If you are teaching a course right now and are intrigued by colleagues who are trying to "flip the classroom" but aren't sure where and how to begin, here's one way that is ready made. You don't have to build a thing, you don't have to do much of anything except invite your students to participate. Have them read the chapters in a major new book, Race After the Internet, then read the reviews of each contribution written by graduate students, the HASTAC Scholars. They can then write their own comments ("reviews") right there, in the Comment section. Presto! An engaged, informative new way to write for a world of connected readers.
Here's the url: http://hastac.org/blogs/fionab/2012/03/15/crowdsourced-book-review-race-... "Crowdsourced Book Review: Race After the Internet" edited by Lisa Nakamura and Peter Chow-White (Routledge).
You'll be surprised at how smart your students are when they write not just for you but for a larger public, in an engaged and open forum. You'll be jazzed by how easy this is. Welcome to the flipped classroom, to digital and connected learning!
Students will need to buy the book, Race After the Internet, in order to read the essays themselves. [NB: We've heard if you are an educator you can email Routledge and they will let you have a review copy and, maybe, if you tell them it is an assignment, they will even let you have it as an instant pdf. It's worth trying--and we're trying too! ]
You can assign the whole book or one chapter. They then read the chapter you assign, read the review written by a graduate student, a HASTAC Scholar, and posted online for all to see.
Then your student has to register for HASTAC to write a comment. It's free, it's easy, and we don't sell your data to anyone. You can unsubscribe if you don't want the mailings (about once to three times, maximum, a month--with opportunities, events, and so forth). If you wish, you can leave your comments on their comments--public feedback.
Your students have to follow our implicit community rules of civil, enlightened, engaged, intellectual discourse. Our two mottos are "learning the future together" and "difference isn't our deficit--it's our operating system." That means we reward differences of insights and opinions, but only as a contribution to our larger efforts, not as oppositional, and never as rude or offensive. No trolls allowed.
Have the student hit the "POST" button and they will have their first online publication, you can grade the work as you would a paper, and you have a fantastic assignment--midterm? final exam? final paper?
For graduate students, this can even count as a digital publication. And a foray into a wonderful forum with some of the best and brightest graduate students and scholars (of both race and the digital) out there.
I so wish I were teaching this term. This is the perfect way to teach students how to write for an audience, how to engage in a community of learning, how to see how people respond and give feedback to one another in order to think better in the future. If I were teaching, I'd be revising my syllabus right now to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Give it a try!