The following examples are from FREN 101 and 102. More detailed versions of the assignments below, with marking rubrics for the term-long assignments:
- (UBC faculty access only) HTML versions in Canvas Commons > FREN 101 MASTER
- (ditto) PDF versions at that same site > files > banque d’idées partagée (ideas inc. assignments)
- These, and also more—ex. 20S1 FREN 101 syllabus—are in a shared Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ewyckrhg3gui9q3/AABkhjxlvTxBAPMdtLXd9nt_a?dl=0
TERM-LONG INDIVIDUAL EPORTFOLIO: SAVOIR-VIVRE
Used for 2 years now, can be adapted to any level of language; this is the 2020 Summer version.
This assignment is a combination of reflection about learning (apprendre) and language—a savoir-apprendre that complements the savoirs (knowledge) of this course—and an individual curated collection of your own found materials in and on French, creating an environment of personal wellbeing—l’art et la joie de vivre—a savoir-être (about être, being) that complements the savoir-faire (about faire, doing; and the intelligent application of knowledge to know-how) of your course and its materials.
For more about the raison d’être for the savoir-vivre (and savoir-être and savoir-apprendre) part of our course, see: “Savoir-vivre plurilingual intercultural learning portfolios” (O’Brien, 2018 and 2019 updates (1), (2), and (3)) and information about the UBC Faculty of Arts ePortfolios … for this course, for other courses, and for life.
(1) SAVOIR-ÊTRE – COLLECTION = 5%
(“scrapbooking” regular weekly collection)
Individual curated collection of your own found materials in and on French, creating an environment of personal wellbeing: l’art et la joie de vivre. A regular weekly collection = at least one journal entry every week.
(2) SAVOIR-APPRENDRE – RÉFLEXION = 5%
(“journaling” reflection on learning)
Reflection and commentary on your learning in French: what you are learning, how, and why; how your perception of French is changing over the course of the course; what connections you have found between French and your other UBC courses. Should include at least 1 journal entry per textbook dossier [chapter/unit/module] and at least 3 entries reporting back after visits to your instructor’s office hours, or other live interaction with/in French. This part of your FREN 101 written work may include English or other languages other than French—all other work produced in this course is in French—so that you can express yourself fully.
HOW TO SET UP AND SUBMIT YOUR PORTFOLIO
Arts ePortfolio via Canvas. This offers you the opportunity to include:
- your own writing (and other expressive media: photos and podcasts, for example)
- other text and images, sound, video, links
- your own aesthetic, design, and organisation: further elements of creative and critical work, of reflection, of cognitive and metacognitive work
There are several ways of doing this (check with your instructor for what they prefer):
- UBC Faculty of Arts ePortfolios (for students in any faculty)
- A site outside Canvas (ex. UBC Blogs; outside UBC ex. WordPress, Blogger, Pinterest, Instagram). If your site, or the part of it for this course, is not public, you will also need to provide your instructor with the means to access it ex. password for password-protected blog posts.
- Write your journal in a physical paper notebook and take photos of it at the end of term, then upload them to a site as above.
Once you have set up your ePortfolio, please provide your instructor with its URL link in an accessible format, via the appropriate area of Canvas. Then start writing in your ePortfolio.
AND THEN …
For the last two years, I’ve included a question about the term-long individual portfolio and/or group project on the final exam. Here’s the April 2020 version, for FREN 101 and for FREN 102:
TERM-LONG SMALL GROUP PROJECT (1):
SCAFFOLDED LOCAL FIELDWORK
This online version of an exercise developed earlier has been changed to incorporate formative feedback through check-in sessions at the first two of the three stages (instead of physical marking by the instructor), and with a question about the project on the midterm exam. Each stage adds grammar, structures, and thematic vocabulary progressively.
Project purpose / learning objective: putting what you are learning into applied practice as active learning in our local environment, transforming savoirs into savoir-faire. (Bonus: thinking critically and creatively about location, and the local, while in the virtual.)
- Stage 1:
- introduce your group
- (video: students may of course do this in disguise, using animation, using everyday objects to make stop-motion animation, etc.)
- Stage 2:
- Choose and go to a location that is free to access: a public beach, park, garden, museum, art gallery; a pole, sculpture, or other public outdoor art; a book in French in an online library (ex. UBC Koerner (Arts & Humanities) Library, UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, Bibliothèque nationale de France)
- Choose an object (ex. a book, a work of art, an exhibit) or living being (ex. a tree) (BONUS: this stage also involves thinking about object/subject distinctions; a popular past choice has been the whale skeleton in the UBC Biodiversity Museum.)
- Write a dialogue in which you ask your object/being questions … and they reply. Include an image of your object. You may, if you wish, also include further images (please ensure that they are permitted, some inhabitants of a Museum should not be photographed).
- Stage 3:
- Invite the object / being in Stage 2 of your project to talk about their habits and daily activities. Interview your guest: ask them questions, they reply, and so on.
- (written + video)
TERM-LONG SMALL GROUP PROJECT (2):
SAVOIR-ÊTRE EN COMMUNAUTÉ FRANCOPHONE ET FRANCOPHILE VIRTUELLE
Same adaptations for online as in (1) above. Also: options for peer-evaluation and/or open access public knowledge work.
This is a group version of the individual savoir-être portfolio, collecting resources that combine wellbeing with French language, Francophone culture, and a university and general culture of learning. (Possible topics: this assignment is almost infinitely possibly varied!)
