Over the course of five class periods students will write sections of a handbook centered around campus safety for women, focusing on reducing the amount of assault by providing proven non-violent safety tips. Students focused on these areas of college life:
My overall all goals for this project are three-fold
1. Students conduct a short research project
2. Students use technology to collaborate and write a single document
3. Students work collaboratively as a whole class to edit and put together their section into a single document.
Timeframe: seven class periods of 57 minutes
I have already given students a hint as to the nature of this project before I left for a short absence. Today I am giving them the formal introduction and answering any questions they have regarding the research and production of the handbook.
Yesterday's discussion of The Wife of Bath's Tale focused on the knight, the perpetrator of the crime. Today we are shifting the focus toward the victim, who has very little mention in the Tale, but who was profoundly impacted by his actions. The Tale correctly assumes that it is men who need to adjust their attitudes toward women, but I also want my students to think about what women (and men) can do to reduce violence in places like college campuses.
The students treat this topic with suitable seriousness and respect. Their questions focus on the type of research they should conduct, the places they should look for information.
We look at the University of Montana's web resources and I ask them why this would be a good place to start.
"Because all of these resources would have been checked out by the university first," one student comments.
"Exactly," I say.
In fact I encourage them to look at the websites of other, larger college campuses and larger groups like National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
We then discuss the audience for this handbook and how the language should be worded. I've made it clear in the directions that women are the primary audience, but the students also think that men should be included as the audience. We briefly discuss gendered pronouns and using gendered pronouns to target the audience.
Finally, we discuss the appropriateness of language and the style of writing. "It might be tempting to label women who are in certain social situations, or who seem to belong to a certain social class, but this handbook should not assume anything about its audience."
The students move into their groups and begin dividing tasks up to write their sections. Some of the sections are going to be longer than others, and students start brainstorming subsections and delegating research and writing tasks.
Now that students are in their groups I encourage them to use a Google Document to store their resources and notes. That way they can see what resources each group member has found and then compile a list like the one listed in resources. They might not end up using all these resources, especially if they do not meet the criteria of a credible source, but a shared document is a good place to start.
Most students create folders as well to share individual documents. One group creates a single document with multiple pages that each group member will work on. However the groups choose to organize I monitor to make sure each group member has a specific task.