Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Using Social Media in ES1102

Interactive Learning for Blackstone's EAP groups

In ES1102 we use social media as an integral part of the course. This is done in various ways.

The first way is through the use of blogging as the basis for an e-portfolio. Building an e-portfolio is a value-added component of ES1102. The primary part of the e-portfolio is an individual blog that you will create as a home-base for most of your ES1102 writing. The core of that writing will be responses to the course writing assignments and subsequent interaction about those assignments with your instructor and classmates. In fact, one of the most critical components of the portfolio is the feedback you give to and receive from peers.

An additional aspect of the use of social media is your interaction via the course Facebook page. We have an ES1102 course Facebook page (please “like” ES1102 Issues &Interactions) that we often use as a platform for sharing writing in class. You should visit this site regularly, using it to ask questions and give opinions and as a platform for sharing relevant video and text links with classmates. 

We will refer to both the blogs and the Facebook page in class. In addition, we have a course Symbaloo page: .

The Symbaloo page is simply a graphic 'bookmark' of the main websites for ES1102. Join Symbaloo to enjoy this additional resource.

Blogging, as you may know, is a form of self-publishing, online. Once a writer has set up a weblog, or blog, he or she can post on a variety of topics and receive feedback from anyone with an Internet connection.  This can be useful when writing is shared within a particular community, whether a special interest group, class or any other blogging group. In ES1102, blogging will serve as a way for you to
  • reflect on course content in writing in a formal and semi-formal manner;
  • develop and share your ideas with an audience that is not limited to your instructor;
  • learn about the ideas of your classmates and your tutor;
  • comment on the ideas of others; and
  • refine your writing skills. 
Your various interactions in cyberspace have the general objective of
  • allowing you to connect with classmates and your instructor outside of class;
  • encouraging you to ask questions, give opinions and share information;
  • and helping you better understand the role of social media in shaping effective communication within the academic community. 
THE “HOW” of Blogging and Facebook
1.     Setting up a blog
  • To create your own blog website, go to, or any other blog site. At these sites, follow the instructions to create your own site. To make your site recognizable to classmates, your address could have ES1102, and your given name, family name or nickname on it.
  • Once you have created a blog for our course, within that, you can eventually begin to post responses to assignments.  The title of your course-related blog might be something like “EAP” or “ES1102.”
  • Eventually, share your blog address with me and your classmates at this link:
  • We will post the link to your blog on our own blog.
2.     Blogging groups/blogging buddies
In your ES1102 class/tutorial group, you will be assigned a blogging group of 4-6 members at the start of the semester. For every written post that you make, you should read and respond to the posts of at least two members of this blogging group. The purpose of this is for you and your blogging group members to share written ideas with each other. In this way, you might also develop greater familiarity with each other and assist each other in creating the most appropriate and effective posts possible. A second purpose is for this smaller class group to have an opportunity to demonstrate the skills needed to become a cohesive social unit.

3.     The four-stage blogging process
  • Stage One: Having setting up your blog, read the blog assignment for the first post (see schedule on the course website), and write a response of 250 to 300 words, preferably as a word document. Later you can copy and paste this doc into the new post section of your blog.
  • Stage Two:  Publish your post on your blog by the assigned date.
  • Stage Three: Access the blogs of at least two other members of your blogging group, and read their posts for the same topic/assignment. After reading each post, leave a comment.  In your commentary, you might answer questions such as these: What do you think about the post?  Does it respond to the assignment? Is the content clear and well expressed? Is the content impressive or not?  If it is, what makes it so? Is it concise, coherent, cohesive? Is the answer complete? Are you in agreement or disagreement with any opinions stated? Is the writer courteous (and are you)? How clear and accurate is the language use?

    Once you have reacted to the posts of at least two members of your blogging group, you can visit and comment on the blogs of other classmates.
A necessary condition for an assessment of excellent in the Portfolio portion of our course grade is that you read and react in writing to at least a total of three classmates’ posts per blog assignment.

Pay close attention to your language use. Remember, a blog is a form of publishing, and when and if you present your ideas in public, it is advisable to present them in a clear, grammatically accurate fashion. You should also use a tone that, while not as formal as that of a formal letter or official written report, should still adhere to standards for courtesy, correctness, conciseness, clarity, coherence/cohesion, concreteness and completeness, the so-called 7Cs of good writing.
  • Stage Four: Return to your post to see what commentary has been left. Follow that up, if you like, with comments back to your readers.

There is formal assessment of your e-portfolio. I will give you feedback with a focus on your blog posts' content & organization, your language use, the timeliness of your posting and the manner, frequency and accuracy of your comments on classmates' posts. (Please see the rubric for the portfolio).
While your interactions with Facebook in the course are also viewed by me and others, there is no evaluation. Your own focus should be on how you make an effort to ask questions, search for relevant video and text sources to share, and then view/read and comment on the links provided by others, are able to value add to the course discussions by their effort. Strictly speaking, this may not add up to points for a mark, but it will certainly advance your learning, and it will warm your tutor's heart!

I. Assignment 1:  Due by Friday night, midnight, January 23rd, Week 2
Write a reflective post on the topic “My English Language Learning Journey” or “Living in A Globalized World: The Importance of English for Me,” or an instructor-approved variation of one of these topics. This should be 250 to 300 words.

II. Assignment 2:  Due first tutorial, February 9th or 10th, Week 5
Write the first draft of your assessed reader response essay to one of the reading articles related to social media. This draft should be 500 to 600 words.

III. Assignment 3:  Due by Sunday, midnight, February 22nd, Recess Week
Write a reflective post on "An Influential Event," one that has shaped your life and the person you have become. This should be 150 to 250 words.

 IV. Assignment 4:  Due by the start of Tutorial #1/Week 7
Write and post the first draft of your problem-solution essay. This should be 800-900 words.

V. Assignment 5:  Due by the end of Tutorial #1/Week 11
Write a critically reflective post on the topic “The Role of Peer and Tutor Feedback." Explain your view of that feedback, how it impacted your developing writing skills, and  whether/how you might have transferred content, organization and language skills learned in the course to writing assignments within any other module. This should be 300 to 400 words.

Finally: In addition, please upload a paper that you have written and submitted for another course. It would be great if you could briefly explain whether/how you might have benefited from feedback given in our writing while working on this paper.