Let’s Get Started! ECI 521 Fall 2011 Begins!

17 08 2011

Whatever turn in the road has led you to this course, I hope you will find it a valuable stop along your journey.

You’ll begin the course by reflecting on a book that made a difference in the teenage years of your journey. A journey book we’ll call it.

Regardless of when those teenage years were, the world has changed and there’s much to learn about the realities of literacy, literature, and learning in the 21st century.

I hope this detailed letter will serve as a good introduction to the course. If you have any questions, please contact me. You’ll find my contact information at the end of this letter.


1. Contributions
2. How To Get Started
3. Orientation, Action Items, Aug. 17 – Aug. 23
4. Weekly Updates
5. Sandbox for New Literacies
6. Seeds I’d Like to Sow

1. Contributions

First, a little about me and the contributions I hope to make. I have taught ECI 521: Teaching Literature for Young Adults for ten years. I began to teach it just after I completed my PhD at State in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on literacy and technology. It is the most fun I have each year and I always look forward it. One of the reasons it is so much fun is that we partner with a teen book club, the Eva Perry Mock Printz Book Club. This club won the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award for Best Teen Literature Program in the country in 2009, and we are so fortunate to have their contributions to our class.

I want to thank you in advance for the contributions that you’ll make to this class — for what you’ll share that will touch the professional lives of everyone in the class . . . and perhaps beyond.

2. How to Get Started

We’ll enter Moodle, NC State’s official online learning management system, just to sign a waiver and consent form for the course and get our marching orders.

The Moodle url is http://moodle.wolfware.ncsu.edu

Sign-in using your NC State account username and password. Then look for “ECI 521: Teaching Literature for Young Adults.”

Select this course and you will see a brief greeting. There’s a link to the Bookhenge 2011 Wiki, but before you even think of going there – please read the Waiver and Consent Form. This is simply an official notification that you are going to be working on the open Web, blogging, tweeting, creating with Web 2.0 tools and that 99% of your work is public. The other 1% is what you’ll share in your reflections and self-assessments in your Reflective Assessment Process (RAP) with me. Also, the form addresses the value of your class contributions to not just our class but other educators. If you have any questions, then call/text me (919.247.7955) or email (decrissm@ncsu.edu).

The only other reason to visit the Moodle course after you’ve addressed the Waiver and Consent Form is to check for classmates’ emails (in Profiles under Participants). These we will not share on the open Web.

So you’re ready then to check out our Bookhenge 2011 Wiki, our course website. Again, you’ll find the link in the Moodle.
I’ll paste a screen save of the Bookhenge 2011 Wiki Homepage so you can begin to learn your way around.

See ***Orientation*** for this week's Action Items!

3. Orientation – Activities/Action Items – Aug. 17 – Aug. 23

You’ll have this first week to become familiar with the course space, introduce yourself, and begin to get to know our colleagues in the course. I’ll list the ten Activities/Action Items for the Orientation period here and you can learn more in Orientation under the Navigation frame (right side) under Course Plan of Action or ***Orientation***.

Please complete the first two items, Sign Waiver & Consent Form and Send Check-In Message by 11:59 tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 17, so I’ll know that you’ve received this message and can begin work.

Action Items:
(Due Aug. 17) __ Sign Waiver & Consent Form (Moodle)
(Due Aug. 17) __ Send Check-In Message (email decrissm@ncsu.edu)
__ Review Syllabus and tweet questions (Bookhenge2011 Wiki/Twitter #Bookhenge)
__ Design Personal Trading Card (WallWisher)
__ Record Journey Book Reflection on Class VoiceThread (VoiceThread)
__ Join Class Diigo Bookmarking Group (Diigo)
__ Complete Funds of Knowledge Inventory. Tag & Tweet. (Blog & Twitter)
__ Schedule a personal conference (email decrissm@ncsu.edu)
__ Create a 3D virtual identity and begin to develop Second Life Multiple Intelligences.
__ RAP the session (Google Docs)

4. Weekly Updates

Each session will begin on Wednesday morning with a Weekly Email Update at 8 am and will end on Tuesday nights at 11:59 pm. You’ll see all the LIVE Classes and special events posted to our Course Calendar (see Course Calendar in Bookhenge 2011 Wiki). I promise to spell out all expectations for the week ahead in these weekly emails. I’ll email and post them in the Bookhenge Course Blog (see Course Blog in Bookhenge 2011 Wiki).

5. Sandbox for New Literacies

This course is designed as a sandbox for new literacies.

I’ve designed the course so that a few tools are absolutely necessary because they serve as the communication, collaboration, and curation backbone for our class. These we must have in common. They include Diigo, Google Docs, Second Life, Twitter, VoiceThread, WallWisher, and YouTube.

You have autonomy in choosing additional tools to help you learn and practice the new literacies of connecting, communicating, collaborating, creating, and curating in the digital environment.

What’s important isn’t the tools you choose but that you find tools that work for you in your own personal learning environment/space. The tools will change and the literacies will evolve, but this seems a wise way to get and stay updated, both course-wise and beyond.

I have staggered the introduction of new tools so you won’t need to learn all at once. When you’re feeling comfortable with the Orientation tools, please do look ahead to Session 1. I’ll send out a letter on Wednesday morning, Aug. 24, with more information on Second Life but do look ahead to the tutorial as soon as you’re ready.

6. Seeds I’d Like to Sow

I’ve built in lots of opportunities for dialogue and mentoring. You’ll write a reflective “letter” to me each session in the Reflective Assessment Process (RAP). We’ll also be meeting virtually for at least two personal conferences. Just brief meetings of 10 to 15 minutes, but quality one-to-one time to talk.

I’d also encourage you to begin considering an inquiry question for your Action Learning Project. As you take stock of your funds of knowledge about our course outcomes, it’s not too early to reflect on what topic might resonate most with you and hold much relevance for your future teaching.

Finally, at least for now, please don’t hesitate to call/email/tweet/whatever when you need help. Though a little bewilderment can often lead to enlightenment, time is too precious to waste in frustration. I’ll respond as quickly as I can, and you have a class of colleagues ready to help.

Whew! That’s all for now. Relax. Take a deep breath. And let’s get started.




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