Response to Tony’s Step 4: Build on existing resources

With each new semester, I have become more and more convinced that using available resources is helpful and necessary.  When I started teaching writing online, I produced a ton of original content to supplement the textbook.  In a way, it was an important step in my evolution as a f2f and online teacher. Like Greg and Tony mentioned in the webinars, it made me focus, articulate, and refine my goals and strategies.  (Yes, online teaching has improved my f2f teaching greatly!)   However, now, I definitely see the value in “using existing online resources rather than re-inventing the wheel” and  Tony’s other point:  “Indeed, if several of you are developing a program, then there is considerable scope for working collaboratively to develop high quality materials that can be shared.”  Of course, the work involved in further tailor what I have gathered from others can be labor-intensive, but it’s often better than starting from scratch.  For example, our department recently re-purposed and revised a online Library Competency Unit created by the main library staff that is better suited for our students at our smaller branch campus of the college. Now that we have this nice resource, more and more instructors in various departments want to use it.  That’s terrific.  This sharing has also led to valuable questions like : “Wait… in which classes should students be covering this content?  If they encounter the same material in different classes, is that bad or is it positive reinforcement?  etc.”  

Finally, I loved this reminder: “The main question is whether you as the instructor need to find such material, or whether it would be better to get students to search, find, select, analyze and apply information. After all, these are key ’21st century skills’ that students need to have.”   I can see myself doing more of this! Food for thought…




3 thoughts on “Response to Tony’s Step 4: Build on existing resources

  1. Like you said, I believe “new” skills students need to have these days are skills to search, find, select, analyze, and apply information because there’s so much information available. These days, we have to know how to filter and analyze information for credibility, accuracy, currency, etc. In an online class I co-taught, we integrated technology competencies and literacy skills as a project. Part of the team project was in students finding and evaluating information online and sharing online what they believed were important technology competency skills. Throughout the project, they discovered the importance of being technologically competent and developed those skills like being to find, evaluate, and apply/share what they found to help others.

    • Hi Rachel,
      This is so important. At this point, I believe critical thinking and tech competency skills should be considered a prereq here at community colleges. As writing instructors, I think we often feel like the tasks is left to us to help students gain these skills as we teach research for academic writing, but certainly we cannot do it justice. It should be a cross-disciplinary focus in all classes.

      • I definitely agree with you on that. There needs to be a course that all students go through to experience those basic technology literacy and competency skills because they need those skills not only in their classes, but in life!

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