The Project at a Glance...Education Technology Services (ETS) at Penn State is working with the English department to redesign the upper-level composition courses that are required of all undergraduates. Students in these courses are asked to produce reports, resumes, and other professional documents that are relevant to their future professional careers.
Faculty who teach these courses realized that the current format was not preparing students for working in the Digital Age. Employers expect new employees to be able to do more than just submit paper reports. Stuart Selber, Director of Composition, charged ETS with "bringing composition at Penn State into the 21st Century."
Using the Blogs at Penn State platform and Digital Commons studios, students are creating online portfolios, using multimedia to enhance assignments, and reflecting on digital literacy through individual and course blogs. What was a paper resume is now an interactive professional Web space. What was a paper set of instructions is now an audio and/or video "how-to" guide. Where once students would have only limited interaction with each other, they now provide constant feedback, link to additional resources, and create a community of information that expands beyond the classroom.
Early reports from instructors indicate that while students require some training on the new technologies, they are more personally invested in the material produced, and the assignments are "much more rich than in the way the course was previously taught."