Hello, Victoria and colleagues --
Inkshed is proving its worth again as a source of timely advice and
support. I too agree that an online course is exactly the wrong thing for
your OCAD students. I expect many of those in need of "remediation" are
learners of ESL or people with some degree of learning disability -- groups
who need oral practice and feedback even more than others. They will also
no doubt present an even wider range of needs than your administrators can
imagine, making a pre-set (purchased?) online course probably too rigid.
One thing that OCAD administrators should keep in mind is that successful
remediation is expensive. If they admit students who they know are in need
of preliminary help, they will have to be prepared to pay for it -- or else
lose the students and accordingly reduce their funding as well as their
reputation. Not to mention the human wastage.... (And, by the way, you
could remind them that developing online writing courses is extremely
expensive, and that running them is also time-consuming.)
I think your plan for monitoring student success in the foundation course
and then targeting identified students for an intensive classroom course,
adaptable to specific student needs, is by far the most practical and
inexpensive alternative you could construct. Rob is right that it will be
crucial for you to work with the course instructor to produce a clear
sequence of good assignments -- and I'm glad to know from what you said at
Inkshed 19 that you are already mapping out that process.
All the best,
"Littman, Victoria" wrote:
> This is a call for help. I'll try to be brief. First, thanks to all who
> attended Inkshed; it was a terrific conference this year. I came away
> refreshed and excited about this field and really appreciate all those
> Inkshedded comments.
> Now for my dilemma.
> Current dilemma: Administration anticipates admitting a sizable chunk of
> folks who will need remedial help. I haven't been given numbers; it could
> be 20-50 (but I'm guessing?) At an upper management meeting, they decided I
> could solve this "problem" by giving them a remedial class. There was some
> talk at that meeting of giving me more financial support to do this. Now,
> top administrators' plan is to run the remedial class through a third party
> on-line class.
> My current position: I think the on-line idea is not too promising for a
> variety of reasons.
> My current alternative: Set up a strong collaboration between the Writing
> Centre and the Foundation class that includes in-lecture, short workshops on
> targeted subjects and strongly encouraged dedicated drop-in hours at the
> Writing Centre. Do a brief and early assessment in the form of an
> integrated class assignment to identify those in need and to urge them to
> use the writing Centre.
> Students who fail the first semester of this course will have to take the
> remedial course.
> This avoids the segregation until students "need it to pass" and it gets
> more writing instruction and tutorials to more students with less stigma.
> Anybody with thoughts, criticism, hints, rationales, info. and/or statistics
> that will help me talk to administrators, would be most appreciated.
> Victoria Littman
> Writing & Learning Counsellor, OCAD
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(Dr.) Margaret Procter
University of Toronto
Coordinator, Writing Support
15 King's College Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H7
(416) 978-8109; FAX (416) 971-2027
To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
the annual conference, and publications, go to the Inkshed Web site at