The last major piece of writing that my college comp students complete this year is one they choose. I’ve seen a variety of genres, from a poetry anthology (complete with a sestina) to an APA research paper on AIDS. It all depends on students’ current interests, career goals, or simply an area of writing they feel they could improve.
Even though we’re learning online this year, the process doesn’t change. Students submit their proposal and set of deadlines. Each week after that, they need to complete a progress report and any questions/requests they have for me. In the meantime, I read through their work in progress and give feedback to them.
Besides the topic and genre, students also choose how they will publish their work–because they need to publish their work. Whether they create their own page via Adobe Spark or start a Medium account, they need to create a piece of work that will be published to the world.
However, there are also deadlines and parameters for the project (see above). Usually, I require at least 1500 words, but given our current craziness, I’m requiring 1000 this year. Based on these parameters, each student completes a project proposal with a timeline to complete all the work. (See below)
Each week, students update their progress on their second slide, as well as ask questions or request assistance from me. Of course, some students will not meet their deadline, and I suspect this may especially happen in these early weeks of the project this year since I’m not seeing them daily during class time. What I reiterate to them is to be honest, tell what they did get done, and then adjust next week’s plan accordingly so that they still make progress.
I’m not sure what this project will be like this year with our new learning environment. Is it possible students will fall behind? Yep. I’d even say it’s likely. But making (and adjusting) plans is just as important a skill that they need for college. The only thing I do know is that I’ll try to treasure these final weeks with my students as much as I can.