Mapping Burroughs’s Junky

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While Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957) is usually remembered as the quintessential American road novel, the slightly earlier debut novel of Kerouac’s friend and fellow Beat William S. Burroughs, Junky (1953), is equally expansive in its exploration of the North American continent. Kerouac’s roman à clef—first mapped by the author himself–ends in what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari call a “return to the native land” (133): the protagonist Sal Paradise goes to live with … Continue reading

Archiving Other Worlds: Science Fiction Magazines as Multimodal Artifacts

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When first designing my English 1102 course, Multimodal Mars, I wanted to integrate the Georgia Tech Science Fiction Collection, which contains a large number of magazines such as Planet Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Astounding Stories (among others). My reason for this was twofold: I felt that students would better understand science fiction of the mid-twentieth century by having firsthand experience with short stories, cover art, and illustrations, and I planned to have students digitize … Continue reading

Attaining the Text?: Teaching Annotated Video Essays in the Multimodal Classroom

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Writing in 1975, the French film theorist Raymond Bellour characterized film analysis as a writing activity “carr[ied] out in fear and trembling, threatened continually with dispossession of the object” (19). Much of this owed to the technological limitations that then made it all but impossible for critics and scholars (save the select few with access to analyzer projectors) to possess films, and thus impossible to view and review them, to rewind to recall a forgotten detail or … Continue reading

On the Oculus Rift and using VR in the classroom

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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

Using Video Games in the Technical Communication Classroom

The 21st Century developments in technology, integrated national and internal economies, and workforce demographics create the expectation that the workplace will be a space in which workers are actively learning, developing competencies, and acquiring skills throughout the duration of their professional lives. In response to this future, instructors must envision the classroom, the projects, and the assignments differently. As Mehlenbacher emphasizes in Solving Problems in Technical Communication, “Future technical communicators will operate in work contexts … Continue reading

Introduction to Tools and Methods

Welcome to a new section in Techstyle. 21 Century students need 21 Century teachers that can prepare them; this means different things to different people. IN this section, we will take the time to explore the tools and methods that work to achieve these goals. You might ask, why pair tools and methods. The answer is straightforward. Tools give us many affordances; they can save us time, they can save us effort, sometimes they can … Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction, Part Three

In two earlier posts in this series, I gave an overview of why I use interactive fiction games in my composition classes, and described an “easy way” to do this: that is, using these games as “the reading” for a course unit.  If you’re just joining us and you want to get a quick idea of what interactive fiction (or “IF”) is, the fastest way might be to go here and play a tutorial game … Continue reading

Mock Interviews with Contemporary African American Writers

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My “English 1102: African American Literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the Digital Present” students’ final assignment this term was a version of one that Anne Sexton gave in her “Anne on Anne” course at Colgate University in the spring of 1972. Sexton taught a class on her own poetry and her teaching notes for it are in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin (regarding Sexton’s teaching see also Diane Middlebrook’s Anne Sexton: A Biography (1992) and … Continue reading

Making Editing Multimodal

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Like so many writing instructors, I frequently find myself frustrated with what appears to be a lack of attention to editing in the papers I receive from my students.  In the Fall 2013 semester, I tried something new in an effort to address this issue by inviting students to record themselves reading their drafts as a part of their editing process. Too late to make it an assignment in and of itself, I provided an … Continue reading

Mapping Jacob’s Room

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In my English 1102 “Digital Woolf” class at Georgia Tech this fall, we began with Howards End (1910), by Virginia Woolf’s contemporary, E. M. Forster, which we followed with Woolf’s novels, Jacob’s Room (1922), Mrs. Dalloway (1925), and To the Lighthouse (1927).[1] We will be concluding the course with her essay, A Room of One’s Own (1929). Along the way, the class viewed and blogged about the film of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (2002), an … Continue reading