Final Project and Twine


For my final project, I wanted to focus on pedagogy and as I said during my presentation on Thursday, I wanted to develop a unit plan for something that I hope to actually incorporate into my Freshman Composition (Eng 101/202) in the future.

My final project is an expansion of last week’s pedagogical intervention. I will be using Twine again, but will be adding to the brainstorming/mind-mapping type activity that I created to help students create questions and organize the answers to those questions.

This Unit is for the Observational Essay and it would begin with students coming to class having sat in the Oak Grove or some busy part of campus for at least 15-30 minutes and having observed what happened around them. They would then have to bring in notes from their observations. I expect that some may be organized, but many will just be random notes, which I will tell them is okay. I don’t want them bringing in anything typed or edited.

Once they are in class, we will discuss this “project” and what they found in their observations. I will want them to read from their notes. Once we discuss the differences between simply observing something and actually putting that information together into a narrative, I will introduce them to the Observational Essay, what it means, etc. For the next class, students will come to class with an idea of what type of event/activity they would like to observe on or near campus.

During the next class, students will be grouped based what type of event they would like to observe (Sports, Art, Entertainment, Music, Talk/Speech, etc.). Ideally, there will be 6 groups of 4, but if many of the students want to all observe┬áthe same type of event, then I will just group them myself. They will then go onto the class webpage/wiki, where I will have created Twine “stories”, which will be deconstructed articles (real-life published articles) that have been broken up out of order. The students, as a group will go to Twine and read through the story. They will then try to figure out the “proper” order. I will also print out the Proof copy for the students so they can more easily read how I broke up the article and re-arranged it. There’s an example of this on my website here. It’s entitled Article Example. While I have done this before by cutting out the paragraphs or articles and having students rearrange them on a table, I think that incorporating Twine so that they can read it out of order, but presented as if it’s in a proper order can make students consider how they prioritize their organization and their writing.

I imagine this would take most of the class. I would give them a brief Twine tutorial, so they could go home and students would (hopefully) be able to recreate the story using Twine (I would have to show them and they could just copy/paste from my story). The next class, they would present their new stories and explain how they reorganized the story to make sense. Finally, I would show them how the story was originally published. Hopefully, we would have time to explain how the original differed from theirs and if they think that changed the meaning of the story.

The next part would be the brainstorming/Q & A activity I discussed last week.

After that (which should only take a day and could be done for homework), students would come to class after having attended their chosen event. After completing the Q & A brainstorming, I would have them work on organizing the events and the quotes they gathered into some sort of order that makes sense. They would create their own Twine that would be a sort of rough draft. They would work on this for 2 classes and at home.

They would complete the Twine as best as they could and then on the day of the peer review, they would exchange Twine stories with the person peer editing and the peer editor would read through their Twine story/article to see if it followed an order that made sense, if the quotes were in the proper areas supporting the information in that section, and if there were any organizational problems with the Twine.

These comments would then be given back to the author/student and he/she would use those comments to take their story out of Twine and recompile it into a traditional article that we would publish on the class webpage/blog. If they wanted, I would allow extra points if they also edited their Twine story and presented their Twine to the class.

Finally, the point of using Twine versus a non-digital/analog mode is to help students visually see (yes, I know this is redundant!!) that organization is extremely important to their articles, essays, and other types of writing. I believe that by incorporating Twine, students can easily see how and if they have a proper organizational set-up.

I am really excited to try this out in class to see how well students would respond to this integration of DH tools that are more than just how to use a blog.

Lesson Plan in less narrative form:

Day 1 — Come to class having made observations; Intro to Observational Essay

Day 2 — Come to class with idea of area of Observation; Article example

Day 3 — Come to class with Twine of reorganized Article — how does organization change meaning?

Day 4 — Brainstorming/Q&A

Day 5 — After attending event, fill out Answer part of Brainstorming

Day 6 — Work on Twine of Student articles

Day 7 — Peer Review of Student Articles

Day 8 — Publication of Article (on class blog, like an online article) — Extra credit: Also publish as Twine



Twine and Brainstorming


For my pedagogy mini-project, I wanted to think of something that I might actually use in an Eng 101 or Eng 202 course here at IUP. For my Eng 101 syllabus, I included an Observational Essay where students would act like journalists, attend an event on campus, create questions, actually interview a few people involved with the event, develop an article, and then write the final article. I am really excited for this project, since many of you know that I am a former sports writer and I think that learning to write something like this can be helpful for students in the future. While they may not become journalists or writers, knowing important elements of events can help if they ever have to write a memo to a boss about something that happened at a meeting or if they ever have to put together a press release for a charity event.

I have two primary concerns regarding this assignment:

1) Can students create thoughtful questions that would give them enough information to develop a full 2-3 page article?

2) Students tend to have difficulty organizing their ideas and organization is extremely important when putting together a journalistic article.

To try to work through these concerns, I would have students use Twine (through my guidance/hand-holding) to develop their questions and post their answers. Here is a link to my website with the HTML of my Twine (this Blog site won’t let me upload it).

The goal would be for students to create their own Twines, as I guide them through how to develop this super basic structure using Twine and how to add their content to their Twine. I think the biggest technological obstacle would be showing them how to Archive their sites so they could save them. Since the goal isn’t to teach them html coding, I would probably have them email me their Archived .html sites or we could look at them in class, so I could look at their questions and offer direct comments within their Twines.

This project will be expanded for the final project and will include the full Unit plan, including incorporating peer review and an examination of an already published article.