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Guy Crain

Not a direct answer to the questions posed, but I wanted to share a thought about the speaking vs. writing. I've noticed this in semesters even prior to the pandemic: I hear students making insightful comments to each other during group work, but then when I require a writing assignment, I get nearly incoherent muck. While it seems as though a person who can orally explain things should be able to write them down just as clearly, that just doesn't seem to be the case. I haven't tried it directly yet, but I'm thinking that one way to assign written work might be to start with requiring a video talk, then requiring them to write a transcript of that talk, and *then* requiring them to turn that transcript into a more straightforward written work. Any thoughts about the merit of that idea?

Abdulrahman Bajodah

I wonder if this observation about speaking VS writing is a consequence of the pressure on students to write in a specific "academic writing" way, and in philosophy a specific way of constructing "philosophy arguments."


Thanks for sharing this, Marcus! I have just been convinced to try video/audio for my upcoming class. Re Guy Crain's comment: what immediately comes to mind is the thought that some EAL students may be insecure in oral presentation in general but also thinking & talking on the fly. This, of course, can be easily addressed by relaxing the guidelines & allowing students to read from a script if they must. Anyway, thought I'd just put it out there that, while it may be true that many (perhaps most) students benefit from talking before writing, there are exceptions.

Polaris Koi

I have been using Zoom's polling function to great benefit. I do two polls each lecture: one multiple choice poll that asks a pretty tricky question about the reading to gauge how well students understood it (with an extra option for "I didn't read it"), and another that allows students to tell how much they agree with the reading. I keep the polls anonymous to facilitate honesty. It's been exciting to see how convinced (or not) students are by the assigned reading, and I've also found it useful to see whether all who read the text understood it.

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