The World Has Gone Hybrid

If all hybrid cars were this sweet,
I’d own two

I’m coming toward the end of my time here at San Francisco State University, and one thing that’s been on my mind since last week isn’t where am I going to apply for work or do I need a tweed sport coat now since I’m going to be an English instructor?  Instead, I’m debating on whether or not I should fork out additional $2.50 on a new highlighter with so little time left as a grad student.  Digitally, I can highlight a PDF file all night long, but since all my readings aren’t available digitally, I’ll probably have to suck it up and buy (or steal) a highlighter to get by until December 13th (my last day, hopefully, wink, wink to you Kory, the greatest instructor of all time).  I actually find myself beginning to finally embrace the whole digital literacy world…and perhaps even preferring it.

While diligently reading this weeks texts, as I have since day one of the M.A. Program, I couldn’t help but take a liking to the section about hybrid classes from Warnock’s Teaching Writing Online: How & Why.  I think that since my time here in the program, and for sake of ENG 708, I’ve definitely changed my views in terms of digital literacy and how we cannot just utilize it but take full advantage of it in our composition classrooms.  From being skeptical in my first blog and second blog of this semester, I can honestly admit that I’ve finally come to realize how digital technology can enhance a classroom and broaden our students in this new age, as opposed to frighten them and cause them to resist this new age of digital reform, which were how I generally viewed such practices.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still proud to admit I’m a member of the old

My hybrid dog, Alabama
One part yorkie, one part poodle
She keeps me warm and safe

school.  I hand write checks, I buy CDs and I even call my friends when I want to see how they’re doing.  I know though that not everyone can be as groovy as me, especially these youngsters.  So that’s where the idea of the hybrid class comes into play.  I think the hybrid class is a way for someone such as myself to reach students on a classical level, one in which I’ve been a part of my whole life with the teacher in the front, and a class full of students at desks.  But it’s safe to say, that students, and more importantly, people are moving towards, if they haven’t already, into a field dominated by computers, smart phones, email and all other various forms of technology.  In a sense, we’ve taken the basic skills technology class, and mixed it with the composition class.  I feel it’s only fair to combine the two, especially in the age in which we find ourselves today and where we see ourselves in the future.  I’m curious if perhaps, the hybrid class will eventually drop the word hybrid and simply just be called English Class?  I feel that where we are going technologically speaking, it may be difficult to avoid the inevitable.  Perhaps if not in the next five to ten years, then perhaps at least in, say, 20 or so years from now.

Farewell my good friend

I’m glad I’ve finally come around and have convinced myself that digital literacy is not just some form of technology out there for some of us.  In fact it’s a tool which is available for all of us, especially as English instructors.  If a groovy, old school dude such as myself can be convinced, then I’m sure the rest of this crazy college place can as well.  Besides, imagine all the money we’ll be saving on highlighters!


3 comments on “The World Has Gone Hybrid

  1. In my job, I use technology in all my classes–hybrid doesn’t mean anything special now (though online, as in only online, does). In fact, this semester I have this great classroom in which the desks are long (not attached to chairs) and wide and therefore nice for spreading out one’s books, etc., but there is also a handle in part of the top of the desk by which you can pull a computer up–the classroom morphs into a lab. This term, following Kory’s lead, I’ve created blogs for each student (within the course platform–not public). Sometimes, students talk to each face to face, and sometimes they talk to each other online, making connective comments on each other’s blogs–the use the blogs both in the classroom and for homework. Thus the conversation seemlessly moves between the physical and the electronic. I’m even experimenting with a wiki project. We’ve started brainstorming questions they come up with about the travel memoir we are reading. I started a brainstorming activity on the board, and then we switched to the wiki, with everyone writing together–both adding questions and editing ones already posted. The class came up with thirty questions! My plan is to have sections in the wiki in which students collaboratively write answers to some of the questions, an online compliment to class discussions.

  2. I’ve taught both online and on campus for almost 13 years now and I have to say that I wish some of my online students would purchase a highlight pen. I want them to print out the lectures. Read them… actually sit down and read them with highlight pen in hand. Take notes. Old school style in a paper notebook.

    Not to get too self-referential here but I have to say that I was careening toward the future at break-neck speed. I never took a single paper note. Everything was in my laptop. I never bought a textbook if I could help it and kept everything in the cloud. But I realized something. Distancing myself from the old methods I felt myself distanced from the learning. I was learning stuff but it was just beyond a barrier in my mind. I knew the material but I felt like if I didn’t have a screen in front of me, I’d forget it. So this semester I went back to hand writing notes in a book. Back to printed books. Back to the highlight pen. It made the difference for me. I feel more engaged, more attached to what I’m learning. I feel like if I could give this wisdom to my online students, maybe they’d get something from it.

    They sure do struggle with the simplest things and ask questions that are always answered in the lectures. They say they read them, but I wonder. Is reading the screen the same as reading a page? Are they highlighting important points digitally? Are they retaining what they read? Evidence says no. And this is of great concern to me.

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