Emergency remote teaching in linguistics during the early COVID-19 pandemic

In the spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many higher education institutions to transition suddenly to emergency remote teaching. This paper describes the results of a survey that the Linguistic Society of America carried out on the response to this situation among teachers and learners in the linguistics community. We consider what teachers tried, what students found helpful, and what got overlooked.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Using a class wiki to facilitate community and linguistic inclusivity

I describe the implementation of a class wiki in an introductory linguistics class. There were two pedagogical goals: (1) facilitate asynchronous student engagement and collaborative learning; (2) provide opportunities for students to engage with various linguistic issues having to do with justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Assessment for the wiki was done using a version of specifications grading (Nilson 2015), so that students could choose their level of engagement with the wiki. A full description of the wiki is available at https://cbjorndahl.github.io/CMUNoLWiki/, which includes detailed descriptions, learning objectives, and prompts given to students for each wiki cate-gory. Th..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Diversifying the field: Activities to make linguistics more relevant

Students find linguistics at times abstract and intimidating and they have a hard time understanding how they can apply what they learn in our classes to the real world and how to relate their cultural/community experiences to it. As a consequence, we inadvertently restrict the pool of linguistic students. Inspired bywork done by Hudley et al. (2017), Trester (2017), Chávez & Longerbeam (2016), and by my personal experiences, I created a series of activities for my introduction to linguistics and syntax courses to respond to this problem. I offer some suggestions on how to make our linguistics courses more practical and relatable to our students, in particular first-generation students...

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

ADA compliance and teaching linguistics online

Only 8.8% of faculty have reported receiving formal training for develop-ing ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant online courses (Gould & Harris, 2019), yet in any given semester, faculty may be required by federal law to make their course accessible for a student that has enrolled with a disability. Linguis-tics faculty face many of the same challenges (namely time and resources) as other disciplines with implementing ADA federal guidelines. However, there are further obstacles with linguistic specific topics (such as dialect illustrations, phonology, morphology) that require special attention when devising accessible material for those that are either visually or hearing imp..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Hybrid contracts in introductory linguistics

Wanting to shift the focus in the introductory linguistics classes in an access institution from teaching to learning, I created a tripartite (hybrid) contract that consists of three distinct tasks: labor-based tasks (collaborative forums and breakout activities); content-based tasks (assignments and final project on changing understandings about language) and self-regulated tasks (learning logs, metacognitive awareness surveys, capstone). This contract gives students agency and establishes a culture of “forgiveness” (while maintaining high standards), providing flexibility since my students’ life challenges can affect their academic performance.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Team-based learning and English grammar: Building community and lowering affect

This paper explores the initial use of Team-Based Learning (TBL) and Ungrading approaches in a synchronous on-line basic English grammar course for non-linguistics majors. The study employs TBL and Ungrading approaches to create a supportive learning community, address students’ fear of grammar, and provide more effective formative and summative assessments. Qualitative analysis of students’ reflective writing suggests that implementation of both TBL and Ungrading has a positive effect on students’ learning experiences.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Journaling about progress and errors

Drawing on mindset, belonging, and equity scholarship, a journaling assignment was developed as a low-stakes, writing-to-learn, formative assessment instructional tool for engaging students with content, normalizing mistakes, and supporting students during remotely scheduled online instruction for introductory linguistic analysis courses. Anecdotal data from student evaluations and instructor impressions suggest that journals provide high impact learning opportunities.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Teaching about grammaticality with online tools

This paper describes an introductory online assignment for an upper-division grammar class that helps students overcome preconceived notions about grammaticality. In anonymous end-of-semester surveys, students often label this assignment “the discussion assignment that taught me the most.” This assignment helps students understand that their intuition, while useful, is not sufficient for recognizing grammatical utterances.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Rethinking extra credit: How gamification can reduce grade inflation and strengthen soft skills

Gamification, the use of game-based principles to promote learning (Kapp 2012), allows instructors a pathway through which they can maintain curricular rigor while simultaneously fostering strong work habits and soft skill development. In this paper I describe my own experience of gamifying an online linguistics undergraduate course as I sought to combat engagement challenges such as spotty attendance and assignment procrastination. By implementing a gamified bonus level in the course, I was able to reimagine the traditional notion of extra credit in a way that incentivized self-regulation and engagement without creating a high amount of grade inflation in the process. Unlike traditional ext..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Replacing traditional sections with Teams-based groupwork: Remote learning and beyond

The sudden shift to online teaching and learning brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to consider alternatives to entrenched teaching practices. Making use of the private channel function in Microsoft Teams, I replaced traditional sections in an introductory linguistics course with asynchronous groupwork. This enabled students to form learning communities that facilitated peer learning and support in spite of remote learning, while unexpectedly connecting students with instructors in more personalized ways than typically witnessed in traditional sections. The medium allowed the teaching team to provide tailored feedback on each group’s work, as well as point out e..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Collaborative group work and increased diversity through Wikipedia editing

This paper details how a collaborative assignment to edit Wikipedia entries on linguistic topics can help students practice and improve their research skills and navigate group work through an engaged learning task. It describes strategies for group formation, types of cognitive skills that were deployed in the task, equitable distribution of workload and ways that individual student contributions to the project were tracked and assessed, along with project feedback from student reflections. The editing task is also shown as a way to increase gender diversity and widen the language background of the site’s editors.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Active learning in emergency remote introductory linguistics: Successes and challenge

This paper describes a set of flipped learning materials that I created for emergency remote teaching of introductory linguistics. My goals were to create a set of asynchronous materials that would scaffold student progress through a syntax unit, require active engagement in the material, and enable students to receive incremental formative feedback. Assessment of formative and summative student progress in the unit demonstrates that these materials were as effective at supporting student learning as face-to-face pedagogical methods. The discussion touches on additional issues related to pedagogy of care that were overlooked.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

All in with Google Slides: Virtual engagement and formative assessment in introductory sign language linguistics

My goals as an instructor are to be transparent and approachable and to cultivate a community of learners. The transition to virtual instruction in Sign Language Structure and Usage presented significant challenges. I wondered how students could engage effectively with me, with each other, and with course content;how students could identify what they understood and on what they needed further instruction. To address these questions, I went all in with Google Slides to build engaging, searchable, self-paced slide presentations with built-in formative assessments. COVID-19 inspired this shift in slide creation, but I envision using these slides going forward because they are more equitable and..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Engaging with linguistic justice through objectives-based learning and independent research

How can we foster the learner investment required for difficult, reflexive discussions about linguistic justice? We address this question through our efforts as instructors in a general education course on language in the US. To help students reflect on their own positionality within systems of oppression, we nurtured student-instructor relationships where students felt respected, valued, and capable of success using objectives-based assessment strategies and structured independent research projects. Students’ positive feedback and focus on LEARNING over simply earning a grade demonstrate the efficacy of our approach.

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America

Ten Trees a Day: How learning science and a story of multilingual buffalo help students learn syntax

This paper describes an activity designed to help students improve skills in drawing syntax tree structures without significantly increasing instructor grading time. In this formative exercise, students draw ten trees prior to each class period, correct their own work, and reflect on their mistakes. This assignment incorporates many practices that research on learning suggests are essential for understanding and retention of material. In addition, this exercise incorporates some best practices on effective feedback. The activity works best when students understand the science behind it, so discussion of the pedagogical reasons for the exercise is essential. Further, overt discussion of how t..

Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America