Panelist: Emily Brauer


Online Instruction and Instructional Technologies Coordinator

UC Irvine Composition

Research Area (or Specialization): 

Emily has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC and is a screenwriter and playwright. At UC Irvine she teaches in the Composition Program and serves as the Online Instruction and Instructional Technologies Coordinator where she oversees online courses in collaboration with UC Davis. She has developed two online writing courses for UC’s Online Education and currently teaches the course every quarter. She has also served as an Instructional Designer at UC Irvine working with faculty in philosophy, education, biology, history, and pharmaceutical sciences. She piloted Canvas Learning Management system at UC Irvine and has trained program faculty to use it. She focuses on how to use technology for best writing practices and promoting active learning. She has presented on online pedagogy and writing practices as well as the Canvas Learning Management system and its tools. She has used Voicethread, Piazza, Zoom, collaborative documents, and ePortfolios as part of her teaching methodology to promote active learning.

Relevant course(s) name/number, approx. number of students, and short description. 

Introduction to Writing and Rhetoric (WR 39A), Critical Reading and Rhetoric (WR 39B), Argument and Research (WR 39C), and Advanced Expository Writing (WR 139W). Class sizes of these courses range from 19-23 students. Writing 39B and C fulfill the lower division writing sequence at UC Irvine and focus on rhetoric and research respectively.

Teaching or learning problem/challenge that made you rethink your learning model or approach or try something new

  • One of the main problems we’ve faced is wide range of student writing experience and the need to individualize learning for students.
  • Giving students more agency and ownership in their own writing and projects.

How you addressed that challenge (if applicable, what technology, learning strategy, etc. you integrated to do so)

Allowed for students to have optional assignments where they can earn points and class rewards for things that will assist with their writing and revision tasks. Used Canvas to separate assignments into Productions and Rehearsals and assign additional points that could be easily tracked in the gradebook.

Students embrace the game/extra credit work and had more student buy-in to the tasks than if I assigned them as a regular assignment.

How students responded, any challenges, and lessons learned

Students really rose to the challenges and many commented on how they liked the extra and challenging assignments. It helped them see where the might need to be going in terms of extra work and helped distinguish between the types of work the meet the passing grade for the course vs. what else needs to be done in order to excel.

One of the challenges is that it is a little more grading/workload for me, but for a small class the benefits outweighed the costs. Have to think strategically to only give a few options each week.


What images or media might help tell your story