Remixing a midterm exam

For several years, I have had students in my Advanced Editing course read “The Subversive Copy Editor.” Written by Carol Fisher Saller, this book is about the writer-editor relationship.

The midterm exam has been about that relationship. We also watch the 2015 movie “Spotlight” for its portrayal of editors and reporters working together. The midterm has consisted of essay questions about the book and the movie.

This semester, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the course is “remote only.” We don’t meet in person. So how can we have a traditional exam?

After consulting UNC-Chapel Hill’s “Keep Teaching” website and considering my options, I am changing the plan. Instead of an exam, we will have a “book club” meeting.

Carol has graciously agreed to visit the class virtually, and I have asked each student to submit two specific questions about “The Subversive Copy Editor.” I am looking forward to a lively and enlightening conversation. Later this semester, I will ask students to watch “Spotlight” on their own, and I will send them a question about it to respond to via email.

The pandemic has created new pressures on students and faculty alike. I am hoping that these changes will ease that stress while ensuring that students learn about and appreciate the connection between writer and editor.