Showcase: ENG 385
ENG 385, Literature and Leadership, was taught in Winter 2017 by Leslie Fischer. This course was selected due to its high Quality Matters score, outstanding assessment strategy, and excellent student support structures built into the course. Read and listen to Leslie's experiences in converting the class from a hybrid to a fully online experience and her focus on a student-centered course design.
The Bachelor of Science degree program in Organization Behavior: Business Leadership (BLP) is offered in an accelerated cohort. In two years, students complete a prescribed schedule of hybrid courses that meet every other Saturday, alternating with online weeks. Recently, some courses in the second year have been converted to a fully online format to accelerate progress toward the degree.
This required course, English 385âLiterature and Leadership, was converted to an online format beginning in Winter 2017. Interestingly, teaching the final hybrid version of the course overlapped with some of the development process, so I had a great opportunity to reflect on the learning objectives while implementing course goals in real time. A text transcriptÂ of this interview is available.
Course Objectives/Student Characteristics
Business students, particularly in an accelerated program where time is precious, need a clear rationale for studying literature. In addition to making each module relevant to their aspirations as leaders by identifying and learning from literary examples of leadershipâwhere leaders are pushed to psychological, moral, and political limitsâit was important to build a preliminary module that demonstrated the possibility of becoming better leaders if students could come to appreciate literature's ability to elicit feeling, cultivate the imagination, and call leaders to account as human beings. A transcript of this interview is available.
We developed the table displaying the specific alignment of activities with objectives first because it helps me as an instructor to reflect on what activities are got-to-have and which are nice-to-have. For learners, the primary advantage of this table is that they understand why-do-I-have to complete this activity. If learners understand how an assignment will help them achieve module objectives, they are more committed to completing that module's assignments and they can more easily develop a coherent vision of what they are achieving in each module.
Presentation of Information
In looking at textbooks, we found that formatting plays an important role in signaling content. The blue and green boxes in the content pages on Canvas are meant to cue students to different types of information. Blue signals questions that may help them to reflect more deeply but are not assignments. Green indicates the definitions of literary terms that help students think about the texts we read and support their informed discussion of those texts.
Each module overview begins with a quotation from an author we are studying, a thought leader, a humorist, or an historical figure. These quotations put a human face on the materials and are meant to focus attention on an issue of leadership found in literature or to address the learners' potential resistance to the material.
Knight Lab Timeline
The Knight Lab's storytelling tools are excellent resources for providing context and for visualization. We used the timeline tool to illustrate the colonial history of Antigua that informs the setting of Jamaica Kincaid's short story, "Girl."