Week One: Jumping in the Deep End of Technology—Getting Accounts

One of the first things we’ll do together is jump into a lot of digital platforms. Below are the platforms we will use in this course. Some will require that you set up an account.

Our Course Website:
No need to log-in to this site, but make sure you bookmark the link so you can check often.

Google Docs:
You already have access to Google Docs because Chico State uses Google Apps for Education. No need to create a separate log-in for anything Google related (this includes YouTube, etc). You can log in to your Google Drive using your portal ID from the link above.

You will set up a WordPress blog: you’ll use this site as a blogging platform, and eventually, as a way to curate your portfolio of work for our class.

Twitter: (optional, but it sure would be cool if you’d try it out)
Twitter is a way for us to create community inside and outside of class. If you’re game, create an account. Then, start following Kim by going to You can also follow each other once you create accounts; we can make a class list. There are a ton of resources and professionals on twitter to follow. Our class hashtag is: #Jaxon130

Blog (7 total)

Post to: your own WordPress site
Due Dates: Most Fridays by 10:00pm

Most every week of class, you will blog. Most weeks, especially in the beginning, you’ll write about your life as a first-year student at Chico State. Sometimes you’ll blog about your curiosities and the reading you are doing, sometimes you’ll blog about your research plans, and other times you’ll reflect. These blogs can include links to websites, articles, images, or videos that help to explain or further enhance the readings or discussions or highlight your college experience. The blogs are not first draft thoughts–you should draft and revise as you compose your blog posts. We will give and receive feedback to each other’s blogs each week.

We will also all journal each week to try to generate some ideas for our blog posts.

Workshops will choose someone to be a Review Board Member. These representatives meet with Kim on these Mondays–Feb 6, Feb 13, March 6, March 27, and April 10– at 11:00am to read blogs and choose writers to be featured. Room TBA. 

How You Doin? Reflections on the Fall Semester

Share in Google Doc
Due 2nd class session: Jan 25

Write about how you ended up at CSU, Chico and how the fall semester worked out. What seems to be the purpose of college? How is college going for you? What were your successes in the fall semester? What were your challenges? What are you looking forward to in the spring semester? What does the spring semester look like for you so far (job? commuting? heavy school load?)

Share with mentor (ask him or her) and Kim in Google Docs ( Instructions for sharing Google Doc HERE.

Researching the First Year of College

Create a Google Doc to post your work (memo, bibliography, white paper)
Various due dates: see descriptions below

Survey (5%): We will create a survey as a class about the first year experience. Workshop teams will be responsible for working with portions of the data and co-authoring a memo (1-2 paragraphs) that explains their findings. Each workshop team will share your findings on our course website. Due Feb 16 or 17 in workshop.


Start by looking at your section of the data:

  1. Beliefs About College (Brittany, Jesse)
  2. Questions About College & Academics (Keaton, Genevieve)
  3. Self Care (Dalton & Jenn)
  4. Finances & Living Situation (Kelsey & Geoff)

In pairs or trios, divide up the questions from your teams section so that every pair/trio has a few questions to work with. Try to pair similar questions.

Then, write a paragraph or two that explains the findings. If you can, try to give an example from your own experience that might shed light on the numbers. For example, if people say that living off campus is great, and you or a member of your class also lives off campus and agrees, share some insights into this finding. Why might students have said it’s great?


The intersection of students’ self-rated physical health and their smoking habits offers an interesting story. In 1985, nearly half (46.9%) of those who “frequently” smoked cigarettes during their last year in high school rated their physical health as above average compared to nearly two thirds (66.1%) of those who did not smoke at all. By 2015, 37.7% of those who “frequently” smoked and 55.7% of those who did not smoke at all rated themselves “above average” or “highest 10%” in physical health. (From the HERI Report at UCLA)

Some language you might use in your paragraphs:

We surveyed our class and asked this question: xxxx. Most students responded saying…

Close to X% said they xxxxx….

