College Courses & The Virtual Festival

Extra Credit Options for Using the Dodge Poetry Festival in a College Course

As instructors, we know that transfer of knowledge often begins when students get hands-on experience and connect personally to a topic or text. Now with virtual or hybrid learning taking place, everyone has come to find the value of in-person and hands-on experience. Right now, teachers and professors all over are trying to build content into their classrooms to still make the classroom interactive and engaging.

Luckily, the Dodge Poetry Festival is virtual this year too, meaning students and professors alike have more access to readings, conversations, and other great content right from their homes or classrooms.

Through our live streaming and live chats, students can still experience a live literature event with engaging and diverse speakers, making this an ideal resource for any college course.

Our new virtual setting also allows the opportunity for more dates and times for these events to better fit with class schedules.

The Festival, which is typically a four-day event, will now be running from Oct. 22 to Nov. 1. Need more good news? Live streaming of the events will be free! Any on-demand services to view content anyone might have missed will be available too, and we only ask people to pay what they can for this resource.

If you already have a tight syllabus and can’t include live streaming during class time but still want to incorporate it into your syllabus, consider making attendance at the virtual Festival count as extra credit in your course.

Below are various ways to create opportunities for your students to experience the Dodge Poetry Festival. We hope that by providing more access to content, instructors have more flexibility in how they include programming into their course to keep it lively, fun, and inspiring. We also hope that by incorporating the festival right into your syllabus or even announcing it to students in course pages, more students feel encouraged to participate, and thus even more students have the chance to experience this incredible festival this year and beyond.

 

Assignment 1: Streaming Party

Ideal Course: Great for any course, especially composition, literature, or creative writing!

Overview: If you can build live streams or even on-demand Dodge Poetry Festival content into your syllabus, this assignment will benefit your classroom since you can all experience the same event, readings, or conversation together as a class. In any remote setting, we all need more community building. Therefore, having this event in class and perhaps even treating it like a movie viewing can encourage students to view poetry in a more accessible, friendly way. By incorporating simple streaming to experience live literature without the added anxiety of a paper, students can come to see poetry as not merely schoolwork, but rather a part of our larger culture. If using Zoom, instructors can also set up break out rooms after the live stream and have students discuss their reactions informally in smaller groups. Having them discuss and react together can create even more community in the classroom.

Different Ways to Grade: Students attend class and the instructor live streams through shares screen options

  • This can be graded just as attendance would for a class
  • This can be graded as class participation would for a class

 

Assignment 2: Attend & Reflect

Ideal Course: Great for any course, especially composition, literature, or creative writing!

Overview: Reflecting on an experience often helps us process it. For students who have never attended or watched author panels or poetry readings before, a reflection allows them to see how the festival exceeded their expectations or shifted their views on poetry. Have students answer either or both of the following questions: How did the experience of poetry being read aloud or performed shape or change your view on poetry? What was the experience of a virtual poetry festival like for you personally—did anything surprise you, excite you, intrigue you?

Different Ways to Grade: Students write a 1-2 reflection paper

  • This can be graded as complete/incomplete to count toward participation
  • This can be used toward a previous grade, adding a letter or half a letter grade to boost a current assignment grade
  • This can be part of a larger assignment option where students attend various cultural events for a low-stakes assignment grade

 

Assignment 3: Attend & Research

Ideal Course: Great for any course, especially in the humanities or in any school that includes writing-intensive or research-based course work!

Overview: For this assignment, students can check out our program (available October 2020) to seek a specific poet, panel, or themed reading that resonates with your course’s topic, assignments, or texts. Students can research the poet and/or panel topic before or after attending the event. Then the student’s experience viewing this event can be synthesized into their research. Students can even directly speak to the poet during the festival through Q&A sessions. After the festival, students can a write a formal paper, synthesizing the discussions / poetry from the festival directly with your course’s information. You could design the question yourself or have students directly answer some of the following: How does the panel of contemporary poets tackle topics written about in class? How did the panel directly connect to a specific text or discussion from class? How did the poetry speak to issues discussed in class? How does the panel of contemporary poets tackle the particular topic? How do their comments align with your research on the topic? How does researching the poet’s work help shape your view of them or the topic they write about? How does art and poetry help further a discussion on any topic?

Different Ways to Grade: Students write a paper following the same rules/requirements of other assigned prompts in your course

  • This can take the place of another assignment for the course and be graded similarly
  • This can be graded as complete/incomplete and count toward participation
  • This can be part of a larger assignment option where students attend various cultural events for a low-stakes assignment grade

 

Assignment 4: View & Re-view

Ideal Course: Great for any course, especially composition, literature, or creative writing!

Overview: For this assignment, students can check out our program (available October 2020) to seek a specific poet, panel, or themed reading that resonates with your course’s topic, assignments, or texts. Students should watch the on-demand event at least twice, taking notes after each time they view the material on their own. Students can then write about what they expected in their viewing before they watched, how it changed after viewing the first time, and what they noticed the second time. Students can a write a paper or blog post, synthesizing their observations with your course’s information or they can write low-stakes reflections on this viewing and re-viewing. You could design the question yourself or have students directly answer some of the following: What was most surprising or interesting to you watching the poet or poets the first time? How would you describe their tone, mannerisms, cadence? Or how would you describe the general vibe of the reading/panel on first viewing? What lines from the poem or talk stood out to you and why? In the second viewing, did you notice anything new? Did you pay attention to other lines or notice something new regarding tone, mannerism, or cadence? If it had more than one poet, did you pay more attention to another person the second time around? How does hearing the same poem or poet twice change your view of it or them?

Different Ways to Grade: Students write a paper following the same rules/requirements of other assigned prompts in your course

  • This can take the place of another assignment for the course and be graded similarly
  • This can be graded as complete/incomplete and count toward participation
  • This can be part of a larger assignment option where students attend various cultural events for a low-stakes assignment grade

 


Melissa Adamo M.F.A. is currently the College Liaison for the Dodge Poetry Festival and an Adjunct Instructor at Montclair State University and Rutgers University-Newark. She primarily teaches composition courses at both institutions, and she also works with the Educational Opportunity Fund at Fairleigh Dickinson University, teaching popular culture and reading courses in the summer. She has also taught creative writing and poetry courses at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Readers can connect with her on Twitter @mel_adamo