Teaching in the “Space” of Dual-Credit First-Year Writing



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Intended as a convenient and cost-efficient way for students to earn their first college credits while still in high school, dual-credit, or concurrent enrollment, is transforming many first-year writing (FYW) programs. Many institutions emphasize that dual-credit courses are the same as traditional college courses, yet “[dual-credit] tends to operate at the margins of secondary and post-secondary education, with 74 percent of students taking dual-enrollment courses on-site at area high schools, taught either by part-time college faculty only loosely affiliated with either educational institution or by high school faculty with at most a nominal relationship with the college granting credit” (McCrimmon 208). With their own administrative power structures, educational cultures, and patterns of student behavior, high-school campuses are more influential in shaping pedagogy and classroom practices in dual-credit courses than stakeholders admit. In this dissertation, I seek to understand the challenges and negotiations inherent in teaching college courses on high school campuses by applying the spatial theory of Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja. In The Production of Space, Lefebvre asserts that all social spaces are social products (26) that reflect and reify hegemonic modes of production (31), and he examines the relationships between physical space, knowledge construction, and social interactions. With spatial theory as the theoretical underpinning and teacher research as the methodological strategy, my dissertation will examine the ways that location of dual-credit classes, whether on a college campus or on a high-school campus, affects instructors’ pedagogical choices as indicated in their syllabi and course design. The work examines publicly circulated course descriptions and policies on dual-credit; instructors’ English Composition I syllabi and course outlines for a local community college; interviews with dual-credit instructors; and ethnographic descriptions based on my own experiences teaching dual-credit FYW. By studying these artifacts, I hope to identify fundamental differences in the dual-credit FYW courses taught on high school campuses as compared to college campuses, discovering areas in which additional professional development and resources are needed to support the goals of college composition programs.



Pedagogy, Dual-credit