On the WAW network Ning in 2014, instructors had a conversation about pilot programs implementing WAW approaches. With the contributors’ permission, we have copied and pasted the initial post and–in the comments–the replies.
Hi. I’m new here. We are heading into the fourth semester of a small, informal WAW pilot at Hunter College. For two semesters, I was the pilot. Now we are three teachers and next semester we will be at least four.
So far it’s been bottom-up and horizontal, run mostly below the school’s radar by a grad student and adjuncts, with support from WPAs who see us as an interesting experimental model.
We are thinking about issues like common course elements and goals, recruiting other adjuncts to do a kind of teaching that we know requires more work for no extra pay, and formulating programmatic assessments that move beyond rubric-based essay or portfolio readings so we avoid the negative washback effects and unanticipated misuses of information we generate, so that our assessment can deeply benefit our teaching.
We haven’t thought about “threshhold concepts” as such; but we agree with Liz Clark’s 2010 argument that we face a “digital imperative” so this semester we all taught paperless classes that included website portfolios and movie essays. Rhetoric feels important too: we all taught some classic rhetoric and some visual rhetoric, even as we learn it ourselves.
Wardle and Roozen’s goal of teaching to promote “rhetorical dexterity (Carter, 2008) across boundaries and in multiple contexts.” (111-12) feels like a powerful touchstone.
Anyhow, I’d love to talk here or directly at smolloy at hunter dot cuny dot edu.