I should make a more formal and "thinky" post soon, but as I worked on drafting an assignment this morning, I realized that this community would be a great place to think through my pedagogical questions. Part of what inspires me about this community is the mixture of practical and theoretical.
At the Early Modern Digital Agendas seminar this summer, I was amazed by the flood of back-channel communications and collaborations. Twitter, collaborative Notes documents, and the occasional email made for an intense, sometimes overwhelming, but brilliantly informative pedagogical environment.
Over the past couple months, I’ve been thinking about how to bring elements of that collaborative energy to the discussion sections I will be running for “Words V. Music,” a cross-listed course in the English and Music departments focusing on lyrics in (largely American) song.
One of the experiments that I plan on trying this semester: I am building a framework for each of my classes to create a glossary of key (analytical and descriptive) terms. I plan on inviting each of them to a shared Google document. Are there best practices I should think of as I draft this assignment? How might I invite more student control? How should I think about questions of assessment? Should I consider using a different technology? (A course wiki seemed promising, but perhaps more trouble than it is worth.)
I’ve been trying to read up on what makes collaborative projects successful. Two things that have stood out so far: (1) clear communications as to expectations and (2) the opportunity to address a problem or question that feels significant. I worry a little about (2). Though I plan to emphasize the utility of this document, it’s not demanding much work beyond finding definitions and entering them in. How could I strengthen this component of the project?
Does anyone have experience with similar projects? What other collaborative resources might we build together? A bibliography? A list of recommended songs?
What collaborative class resources have you asked your students to prepare?