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This biggest success I found was that the assignment allowed our conversation about
values to be grounded in our own empirical research. I pondered having a set of pregenerated codes taken from the writing program materials or threshold concepts in the
field. However, in keeping with Broad’s philosophy of DCM, I felt that it was important
for the codes to emerge organically from the TAs’ interpretations in order to uncover
values that might appear in teaching materials unintentionally. This project was also
potentially useful for the writing program and the mentors. For example, multimodality
is required in our first-year writing courses, yet TAs rarely mapped it as a value in their
mentors’ teaching materials, which could indicate that it is not being well-used in actual
courses. Also, community was a value that many TAs identified, yet it does not come up
in programmatic materials. This activity could lead to a discussion of whether or not
that value should be focused on more by the writing program.
Although I saw these connections on a programmatic level, TAs found the assignment
more valuable for learning specifically about their mentors than for identifying the values
of the writing program as a whole. Thus, the initial assignment did not successfully move
TAs from viewing values as idiosyncratic to programmatic. In revising the assignment
for the current iteration, I added more focus on the writing program. I added an in-class
lesson to practice value coding using the writing program course goals and evaluation
criteria. I also added more time to compare maps. In the first iteration, class participation
and dynamics played a role in our discussion of values as students raised their hands for
values that did not actually appear on their maps and did not always volunteer values
they had mapped. My hope is that by adding more time for comparison of maps before
the full class discussion this issue will be mitigated. A shy student may be more likely to
volunteer when small group comparison has already occurred. In addition, we will return
to the codes from our practice exercise to compare writing program values and discuss
how the mentors are both working within program values and stressing their own unique
pedagogies. I revised the assignment so that the introductions for the maps would be
due after this discussion; thus, TAs could comment on these connections more clearly in
those introductions

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