[Edprof] collaborative learning in editing

Susan Keith susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Thu Aug 30 21:34:34 PDT 2007

What great teaching tips these are!

I've done two things somewhat less creative with a fair amount of success. I
should say, before going further, that I adapted both ideas from entries in
AEJMC's annual Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) competition. Unfortunately, I
no longer remember whose GIFT submissions they were.

First, after every class period, students have a couple of days to take an
open-book online quiz covering a particular grammar point or a particular
group of AP style rules. What makes the quiz interactive is that I encourage
students to working in pairs or groups on the quizzes. Every student has to
individually submit a set of answers within a limited time, but I tell the
students that they are free to work together to try to look up and debate
what the right answers are. I also write several more questions than any one
student will get, say 18 questions for a 10-question quiz. Then I set our
Blackboard-like program to pull 10 questions, at random, for each student
from that 18-question pool. That means students working in groups will
usually have to puzzle through more than a single set of questions.

Second, I have a review day about a third of the way into the semester when
I divide the students into teams of three. I project PowerPoint slides of
sentences containing grammar, style or factual errors on a screen. If the
first team can identify all the problems in the first sentence, it gets a
point. If it can identify only part of the problems, the team gets half a
point and the next team has a chance to fix the remaining problems for a
half point. Then the second team has the opportunity to look at its own
sentence for a full point. At the end of class, when every team has had the
same number of turns, I total up the points. The winning team members get
small prize bags containing items I save all year, such as newspaper coffee
mugs and Post-It notes for marking often-used stylebook rules.

Susan Keith, Ph.D.
Assistant professor
Department of Journalism and Media Studies
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 932-7500, ext. 8235
susank at scils.rutgers.edu
Office: CILS 106

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