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These language and interaction guidelines were developed for a Spring 2022 online asynchronous section of English 202: Texts and Contexts entitled “Virginia Stories: Nat Turner and Others Who Resisted Slavery.” The guidelines introduce students to current terminology used by scholars studying slavery and set ground rules for interaction surrounding potentially sensitive topics. Students had the opportunity to discuss the guidelines, ask questions, and suggest changes using the Hypothesis annotation tool, which they later used to interact with course readings and each other. Participating students did not suggest changes, but they did ask substantive questions and make thoughtful comments. The “introduction and reflection” document includes a comparison of student annotations in Spring 2022 and in a prior semester which did not use the guidelines. This comparison attempts to measure the effectiveness of the guidelines both in promoting use of current scholarly terminology surrounding slavery and race and in encouraging the civil exchange of differing views. The guidelines are an Open Educational Resource, carrying a creative commons license that allows for adaptation, revision, remixing, and redistribution. The guidelines and the mode of introducing and discussing them could be adapted by instructors teaching subject matter that requires careful attention to language and/or to civil critical discourse, especially online.
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