Overview: This activity uses clickers and a powerpoint slide show to engage students in a lesson about constructing ethos through appropriate style and correctness in grammar and citation form.
Author: Alyssa O'Brien
Activity name: Learning Style with Clickers: a modifiable any-time activity
Class: PWR 1/PWR 2
Activity brief description: This activity provides a fast and fun way to raise student self-awareness about patterns of error in their writing and the relationship between correct style and clear content.
Schedule: This activity can be used anytime during the quarter of either PWR 1 or 2, or even a WIM or advanced PWR class. I used it during week 3 of a WIM class, but it could actually be adapted for any time, including the first/second week of the quarter or before/after submission of first drafts or before the final RBA.
Activity length: The activity might take around 20 minutes. Plan also on 10 minutes for distributing and collecting clickers; 30 minutes total.
Request and reserve a set of clickers from our Academic Technology Specialist, Jenae Cohn. She can give you a very quick and effective training in how they work. I used 40 clickers, but you will only need 15 for a PWR class. Jenae can also teach you how to create the slides to use with the clickers, run the test, save the data, and generate reports with the data.
Design your slides with your purpose in mind. My purpose in generating this activity for the Public Policy WIM class as the Writing Specialist was threefold:
After designing and testing your slides, carry all the gear to the classroom. Set up your laptop and open the application. Distribute clickers. Give a brief explanation /demo of how to use the clickers, following Megan’s instructions. Then, run through the activities on the slides. You can either run through all the questions at once, collecting data, then go back and discuss each one at a time, or you can run one slide at a time, collecting data on that one slide, showing the results and then the correct answer, and then discussing the answer (or alternative answers) along with the rationale for a given answer. I used the second method (see my slides, attached).
Just as with MLA style rules, when students learn the "rationale" for a given style rule, they will be more likely to both remember it and comply.
See 3 additional handouts
2. PDF of article, annotated for the important parts: Larry Beason, “Ethos and Error: How Business People React to Errors,” College Composition and Communication, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Sep., 2001), pp. 33-64
3. Summary report from clicker activity in WIM class, January 2014.
Additional notes: This activity was originally published as an Activity of the Week in spring 2014.