On the Oculus Rift and using VR in the classroom

oculusworlddemo screenshot

On the Oculus Rift and using VR in the classroom. On October 22, 2014, Stephen Addcox and Joshua Hussey conducted a demonstration of the Oculus Rift (DevKit 1).   (In the darkened space of DevLab, Eric Rettberg, Stephen Addcox, Nicole Lobdell, and Joshua Hussey take turns stepping into augmented realities through the Oculus Rift headset. NP: Jon Kotchian, Julia Smith, Andy Frazee.)   When Dr. Stephen Addcox and I were developing tutorials for demonstrating the … Continue reading

Offseason Musings: Football, Pedagogy, and the Multimodal Composition Classroom


College football is increasingly in the news, and usually for all of the wrong reasons. One of the most concerning things for educators is the relationship between the academic and athletic programs at our nation’s colleges and universities. And it is a tenuous, problematic relationship, undoubtedly. Imagine my surprise then when I found myself thinking of my pedagogy and the subject I teach–multimodal composition–through the lens of football. Taking a multimodal approach to teaching composition … Continue reading

Why I Teach a Composition Class About College

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 2.05.17 PM

This weekend I planned class sessions for my “Fictional Life of College” composition course, sent emails, pet my cats, talked with a friend about going to poetry readings, worked on my book at a coffee shop, and talked with my partner about a linguistic theorist. All pretty ordinary for a college teacher. Except for Saturday morning’s realization that I went off to college exactly 20 years ago this month. This feels extraordinary. I’m fond of … Continue reading

Embedded Librarianship in the Multimodal Classroom

Authors: Kathleen Hanggi, Assistant Professor of English, Doane College Alison Valk, Multimedia Instructional Librarian, Georgia Institute of Technology WHEN you think about librarians partnering with faculty, traditionally what may come to mind are simple one-shot workshops, assistance in finding resources, or any number of brief interactions. Rarely are librarians involved in the development of class topics or assignments, nor might you imagine having one as a regular class participant or ongoing partner throughout the semester. However, … Continue reading

Let Us Not Forget the Forgotten – Letter from France on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Francois Hollande and Barack Obama with D-Day Veterans in Normandy. June 6, 2014

In his D-Day speech on the beaches of Normandy, French president Francois Hollande not only paid his respects to the some 150,000 Allied soldiers who sacrificed everything to bring one of the world’s most tyrannical regimes to an end. He also declared that it was time to recognize the sacrifice of the 20,000 French civilians who perished on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and in the following months of the Normandy Campaign. In the past fifteen … Continue reading

Let Us Remember Female Veteran Writers

Women in Military

George Packer, in his review in the The New Yorker, “Home Fries: How soldiers write their wars,” (April 7, 2014) gives a good overview of contemporary war literature except for the fact that he almost completely disregards one of the most interesting and complex bodies of work by American veterans today – the memoirs, poems, novels, essays, and articles written by women. Packer breezes over women, as the review’s only commentary on female veterans reads … Continue reading

Losing Our Writing

*Frustration of writing

Writing in itself is an aesthetic art not merely acquired, but more so felt. To say the least, writing is not baseball, and you cannot purely practice to become better. There comes a point when your grammar, style, diction, and syntax may create the ideal writing, but can still be completely lacking that which is considered great writing. I believe there is no artist who has composed an appreciated masterpiece, who had not wholly loved … Continue reading

My Next Job Will Be At Starfleet Academy (Another Tech, No to Tech, Yes Column)


We were fans of Star Trek.  Sure, we thought: people will travel through space, we’ll meet with beings from other planets, we’ll fly space ships, and for work, we’ll hold flat, thin computers in one hand and tea in the other, the simulated daylight shining ever-so-slightly off our bald pates.  Sure, that will happen, because it’s space, and because it’s the future. __ In my weekly seminar last night, I had a keyboard hooked up … Continue reading

“We Can’t Stop Here! This is Tech Country!” Going Gonzo in English 1101

steadman gonzo

I’ve been thinking lately about one of the many useful comments my adviser made about the failed novel I submitted in the last semesters of my MFA program. She told me I’d shown bad manners. Instead of organizing the book into chapters, I used stick figure drawings to mark breaks between sections. No real respite for the reader. Just a tiny figure, vaguely feminine; she looks a bit like she’s running from something. Believe it … Continue reading

The “This I Believe” Essay and Orality in the Classroom

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 11.31.31 AM

I use the personal “This I Believe” essay as a means to develop and appreciate oral language skills in the classroom. My students script their essays keeping in mind that they will be submitting their essays in an audio-visual format. I have found that this project has a profound impact on how the students compose their essays. The oral aspect of the essay changes their writing and presentation skills in subtle, but positive ways. Students … Continue reading