Overview

In this activity, students work on their own creative and analytical responses to the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz) and cooperate to create a website to showcase their work.

In groups, students select a one-word theme that relates to the novel and which they use as inspiration for their final project. Throughout the rest of the course, they work individually on a creative piece/artifact - for example a painting, a poem, an essay, a song, a ...

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In this activity, students work on their own creative and analytical responses to the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Díaz) and cooperate to create a website to showcase their work.

In groups, students select a one-word theme that relates to the novel and which they use as inspiration for their final project. Throughout the rest of the course, they work individually on a creative piece/artifact - for example a painting, a poem, an essay, a song, a podcast - that responds to their selected theme. In addition, as a group they create a blog which they use to collect and showcase their work at the end of the course. The project of the members of the group can link with each other or operate more independently.

Please see this website for further information on the project and to download project guidelines and criteria.

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Objectives

  • To work on a long term project and collaborate;
  • To engage in a creative process using a primary text as inspiration;
  • To do work that students find personally relevant.

Context and requirements

Level College
Discipline English
Course Contemporary American Fiction
Activity Content Contemporary American fiction; literary themes and analysis
Technological Requirements Computers

Author’s Notes

Benefits

  • The lack of strict criteria allowed students to engage in really unique and creative work and say something original about the novel;
  • Having freedom to explore their interests, students engaged more in depth with the novel and significantly improved their writing.

Challenges

  • There were some technical challenges with working with wordpress.

Tips

  • It can be useful to create a short video with screenshots and the instructor’s voice explaining how to set up a work with a wordpress blog. This way, students can quickly get accustomed to the site and in class can ask specific questions if they cannot figure out how a specific feature works;
  • It is useful to devote time in class to working on the website, as this is fun and engaging for students and can motivate them to engage at home in the more analytical and time consuming work of creating the content for the site;
  • Showcasing each group’s work at the end also leads to interesting discussions on the novel.

Activity Pedagogical Components

Project Based Instruction

Students work together and individually to creatively respond to a theme that relates to the novel explored in the course. For a description of this strategy, please see here.

Peer Assessment

Students give feedback and evaluate each other’s work. For a description of this strategy, please see here.

ePortfolio

At the end of the course, students have a blog that showcases their work. For a description of this strategy, please see here.

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