We find it interesting that students keep a late schedule. More than x% said they stay up late studying or working…

Despite the amount of jobs students have, they still report doing well in school.

Memo (5%): You’ll write a memo about a “problem” of college that you would like to explore. This problem will hopefully emerge from experiences you’ve had and perhaps issues you’ve blogged about. 1-2 pages. Due Feb 27.

Start the memo by giving us some background: What ideas do you have for something you might research (you can list more than one idea). Why are you interested in researching this idea? What do you hope to learn by researching this idea? If relevant, you might include some of the survey findings as a way to show why you are interested in researching your idea.

If possible, pose a few research questions that could guide your next steps. Tell us what you would need to do next to start the research process.

In a nutshell, your memo should include: 1) talk about an idea or potential ideas you would want to research; 2) explain your next steps for research: what do you need to do to research your issue. 3) If possible, include a few research questions (you might not know yet, and that’s find too).

Example memo HERE

Annotated bibliography (15%): You’ll write summaries of research (3 sources total, which may be articles, books, documentaries, interviews) that help you to understand the problem of college you are working on. Each annotation should offer:

  1. A summary of the text: what is the text about? Who is the author and what is their connection to the college experience? What points is the author making? Use evidence from the text to support your summary. (Alternatively, you may decide to interview someone on campus if that is useful for your research. You would summarize the interview in that case.)
  2. What questions does this text raise for you? What do you find interesting? What is confusing? What do you want to know more about? How might the text support our research into the college experience?

1st Annotation due March 8. Full annotated bibliography due March 10.

Case Study (5%): We will design and develop questions to ask of a freshman outside of our class group. You will interview a fellow freshman, asking about experiences that have supported learning and experiences that have led to barriers in their learning. You’ll write up the information as a case study and we can compare across participants. Due March 24.

White Paper (20%): Typically, a white paper is a term for a government document that proposes a solution to a problem. You’ll write a white paper that gives background for a problem of college and potential solution(s) to this problem. Our goal will be to keep our solutions local, solving a problem of college at Chico State. I would expect these to be around 4 pages. We’ll collect these and share with university administrators. Full draft due April 3. Revisions due April 17.

Sharing Our Research & Support for Future Students (15%): You’ll have the option of working in teams to design and create something we can share with the public, particularly future students. Options include: 1) creating a short documentary film that highlights the life of a first year student at Chico State; 2) creating an alternative reality game for first year students (perhaps something we can propose as part of the next Summer Bridge); 3) collaborating on an online resource for incoming freshmen, a resource that would be specific to Chico State students written by Chico State students (that’s you); 4) editing, organizing, and curating our white papers to share with administrators. Due date TBA. Draft ready for feedback May 1.

ePortfolio Checklist and Introduction to ePortfolio Assignment


Link to ePortfolio checklist HERE later in the semester (be sure to reference this check list as you work on this final set of tasks.)

Introduction to ePortfolio Assignment:

You will write or video record one final text that serves as an introduction to your final Portfolio. The purpose of this text is to focus attention on the progression of your writing throughout the semester, as well as to point out the ways you have contributed to the workshop, the in-class activities, and discussions.  Be specific about the things you feel you have done well. Address these ideas in your Introduction to the ePortfolio:

  • Introduce and frame your collection of work. What should we expect to see in this body of work? What does the work represent in terms of what you’ve learned and what you’ve learned to do with writing and research?
  • Explain what you consider to be your “best” writing of the semester  (Be sure to define your criteria for “best” and to cite specific parts of your texts, your shorter and more formal papers).
  • What have you learned about college and the first-year college student?
  • What should a reader or viewer understand from your final project (film, game, resource, or white paper collection)? What were your goals for the final project? How did it turn out? What do you wish you could change if you had more time?
  • Reflect on your experience as a “curator” of your portfolio? What were the limits of the Portfolio site (WordPress) you created? What do you like about the site? What were the challenges?

Your WordPress site should be ready for review by the final workshop time on May 11 or 12.