Instructor Q & A: Mike Bierschenk

Instructor Q-A Banner

In this series of posts, we’ll ask instructors to describe their experience at the onset of the online GE creation process. Once the semester has finished, we’ll revisit them to see how things went. 
Mike Bierschenk, English Department

Mike Bierschenk, English Department

Mike Bierschenk spoke with us about the process so far in developing the online sections of English 1110, a first-year composition course that focuses on teaching students skills in analytical thinking and writing as well as introducing them to university culture. Four online sections of this course will be available to students for the fall 2014 semester. On average, around ninety-four sections of this course are offered each semester at the Ohio State University. Starting in August, the new online sections will serve approximately seventy-two university students in their first offering.

Q: Thinking back to the initial decision to create the online general education courses and your involvement, what were some of your first concerns or questions?

A:     One of our first concerns was participation: what does it mean to participate in an online class? Is it just reading? Taking quizzes? We knew from the start that that wouldn’t cut it for us; we teach our GTAs that lecturing is often the least effective form of teaching, and instead encourage active student engagement, so there was no way we wanted to take a step backward! Luckily it turns out that in a writing class you can always get students to, natch, write. We’re planning for active written engagement, and we’re writing our syllabi and assignment prompts with that in mind. Continue reading