cloths to NOT eat crab cakes on! And, my absolute favorite:  “I can come over and help you cook.”  Um, NO! Just, NO! If you want to help me, stay out of my kitchen!

So, we are vying with the whole class as to the direction we want to go in.  One thing I think I struggle with is the idea that my final project is so collaborative, and I can’t really steer the ship I’m on.  I tend to grab the reins a lot, and I have to accept that I’m not necessarily in the driver’s seat, which is hard, especially when a grade is on the line.  (Yes, sigh, I’m very grade-motivated, in addition to truly loving the learning experience.) I’m also a little skeptical that with so many chefs, the soup won’t get spoiled… We tried a collaborative story in another class, and it sort of crashed and burned, because there was just so much disparate input.  (R.I.P. Kyle and Finn.) The student in me cringes at the words “group project,” something I freely acknowledge when I assign them myself, to my own students.  So much so that I always include the following meme, as well as a reflective piece on group projects!

For me, I think the learning outcome I care most about with regards to this group project is to come up with something useful.  I know it sounds sort of simple, but I don’t want the final project to be a purely academic exercise.  I would really like to see something that this class, and others, could use, implement, or build off of.  That’s why I think I’m leaning so much towards a syllabus.  I’d actually steer away from the modifier “mock,” because I think it would actually be cool to write a lesson plan that we could use, since so many of us are tied to the field of education.  “Mock” implies that it’s just a practice run, but there is so much good content from this course that would really inform teachers and their practice.  

I want to make something I can use, I can share, and I can touch back on when I struggle with teaching writing, or when I struggle with writing, myself. A Unit on the Writing Process.  An empathetic, process-based, multi-modal unit on the whole Writing Process.  That’s what I envision, but hopefully, whatever direction the class takes, I can contribute in a meaningful way, without spoiling the proverbial soup.

The Final Project

The thought of completing a collaborative final project by the end of the semester is a little daunting. During last week’s class, everyone had so many different intriguing ideas, so I’m definitely having a tough time narrowing them down and deciding which ones I like best. It’s also tough to articulate exactly what I want to learn from the project since we’ve covered so many interesting topics this semester. 

With that said, I do have some ideas about what I wish to learn, and I think all of them are connected to each other in a way that would allow them to combine into a singular project. First, I’d like to learn more about multimodalities and multiliteracies, especially in the context of the rapidly evolving digital age; I want to learn how to incorporate more than just text into my writing and research. 

In addition, I’m interested in bridging the distance between theory and practice, particularly in education. We’ve read so many decades old articles that call for changes to the way we teach, yet it doesn’t feel as though we’ve actually made many of those changes. 

However, I don’t just want to learn about writing in education; I also want to learn how to implement these theories into my own writing and learn how to make a career out of composition in the twenty-first century. Basically, I want to learn how to use the techniques and theories we’ve read about—specifically, multimodalities and/or multiliteracies—to navigate the modern field of writing in a digital context.

The topics I want to learn about are definitely influencing my ideas for what to actually make for the final project. I’d like whatever we create to be a multimodal digital artifact in order to reflect my ideal learning outcomes. 

A few ideas from last week stood out to me. For example, I’d love to make a mock syllabus or class website for a course on digital writing—Diana made some great points about how such a course could be used to connect students from different schools. I also really loved Sun’s idea about creating a game like Cards Against Humanity, but I’m not very clever, funny, or witty, so I don’t know how much help I would be with a project like that. 

Whatever we end up creating, I hope it’s something meaningful and useful to our future careers as writers. I don’t want to just complete this project to get a grade; I want to contribute something valuable to the discourse on writing while learning to improve my own knowledge and skills.

Project Reflection

As many of us can agree, I usually cringe at the thought of group projects. It is hard for me to let others have a part of what I produce. Especially when there is a grade that can impact my overall grade for the class. However, with this cohort or professionals, I feel like we can do this and not have to worry about others. Giving up control is hard to do, but I know that teamwork can produce better results than individual work when there are so many great minds working together.

My biggest concern however, is our time constraint. We all have wonderful ideas and can contribute to each others ideas. Some of the ideas were not achievable in such a short period of time. We have learned so much from each other over the course of the semester. There was a lot of information that all of us could use as a reference in our current or future careers. So I am going to remain open minded with our final decision on what we should do. The biggest thing for me, as a learning objective, is more personal than educational.

