Persuasion to Progress

Hey guys, it may come as a surprise to some of you but although most of what we do in Humanities falls under the umbrella of social studies, the course itself is supposed to be both socials and english. This most recent project can attest to that. We were tasked with writing a persuasive text to convince an audience of something, most likely to do something. The driving question we were trying to answer was

“How can I use my voice to effect change?”

This project went by fairly quickly and because of that we started brainstorming for what we were going to do right away. To do this we used something called a writing record, where each activity we did in class we would put into the writing record, allowing us to look up at our previous thinking easily when doing new activities. If I were to ever write something that needed a bit of brainstorming beforehand I think I would use this technique for planning it out. It would be super helpful to me since being able to look back at my train of thought helps me stay on track with what I want to talk about rather than just writing what comes to mind at any particular point. This particular benefit also helped me when it came to actually writing my persuasive text, specifically for specific points that I wanted to make throughout my writing.

When I began to brainstorm I decided that the topic of Careers 10 and the issues I found with it when I took it last year would be a pick since I had already been thinking about what fixes needed to be done since I had started the course. This meant that many of my ideas had been fully fleshed out at this point and I could focus on the communication of my issues and suggestions to my audience. Something that turned out to be very beneficial since I needed to be as accurate and articulate as possible, as I was to be emailing the principal and vice-principle of North Vancouver Online Learning (NVOL).

Since I was doing my topic on a course I had taken, I decided that the best person to interview to get some insight on how these courses work would be the teacher who taught it last year. From that interview I ended up learning a lot about some of the short comings of NVOL courses when it came to the work load put onto the teachers, especially when the courses became almost entirely online after COVID took hold of the world. I wanted to communicate my disappointment of how so much work was unfairly pushed onto the teachers facilitating these courses that some of my original ideas and issues with the courses got lost. And when you look at it this all comes back to the planning stages. When I was talking with the Careers teacher, I hadn’t had a fully fleshed out view of what I wanted to persuade my audience of so that initial idea was somewhat lost when a new one was introduced.

Dear Mr.King and Ms.Tieche, My name is Grace Leishman. I am a grade 11 student at Seycove Secondary and last year I took Career Life Education 10 online as part of NVOL. I am emailing you to bring some issues with the CLE 10 course to your attention as well as some underlying issues with how online courses are set up for teachers who teach these materials. Online learning could be an extremely powerful tool for students to improve their learning but at the moment that isn’t possible. I hope to help change that. Originally when I was taking CLE 10, I started to notice a trend of broken links and outdated information within the course. On more than one occasion the learning materials given to the students were outdated and did not reflect the current year. One example of this would be the Infograph used to explain Canada’s food guide, which had not been updated to the new recommendations even though it had been over a year since both the graphics and information had been updated. Therefore teaching students outdated health information. Another example is the fact that the Grad planner was still from 2017/18, it had not been updated for three years. However, outdated materials were not the only issue I found in the course. As for the broken links, many of them were quick fixes, only requiring someone to go in and switch the broken link out with the new one. In fact, there were so many easy fixes like that that I had to wonder if there was something that was stopping someone from just going in and fixing them. It turns out I was right. I recently talked with the teacher who ran the CLE 10 course I took to ask about these online courses from a teacher’s perspective. As it turns out, there is no designated IT person working for NVOL to fix any issues students or teachers have with the courses. This means that all of the responsibilities fall onto the teachers who only have one block dedicated to specific classes that are often taken up by helping students in the course or marking work, especially since there is no class limit for online classes. I find this to be unacceptable. When has there ever been any sort of online service that doesn’t have at least one person constantly reviewing and updating content so users have the best possible experience? This is even worse when you look at the implications and realize that many courses may not have been updated since the day they were created. Not to reiterate points, but NVOL has the foundations to be a great resource for learning but it’s really the technical issues and strain on teachers that is holding it back. My suggestion would be to appoint a few teachers for a few weeks at the start of the school year to take the time to go through each course, working through the materials, to find any technical issues as well as possible issues with entire activities and fix them. This would allow for the teachers teaching the course to actually focus on the students and would guarantee that each course is learning ready for the new school year. I hope that after reading this you will be willing to take the steps necessary to create a strong and effective NVOL learning environment that will allow students to succeed. Thank you for your time, Grace Leishman

However, when it comes down to it, the work that I produced is a fine writing piece. Often it critique many part of my writing when I read it over but when I read this piece there isn’t much that I would change. The pacing is great with specific parts being emphasized exactly how I envisioned them. As for how persuasive it was, since that was what this project was about, I think I achieved my goal. The response got was nothing concrete with how they had viewed my suggestions but I was offered to take part in building a survey to help improve the student experience, which means that changes are coming to NVOL which is all I could have hoped for.

In conclusion, I learned a lot from this project about my writing style and my process when it comes to writing things. I hope that in the future I will be able to uses that to my advantage and write texts much more effectively with better contents.

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