USING SAKAI LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO BUILD A NATIONWIDE CREATIVE COMMUNITY FOR WORKING ADULT WRITERS
Antioch University Los Angeles (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:At their best, higher and further education offers adults with established lives and livelihoods the opportunity to return to meaningful study and to transform their possibilities through the pursuit of intellectual endeavors they may have needed to put off at earlier periods in their educational development. The Antioch University Low-Residency Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program offers these adults a two-year program of study in the writing of poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. By bringing together working writers with adult returning students from across the country and abroad in an intensive mentorship model, Antioch has created a tradition of successful one-on-one teaching and learning, that allows adults to study the craft of writing at the highest levels while continuing to engage in their ongoing lives, careers, and families. By admitting students and hiring faculty from across the country and the globe, Antioch is able to afford a tradition of excellence. The Antioch low-residency MFA has been singled out as one of the top five low-residency creative writing programs in the United States.
The Antioch program offers hybrid instruction. Students and faculty meet together on campus in Los Angeles, California two times each year for ten continuous days of readings, workshops, and other vibrant instruction. Then each student meets individually with a mentor, exchanging one lengthy packet of creative work and reading annotations every month, and communicating with other students and faculty online.
In 2009, Antioch transitioned from an email-based online learning management system to Sakai a web-based program that offers students and faculty the opportunity to use podcasts, online readings and courses, photographs, discussion forums, and live real-time chat to create an enhanced virtual community of writers. In line with our social justice mission, Antioch's new learning management system has opened a richer creative engagement for students and faculty alike in spite of geographic distances, busy workday schedules, class differences, different learning styles, and other common hurdles for adult learners.
Although Sakai has greatly improved our opportunity to connect during the non-resident project periods, it has been a challenge to bring students and faculty with different backgrounds in the use of technology and multi-media into a satisfying engagement with this new system.
And yet, through Sakai, we are gradually building a bridge into online communication and education strategies that will hold up well in the next decades and into a brand new kind of creative work that may better take online journals, hypertextual communication, and other mixed media communication into account.
Keywords: sakai, online community, adult learners, graduate school, creative writing.