Project CW-2019

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ENG 2250: Five Weeks of Creative Writing Online

Summer 2019

Challenge: Design and teach a unique online curriculum for a condensed 5-week “Introduction to Creative Writing” course at a diverse, two-year college using the LMS, Blackboard, and having only a brief course description. This course would have no scheduled virtual meetings but due dates needed to be synchronous following higher education semester systems. All course materials needed to be highly engaging and clear. The course required a patterned calendar of work due each week to move students forward quickly, completing course objectives by the end, inspired and absorbing knowledge through effective brief readings, directed practice, and deeper reflections.

Google Sites & Blackboard

Solution: I drew upon my own student experience and love of creative writing to develop a curriculum with five focused units, one course unit per week. The course units were displayed prominently as a set of five content modules in Blackboard. Each week, students had three key due dates to “break down” each unit’s assignments.

My goals in building curriculum within each unit:

  •  Give students a small “taste” of each major creative writing genre through effective examples;
  •  Show how each genre upholds key elements of the writing craft, such as word choice and perspective, that are applicable across any genre;
  •  Introduce students to a creative “writing process” they could personalize and take with them in life.

Assignments consisted of short readings, directed creative practice, and self-reflections. At the course’s end, students were to compile and revise at least three pieces of original writing created in practice to turn in as a “Final Manuscript” alongside a short, personal reflection of the writing they created/revised and their goals with writing moving forward.

I created a course in Blackboard with a tailored menu centered around the Course Units. Each Unit had its own Learning Objectives and Table of Contents. I created an accompanying, thematic Google Site for students to return to again and again for easy access to key resources such as the course calendar and syllabus.

BONUS Design Elements

This short Creative Writing course is only one course over the last 14 years teaching writing and developing my own unique curriculum through backwards design and scaffolding. I’ve developed courses that move students through building their own websites and blogs, and I’ve worked as a consultant within multiple project courses revolving around student publications, such as literary journals and informative websites. I’ve most enjoyed providing “exploratory” writing assignments, allowing students to choose their own topic and the direction of their research and discovery, assigning reflective essays as a part of the assignment in which they reflect upon the steps they’ve taken and new questions they have discovered. I have continuously revised my courses, surveying my students and inviting feedback from them in forms and through open forums. Here, I’m sharing three additional elements I’ve created and used in my courses to improve upon direction and assessment.

Short “Introduction to Our Blackboard Course” Video with Screencapture

Google Syllabus Awareness Quiz

Tabled Grading Rubric for Short Essays