National Writing Project

Not Your Grandmother's Comp Class

Date: October 11, 2012

Summary: Ever wonder what a writing class of 90 students would look like? Chris Fosen and Kim Jaxon, professors in the writing program at CSU, Chico, talk designing and teaching a "jumbo" comp class and the use of mentors and social media to create a vibrant learning space for all students.


Excerpt from Show

Chris Fosen , Associate Professor, California State University, Chico:

What I hear most regularly from work with other professors around campus is that they're slowly, and with real regret, removing almost all of the writing assignments. In fact, this is the thing that seems to happen most regularly and we've gotta say, it's a reasonable response to an unreasonable economic problem. But often it's not a purposeful choice for design, it's a reaction. And so the caps creep up administratively, like you [Tom Fox] said because of deans and provosts, and we wanted to be a lot more purposeful than that. So what you hear from Kim [Jaxon] is that she didn't begin this project to save money, in fact, money never entered into the equation. She did it in effect to save writing; to save what we thought was most important in teaching and learning to write: engagement, meta-cognition or reflection, avenues and multiple avenues towards participation, and revision. And the same kinds of things that you see going on in the jumbo class would be things you would find in an English class of a regular size.

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