I want to learn how to let go of control. I need to know that it is okay to rely on others for help and assistance. At the same time, my peers need to know that they can rely on me for my input to the project as well. As Dionne Warwick described, “A chair is still a chair, even when no one is sitting in it.” No matter how we look at this collaborative work, we will all be able to look back on this class and say, we produced something great. Lets make this ‘chair’, one we can always sit in when we need to. It is okay to have things hold us up, and support us when we grow weary and tired.

I like Ella Fitzgeralds’ rendition better and included it below.

Working as a Team

I feel as though this group project is going to be more difficult to execute since we are doing it fully virtual, but I do think that we can make it work. That being said, the main outcome I want to get from this project is just something that I can take with me on my future endeavors, something that will be useful to me in the long run. I think it is important for the project to be educational and helpful, but I do want it to be fun as well. We have a solid group of people in this class and it’s clear that we like to joke around and have fun so we should use that to our advantage. Whatever we end up choosing, it should be something that will last.

The idea of an exhibit intrigues me, whether it be in person or digitally online. I think exhibits are a great way to inform and can also be a great way to interact with others. I’m not sure what exactly the exhibit should be but the topic I found most interesting and useful was the idea of multimodalities. When I took a class on this during undergrad, I found so many different ways to “write”, even without using words (infographics). It’s important, especially in today’s society, to use technology to our advantage, and in order to do that we must understand the different ways to use it. I think an exhibit that shows examples of the same pieces of writing written in different modalities would be interesting. What I mean by this is there would be something written in typical writing format, just words, and another example would be with less writing and more pictures or even music, and the next example would be maybe an infograph with only icons and images. I feel that people could work in small groups and continue to add on to this sort of thing for years to come because we are only going to continue to find new ways to express ourselves.

An idea that we discussed in class that got me excited was Sun’s idea of doing a song or a game (Cards Against Humanity type). I think something like this would be so fun and humorous (and we all need some humor in our lives right now). It would be a fun little challenge to come up with different prompts/cards and have all the different answers that can go with them, whether they are joke answers or not. That is definitely something that other people outside of our class would like and something that would stick.

Team Work Makes The Dream Work

It feels so different being the student instead of the teacher. I always disliked collaborative projects and I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to completing assignments… However, I am committed to having an open mind about this group project and I am looking forward to seeing both the process and product.

What ideas are exciting to you?  

The ideas that excite me in terms of this process and project are creating a plan that will impact my teaching. I am very interested in embracing student voices and dialects in my classroom. The readings on voice and teaching other people’s children have had that greatest impact on my teaching thus far. I am excited about embracing diversity in student learning and learning styles. Through the reading of these texts I am interested in increasing the culture of learning that takes place in my classroom. I am excited about possibly creating a unit plan or curriculum guide that will be usable by the teachers and parents in this classroom. 

Group Ideas: 

– Curriculum pals between districts 

– Turnkey this “class” during professional development 

– Mock syllabus including writing in the digital age

– TedTalk  

What learning outcomes matter more to you? 

While creating this process and project with my peers I am hoping that this will enhance my own writing. While we did a great deal of reading about writing in this class, I have not used any of the methods mentions in the works to enhance my own writing. To be honest, I have not had time to write, but I have had time to instruct writing and hold writing conferences… This has me thinking about creating a network of writers. Maybe something like what Dr. Zamora has already set up for us with the class website that feeds blogs from our writing courses… What if we expanded this website and created “tasks” to keep us all accountable, while experimenting with our writing. This idea connects to the other learning outcomes that matter to me which are using technology to showcase my own writing and dabbling in new ways of sharing writing using the internet. 

Group Ideas:

– Learning to be a better teacher and writer, 

– Using “new” technology for delivery of project

How can you make this class project count in a way that is truly meaningful to you? 

Whatever the group decides to do, I hope that it will help me in my current profession as a teacher; professional development workshop, teaching style, lesson plans, teacher leader, etc.  Additionally, I hope that whatever we decide to do will be helpful in the future career as a writer. I have put my writing on hold at the moment, so with this project I am hoping to find a bit of inspiration to start writing again. 

Group Ideas: 

-By being able to use the skills that I learn in my profession as a teacher

-By being able to use the skills that I learn in my profession as a writer 

Thoughts that are circulating through my mind since Monday’s class:

-The type of game would be some sort of card game, like a writing theory and practice expansion pack for Cards Against Humanity with quotes, writing/freewriting prompts, humorous answers, sarcasm, etc.

-Multimodality exhibit- virtual exhibit/music and lit remixing through exhibit/installations -using images of a musical album and then the literary pieces they reference/ digital pamphlet resources with links and videos and posted to teachers pay teachers for free

-An updated digital writing course