Using CompFAQs in Graduate Courses
DRAFTY Ideas (July 2008):
[This is a document in process; so any feedback you can offer: <comppile AT gmail DOT com> . . .]
One of the principles informing CompFAQs is that we (as participants in our disciplinary knowledge community) know quite a bit about writing and writing instruction. But we have no ready-access to even the most common answers to questions that are asked regularly. (At least we didn’t until we launched CompFAQs.)
CompFAQs is an open, collaborative environment, relying on the wiki ethos to invite / encourage community participation.
See CompFAQs History for an overview of how this started and why.
How many ways might faculty use CompFAQs in graduate courses?
How can we be innovative as we think about our course assignments? Instead of fixating only on a traditional seminar paper or some mock conference presentation, on “reading responses” or “reading notebooks,” we might think instead of how we develop / express our professional / disciplinary identities in the network culture, using tech-tools that enable us to expand the reach of our knowledge community. Work on CompFAQs (or on CompPile: see ideas here) invites / challenges students to learn about and to engage with “live” forums in our ongoing conversations.
Submissions do not have to be complete answers or “WikiPedia”-like or “essay-like.” The larger goal of CompFAQs is to provide research-based, relevant answers to questions. I don’t think answers will ever be “done.”
Submissions can take many forms, in other words. One advantage I see for this in a grad course is that contributors have a chance to consider carefully the needs / expectations of our knowledge community as they manifest in this open, collaborative environment.
Or in common comp-talk, when students contribute to CompFAQs, they are engaging in a “living” discourse/knowledge community, with a “real” audience, a specific purpose, and an innovative forum. This last is interesting to me because it offers students a chance to use research and writing in “non-traditional” ways, taking advantage of web-ness, etc.
So here’s a drafty list of ideas:
So far, no one has attempted the “grammar” FAQ. What do we know about the connections between “grammar” instruction and writing instruction? What research has been done? (The Qs here could go on and on.)
With any use of CompFAQs in classes:
Students or faculty do NOT have to know how to use the wiki. Glenn can arrange to post any or all materials. However, for students or faculty who are comfortable with the wiki environment, they are welcome to contribute.
FAQ responses don’t necessarily have to reside on the CompFAQs wiki. Students can develop responses on their own sites or as a PDF; we can link to the site from CompFAQs; we can upload documents.
One caveat: new CompFAQs will be listed on the front page and in main index only after Glenn approves it.
Glenn is available to help students plan the design of their FAQ responses, sub-links, etc.
Glenn and (usually) Rich are available to read drafts of student contributions.
Please consider participating in the CompPile/CompFAQs community.