VCCS Litonline Introduction to Literature
English 112 (English Composition II)
Litonline and the VCCS 10 Best Practices
the 3rd annual VCCS May Symposium on teaching with technology in 2001,
participants elaborated 10
Best Practices for Content Development. These
have been incorporated as major criteria for VCCS LearningWare grants, the
successor program to the VCCS Courseware grants that built the Litonline website
and many others in the late 1990s. Here's a listing of how the Litonline site
embodies those "10 Best Practices."
the VCCS 10 Best Practices, the Litonline
provided much student-to-student interaction, since about 60% of the webs
are discussion forums.
Three of these forums have been used to foster deliberate student
interaction across two or three colleges.
for the one-act play "Trifles" shows questions
contributed by Ron Carter of Rappahannock CC and Eric Hibbison of
J. Sargeant Reynolds CC. In Spring, 1999, their students
participated in the forum with students from Northern Virginia CC
who were studying with Cathy Simpson. Note that the directions
for students show the usual steps that groups took, whether
from one college, two, or three colleges, whether using a Front
Page forum at this Litonline site or using the TCC WebBoard.
forum for Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" shows the questions
developed by faculty members Eric Hibbison and Donna Reiss for
inter-college discussions held by their students on WebBoard that
Donna set up at Tidewater Community College. This Litonline
forum resulted when the two syllabi got out of synchronization so
that using the WebBoard was no longer practical.
active learning to an extent.
Of course the discussion forums involve active and substantive
learning, since the teachers involved on the design team commonly counted
contributions as equivalent to graded quizzes.
The best instructional webs include features such as
faculty to provide feedback or (in some forums or by email) to have students comment on
each other’s analyses.
Steps 2 and 3, the "Extra-Credit" option, the FAQs in the
Students for one of the collaborations on "Trifles."
For instance, students can
"acknowledge differences in student backgrounds and learning styles and
take advantage of multiple options and resources for learners" the
Students extensively tested the Litonline materials during
After that, students were invited to comment at the end of a course
regarding the pros and cons of online learning.
See the Online
Learning forum at http://vccslitonline.cc.va.us/onlinelearningforum/
Each web raises major thematic questions and asks
students to apply major tools for learning and analyzing literary questions.
Every attempt is made to translate intellectual concepts
into plain English; the best examples of this concern
current, and still are in many ways.
English faculty across the Virginia Community College System were polled
about their most often assigned works for an introduction to literature
class. In addition, some syllabi were sampled for similar
information. The works selected for the earliest instructional webs
and their accompanying forums were based on results of these samplings--
Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" in Understanding
Poetry and the Gunner
Rose for Emily" in Understanding
Fiction and the Emily
Drama and the Trifles
In 2002, Eric Hibbison (JSRCC) and Rick Dollieslager (TNCC), both
VCCS Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence, participated in a summer
LearningWare grant that included archiving and maintaining the
forums and commissioning peer reviewers to consider what contemporary
works ought to be included, how to
encourage further development of new
modules, and the overall composition of the website.
The addition of 3
modules on a Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, which is still assigned
many high schools and colleges, will help to increase the
amount of fiction
treated in the Litonline site.
Overall objectives for an ENG 112 class that includes an introduction to
literature (as opposed to research writing) are displayed
with this introduction and in a few of the instructional webs.
Statements of directions at forums, when they appear, suggest objectives.
a clear, logical plan to achieve outcomes.
At the moment, each of the sitemaps within instructional webs
outlines the content of that web. In addition, each sitemap has links
for collections of all writing tasks for that instructional web. Students
usually open the Word or RTF version--or copy the plain text version from
the web page displaying it--and paste the questions into their word
processing screen; then they type in their answers to the questions as they
study the instructional web online. This file can be saved
intermittently and, when finalized, closed and sent to instructors as email
attachments, or the file can be copied off the screen and pasted into an
The designers of the Litonline website agreed to provide
| page turners
to allow linear users to follow through each instructional web page by
page. The sample shown at right, from The
Hamlet Site, includes first page, previous page, sitemap, next
page, and last page links. It appears at the bottom each
page in the web.
| sitemaps for site users who come back a second time or have other
reasons for working out of sequence or on preferred pages first. In a few of
the instructional webs, a geophysical map of Earth is used to
provide a constant link to a site outline at the bottom of every
page, such as to the sitemap for Oedipus
|The design team also agreed to make all of the questions to be
answered throughout the instructional module available as one file on the
sitemap in multiple forms—Word, Rich Text Format, and HTML—so that
students could easily open or copy the file and respond to each of the
questions assigned by their teacher. For instance, the "typing
hand" visual at right is linked to the sitemap at Oedipus
the Wreck, where the eleven questions asked during that entire
web are listed in one place.
sitemap for all of Litonline provides easy access to each of the
31 current webs, sorted into fiction, poetry, and drama analyses, with a
different emblem for each of these three kinds of writing. The quilt
piece and heading link at the top of each page in Litonline links
to the site's cover.
- The entire site is built on the metaphor of the quilt, so that each
emblem is a piece of the cover art for the site and appears at the top of
each page in each web—except for the instructional web on writing
an essay about The Glass Menagerie.