Making [Multimodal] History: 21st Century Timelines and 20th Century Connections

One of my challenges in teaching students is that they often don’t get a lot of my references. I’m sure many teachers have had this problem: jokes that you think are hilarious fall flat, or mentions of pop-cultural figures that you assume are common knowledge end up getting blank looks…. Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction, Part Two

In an earlier post, I explained why I think interactive fiction (IF) computer games can drive valuable experiments in the multimodal composition classroom.  You can check out Part One for an overview of what IF is and what I think it can do for students.  In the present post, I’ll… Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction

Regular readers of TECHStyle may remember my mentioning, back in September, my plans to use interactive fiction (“IF”) computer games in my multimodal composition classes.  After two semesters of teaching students to read, play, and write IF games, I can say that the experiment was mostly a success.  While we… Continue reading

Go Make Yourself Un-useful

In a previous post, I reflected on the successes and failures of a project I assigned in my Spring 2012 course on copia, and assigned again with some minor changes this semester. Students spend the first month of the semester gathering an eclectic mix of material, organizing it into categories,… Continue reading

Infinite 1102: A Collective Romp Through Infinite Jest, Part I

  1079 pages. 388 footnotes.  2 lbs 10 oz (and that’s the paperback). David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is nothing if not formidable. It languishes on many a “to-read” shelf alongside Joyce’s Ulysses and Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Despite its intimidation factor, Infinite Jest can be a pretty accessible read, and it is absolutely… Continue reading

“Tech Gets Medieval” and Other Ways We Teach the Past

For many instructors, teaching about the past can be problematic, especially to Georgia Tech students who may have little interest in any time period that predates their existence, or who may have the interest, but don’t see how such topics can aid them in their pursuit of a STEM degree…. Continue reading

Once more unto the breach …

Or, Why Teach Shakespeare to Georgia Tech Undergraduates? This is the third term I’ve used early moden drama as the theme for my 1102 classes. In fall 2011 I taught a course on London City Comedy (The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Bartholmew Fair); last spring I… Continue reading

Are You Nobody, Too? Getting Dialogic in English 1101

In the first weeks of my 1101 course, The Allure of the Unreliable Utterance, I introduced my students to Socratic irony and to Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. We watched snippets of The Colbert Report and The Daily Show—programs which rely on irony for their satirical humor—and we read Plato’s Symposium—a… Continue reading

Thinking outside the box by playing inside the box: Games as texts and teaching tools

  On April 26, 1478, as part of a plot against the Medici, conspirators attempted to assassinate Lorenzo de’ Medici and his brother Giuliano in the Duomo at high mass. Giuliano died but Lorenzo escaped. The reverberations of this daring plot, known as the Pazzi conspiracy after the family who… Continue reading

Course Blogs: Commenting Privately on a Student’s Post

Rebecca Burnett and I had a conversation about the nature of commenting on student blog posts. As instructors, should we have the option of making a private comment – viewable only to the student author, or should all comments be viewable to all students? There is an argument to be… Continue reading

Little Eureka Moments

The final project for my ENGL1102 course “London City Comedy” is a collaborative digital edition of Tarlton’s Jests, a 17th century collection of anecdotes about the Elizabethan clown Richard Tarlton. The assignment consists of five parts: Continue reading

Putting Students to Work: Guest hosting a “best blog” round-up

I had an “a-ha” moment in first-year composition class last week. I was preparing for a conference, writing job letters, preparing my classes, and trying to keep up with grading. In short, something had to give. But what? And then it hit me – Blog Post of the Week! Every… Continue reading

Myth in the Classroom, take two

I know you’ve been holding your breath for the second installment of my musings on and eternal search for effective stereotype-breaking strategies. So here goes. Today I take on the elusive term “race” as a myth that students approach rather curiously: with great resentment. And I think I’ve figured out at least part of the reason why. Let me try to explain:
I attempted to have a conversation with my students this week about white privilege. They read “The End of White America?” by Hua Hsu, published in The Atlantic in 2009. I also had them look at this hilarious video made by Smirnoff in 2006, which Hsu mentions.

So, they had read (or were supposed to have read) Hsu’s essay on the “beiging” of the white race in the United States, the increasing diversity of American popular culture, and the ensuing backlash against multiculturalism and retrenchment into whiteness. Continue reading

Venturing into Unfamiliar Territory: Visualizations of the Oral Mode in the Classroom

Last week I ventured into largely-unknown territory for me – speech analysis and a consideration of the oral mode. Unknown, I say, because even though teaching involves vast amounts of time standing before an audience and, well, speaking, I have never formally studied speech at length: no speech communication class,… Continue reading

Skiles Breezeway or Blackfriars Theatre?

This week I’m teaching Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle as part of my English 1102 course on London City Comedy. The play is usually identified as a breakthrough Early Modern parody (of other plays like The Shoemaker’s Holiday and The Four Prentises) and one of the first English plays to break the fourth wall. Continue reading

Postmodern Theory in Multimodal Composition

Ever since Baudrillard found his way into my dissertation (I have no memory of inviting him—suddenly he was there, like Jack Nicholson in that picture at the end of The Shining), I’ve been curious about how he’d fare in an undergraduate classroom. His postmodern and Nietzschean sympathies make him entertaining… Continue reading

Teachable Moments: The "Gallery Walk"

Gallery Walk

This semester I have the privilege to be a participant in the Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars program here at Georgia Tech.  We (a small group of faculty members, instructors, and staff from a variety of disciplines) meet once a week to discuss issues related to our seminar topic, “student engagement.”  I am learning so much from our sessions, not only from the readings and discussions, but from the techniques our seminar leaders use to engage us with the topic at hand.
his week I took part in an exercise that I’m now excited to try in my class:  the gallery walk.
The exercise required us to read an article on how students learn, looking at the way the brain changes when new information is stored and recalled.  Continue reading

Encouraging Better Class Discussions

Grammar tag cloud on Visible Tweets

This semester, I am teaching an honors section of ENGL1101, aka first-year composition. The students are awesome, and I am really enjoying the experience. Recently, though, I discovered that in addition to providing an opportunity to work with great, motivated students drawn from a close-knit learning community, Georgia Tech’s honors… Continue reading

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom: Professional Resistance in English Departments Three key themes: 1. The Multimodal Classroom: Digital Pedagogy (Michelle DiMeo) 2. Interdisciplinary Research and the Job Market (Chris Weedman) 3. Navigating the Disciplinary Minefield: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Composition (Kate Tanski) 1. The… Continue reading

Wikileaks: A Teachable Moment?

A persistent challenge I face when teaching my course “Media, Culture, Society” is talking to students about “bias”. Students are routinely taught that bias is fundamentally a bad thing; it’s associated with illicit behavior, with secret motivations, hidden agendas, an invidious ideology. Its typical counterpoint–and one that is imbued with… Continue reading