This course was much different than I thought it would be. While I imagined a “work-shop” style course and plenty of discussion and collaborative projects, I didn’t really know what exactly a senior seminar was supposed to be about. I guess I imagined the course would culminate a huge exam. I thought we would spend the entire semester working on preparing for this imagined exam and if I didn’t pass it at the end, then I wouldn’t graduate. I’m extremely grateful that there is no huge exam!
I remember that at the start of the semester we were all asked to consider the title of the course and explain what it meant. What is “Multi-Genre Literacy in a Global Context”? After having participated in the course, I feel better equipped to answer the question but I still don’t know if I’m right or wrong. To me, the class was about learning to be fluent in different genres in order to communicate more effectively across the world. We touched on communicating through poetry, through film, though digital media, and through informative writing. We studied the work of others and we created our own in effort to become fluent in as many “languages” as possible. I learned that I need to be able to take advantage of every means of communication possible because the way we communicate has evolved dramatically. In order to stay relevant, in order to be an effective teacher, I need to be able to use different forms of media to communicate. I also need to be able to show my students how to do the same.
One of the most effective components of this course, for me, was the blog. Having to post my work to a public forum was one of he best ways for me to understand the power of global communication. I admit that I haven’t seen much traffic on the site. I haven’t made an inspiring connection with a reader from another country. But the thought that someone as far away as China or India could be reading my work and be inspired to reach out to me is excited and motivating. I enjoyed entertaining the idea that the possibilities for connection were so much more vast now that my work was displayed on a public forum. In fact, I went out and researched some safe options for my students to do the same. The website Figment.org is a really great tool for students to use in similar way that we used the blogs. Students from across the U.S. can publish various genres of their own writing and receive feedback from others who have profiles on the site.
When I told my students that people from New York, Boston, or Chicago could be reading their work, they changed very quickly. I saw the quality of their work improve measurably and I noted that they were much more focused and precise. It’s amazing that the simple thought of new people interacting with our work can have such a noticeable effect on our efforts.
I really enjoyed this course. I’m glad that I had no idea what to expect when I starts and I’m grateful that I found tools to take out to my students to teach them new ways of communicating. Thank you!