Alexandra Calloway's Engl 393 Students Produce a Digital Forum

May 27, 2020

Each student team chose an engineering or science topic of interest, researched the topic, and presented their findings in this digital forum. Each site also has a page dedicated to younger audiences to share in learning about these ideas. This digital forum was made possible by funds from the Writing Program Award that Alexandra Calloway received this spring.


This spring I was a recipient of a Writing Program grant to develop an innovative class project. Originally, the class project I developed was to hold an open house to display the work the students were doing. They were going to create a poster, hand-out materials for two different audiences: children and adults, and have a presentation available in which they interacted with passers-by to answer their questions. They were also challenged to create a unique element to their display such as a video, a Twitter feed, or an interactive component like a live demonstration. The final piece of the project was to develop some marketing to invite people to come to the open house. The open house was to be held in the lobby of Tawes Hall during the last full week of class. 
Instead, we had to shift directions because the entire University shifted completely to online classes. My classes took this all in stride. We quickly reconfigured the project. I took a page from the academic writing classes and redeveloped this final project into a digital forum. I asked the students to develop a website about their concept or topic of choice that was related to science or engineering. They had to develop a homepage that included a summary of the topic and an introduction to the website. Then they had to develop supporting pages in which they incorporated images and links to help expand their stories. Finally, the students developed a page for children that described their topic appropriately to this audience and to include some type of interactive element. Of course a project would not be complete without providing additional information about the resources used to develop the page and for curious audience members who would like to explore the topic more in-depth. 
As a way to share their site, in lieu of the original open house, I developed a landing page that offers an introduction to the project, links to their sites, and team information. One of the goals for the project was to have interaction with the intended audiences. Please come and visit our UMD ENGL-393 Technical Writing Digital Forum.
--Alexandra Calloway