Project purpose / learning objective: This project is an extension of your individual savoir-vivre portfolio’s curated collection of your own found materials in and on French. In that portfolio you’re creating a multisensory environment of personal wellbeing—l’art et la joie de vivre—a savoir-être (about être, being) that complements the savoir-faire (about faire, doing; and the intelligent application of knowledge to know-how) of your course and its materials.
In this group project, you’ll select a topic or specific area in common to your individual portfolios. This should be something that you all agree is important to you. It could be a broad category (ex. music) or narrow (ex. one specific song or other musical work per person in your group).
Present and describe your choice of Francophone wellbeing resource. Say why you think that it would be helpful for other people. Include images (audio and video too, if you wish and if it’s relevant to your topic).
You can either do that by writing fully collaboratively (= one single continuous text written by all of you), or writing a thematically-linked compilation of individual parts. Then each of you will record a short video, explaining your individual choice of wellbeing item and what it means to you, personally.
Submission (Canvas Assignments): PDF of group text + individual videos
SOME FURTHER OPTIONAL EXTRAS THAT MIGHT BE INCLUDED IN THIS PROJECT …
This next section is just ideas, and optional. An instructor and class might also choose to integrate peer evaluation and/or open education public humanities aspects into projects in their course. This is subject to instructor and individual student preferences and agreement, the full informed consent of all concerned. It’s just an option and an idea. There are many other further options too …
This assignment might also involve peer evaluation—an online O’Brien-style festive fair of learning— and/or making the written part public online (but not the video). Here’s an example of how I’ve used both of them, together, in a course in fall 2019: RMST 221B “Animal Reading” (1) peer-assessing work and (2) “Humanimals Reading: a local public bestiary” public knowledge contribution. That was built in UBC Blogs (= WordPress); a UBC Blogs site can be created from within a Canvas course site. Another option would be a Wiki. UBC Learning Technology Hub can help you to set these up. First, though, read the LTH’s online guides:
IDEAS FOR SMALLER ACTIVITIES & WEEKLY TASKS
- (bilingual, apologies) notes on assessment, assignment, and use of Canvas and Collaborate Ultra for smaller-scale “class” work
- Things that you can do with free online film (March 2020): this set of ideas uses early French film
- Using images as prompts for description, questions, and story-telling: March 2020, you/we all do this anyway as it’s a very obvious (and ancient) exercise (and such fun to prepare, and as way to add improvisation and the excitement of l’imprévu et l’imprévisible in class); also using comics with the text removed, medieval manuscript illuminations especially marginalia (yes, monkeys and giant snails), calligrams and other concrete poetry, writing memes; here’s an example including a longer writing assignment / composition / project commemorating the centenary of the poet Guillaume Apollinaire’s death
- Other work with poetry: continuation, rewriting, using rhyme to work on pronunciation via punning
- Discussions, and how they–and (perhaps especially) online–create cooperative community (about a 19W1 course)
- Old notes (2018) on short small activities, most of which translate to use on Canvas and/or Collaborate Ultra
- Old notes (2017) on short small in-class quizzes, which could be done in Canvas quizzes too (TOP TIP: one of the richest images I’ve ever used for any kind of activity, including as a quiz, is this famous photo of Freud’s couch; also any images of Claude Monet in his studios)
- Old notes (2017) on compositions, which could be scaled up or down and used as asynchronous assignments
- any of these exercises, activities, or tasks can be individual; individual to individual to individual like an exquisite corpse collaborative writing exercise, and emphasise sense of “collaboration”: working with others doesn’t necessarily mean all of you writing together at once, it can go from one to the next and so on; and group work can be working as a group in many senses of group
- old-fashioned worksheets, but online, yes indeed: it doesn’t all have to be shiny, shiny isn’t necessarily good and doesn’t necessarily make something good or confer quality or style
- word-searches, crosswords, and other written-verbal games
- online games and gaming (and bonus specialist lexical collection exercise, plus sociocultural and anthropological and sociolinguistic observation and commentary)
- Also, from the previous post … definitely useful, and indeed de rigueur for anyone who has ever used the phrase “task-based learning” and meant it and meant every word in it: TASKMASTER: Greg Davies and Alex Horne:
- YouTube channel: “Taskmaster Greg Davies, assisted by Alex Horne, has set a series of devious tasks for five hyper-competitive contestants. Expect cheating. Expect arguments. Expect both cheating AND arguments.” 2015-present, 9 series
Alex Horne, Taskmaster: 220 Extraordinary Tasks for Ordinary People (London: BBC Books, 2019) ISBN 978-1785944680
The old 200-task edition is a core item in the Educational Theory, Critical Pedagogy, and Practical Manuals section of my library. It lives with A Book of Surrealist Games, Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook, bell hooks Teaching to Transgress, and some old sets of Rory’s StoryCubes (that’s another thing to recommend, and its electronic version is one of the only apps that I have and use for teaching)
- #HomeTasking: “Alex Horne here, the Taskmaster(s assistant), to make self isolating and social distancing slightly more bearable […] Keep an eye out on Twitter for each task, send in your attempts, and you could feature in a highlight reel of all my favourites here on YouTube. And remember to #StayAtHome.” (See also, though not all are relevant nor intentionally amusing in the same way, the Twitter hashtag #HomeTasking.)
(all O’Brien materials CC BY-NC-SA licence)
UPDATE (June 2020)
Some people like Authority and Authorities. Here is an Official Authoritative Best Practices UBC Wiki page, “Reimagining Assessments”: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Reimagining_Assessments (last edited 2020-05-31)