it’s alive!

Link to the project on Google Sites

I have resurrected a student writing project from the winter term of 2003-04 that used to be published on my dot Mac and then Mobile Me account, but Apple discontinued such publishing for members last summer and I have been wondering what to do with the project, whether to keep it offline for my own example or whether to pay a hosting site to publish the pages. I settled on moving it into a Google Site (really a wiki), and here’s the result. Please visit and read about what I hoped for the project in that last year that I was full-time faculty.

It was a great project in terms of having students contribute collaborative work to a larger project. It was and is not perfect–it is a course project by first-year writing students–but I keep it as an example of the kinds of interesting works we can design in our courses, so that students do not perceive their writing as busy work.

I have another such project that I will be resurrecting soon, a project that I ran in two different years in Western Classics courses. In that project, student groups learn about literary critical approaches and write three essays on one work using three different critical approaches. I’ll let you know when that site is resurrected, but in the meantime, take a look at American Labor Crises.


Categories: collaboration, computers, course design, teaching, technology, wiki

2 replies

  1. Barbara,

    This is really fascinating. I am curious if you did a summary on the exercise as a teaching/learning technique. Student response? Any public response? Engagement with student peers?

    thanks very much for sharing.



  2. Students did take an end of course survey, mine, not the school’s, and the responses were mostly positive. At the time (2003-04) students were not getting many opportunities for collaborative/public writing, and they were interested in creating something that other people might read. They were also allowed to respond on the site page called “Rationale.”

    I had a few public responses to the site over the years, mostly from people researching labor issues and running across the project in search engines. Often the comments were arguments with the students’ opinions, and I wrote back explaining that the course was over and that I had not edited the students’ writing, but that I appreciated the comments.

    I still have this brief overview of the project elements:

    Collaborative Web Project
    In groups of 4-5, you will research a significant labor event in American history, in order to produce a set of web pages that present the material in a way that would be of use to students of labor history or American history. Here are the requirements for the project:

    1. Research the event and present the history of it in class. [10 points]
    2. Prepare exposition essay of 1000-1200 words (minimum) that gives comprehensive history of event and discusses how the event contributed to or changed labor relations. In some cases, an event had legal or legislative ramifications; in some cases, workers were worse off than before the event; in some cases the effects of the event are still felt and unresolved. [60 points]
    • Sources for essay:
    • Must have at least 4 credible sources for the essay. Any more than that must be approved by me.
    • Must have at least one credible print source from the library, which can be a book or an article in a scholarly journal.
    • Web sites must be thoroughly evaluated for credibility, as well as for appropriateness for the purpose.
    3. Prepare an annotated bibliography of sources consulted–that includes the ones you decide to use for the essay and other credible ones that you decide not to use. The annotated bibliography should contain 6 sources. [15 points]
    4. Prepare a list of credible links to sites of interest in the study of your event. The list may contain links to sites you used as sources, but ideally should contain some others. [5 points]
    5. Arrange a group conference with me for the purpose of revising the draft of your essay. [10 points]

    Thanks for your interest.


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