One of the things I am doing this semester with my hybrid class is reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This is going to be something new for my community college students. I have assigned some outside reading before, but I have not asked my community college students to read an entire book outside of their textbook before. This has been, unfortunately, one of the things that has gotten lost as I have moved from teaching at a university to teaching at a community college. I regret that, but it was one of the things that I was told I would not be able to do with community college students. So, this is something new.
I am having the students read it in a different way. We are using the Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture site for the reading and work this semester. Instead of having the students just buy the whole book and read it, I am having them read it through the site. This has the advantage of being free, which is important. As well, I am having them read the novel as it originally appeared, as a newspaper serial. The breakdown is on the site as a weekly reading, set up in a way that makes it easy for me to assign pieces as we go along. I am not holding the students responsible for reading it weekly, as it is assigned, as I am really only concerned in the end that they do the actual reading. However, the bargain for them is that I will be reading it with them. And, every week, I will start the class by being available to answer any questions about the reading. So, if they read it on schedule, they get help. If they do not, they don’t. Very simple.
Ultimately, we are going to have a larger project to go along with Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and I will write more about that here as we get to that point. In other words, the assignment is still under development. More later on that as well.