The Office Hour, Chapter 15: “Public School”

On the occasion of Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Education, Toby takes over the microphone to school me on the history of public education. The podcast can be played using the embedded player above or downloaded as an mp3 file. Music: “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,”… Continue reading

Meditations in an Emergency: Teaching After Trump

The outcome of the 2016 presidential election has thrown a number of institutions into crisis––or at least deep soul-searching: the news media, the Electoral College, the Democratic Party, libraries, humanities departments, and the university more broadly. The first-year composition classroom, in particular, faces newly urgent pedagogical challenges in the wake… Continue reading

The Texts of Tech: Students Transform Public Science

This fall, I have been teaching a section of first-year composition I call “Science in Public.” The course’s thematic focus—public-facing science communication—prompts students to consider how journalists, artists, activists, researchers, and other communicators compose texts about the sciences that engage and move to action a broad, nonspecialist audience. Students adapt… Continue reading

From Print Culture to Digital Archive: Teaching Modernism through Little Magazines

Modernism, they say, began in the magazines. Long before internet streaming and wireless television, newspapers and periodicals were the first mass media, offering authors, intellectuals, and social activists a dramatically wider domain for their artwork and ideals. These print media provided a vital outlet—and at times a much-needed sanctuary—for modernist… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 9: “One Week Out”

On this week’s podcast, Toby and I are joined by Brittain Fellows Anna Ioanes and Jennifer Forsthoefel to discuss our experiences, realizations, thoughts, and fears as teachers and scholars in the week since Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States. We begin by discussing Daveena Tauber’s “Post-Election… Continue reading

A Good Marriage Is a WOVEN Marriage: Multimodal Communication in and out of the Classroom

My English 1102 class, “Odd Victorian Bodies,” uses the lens of nineteenth-century British literature to study the concepts of multimodal–or WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal)–communication. The class reads Victorian novels, short stories, and poetry that deal explicitly with bodies. In addition to learning about a historical time period,… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 6: Academic Dad

In this brief episode, Toby attempts to comment on academic parenting (and fatherhood in particular) . . . while academic parenting. His comments are drawn from Aviva Shen’s article on student perception and gender bias, Apoorva Mandavilli’s New York Times piece on representation in academia, Dale Edwin Murray’s Times Higher Education essay on the impossibility… Continue reading

Selfish Researchers, Neglectful Educators: Student Misconceptions of What We Do

Here is an example of a popular meme depicting how different groups might understand the role of the professor. Friends may believe professors have summers off; parents may liken them to a school teacher; society may assume they show students movies to pass the time. Although I wouldn’t liken what… Continue reading

Talking as Artists: Oral Communication in the Gallery Space

In July 2015, The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article entitled “Final Exams or Epic Finales.” In it, Anthony Crider, an associate professor of Physics at Elon University, describes how and why he ends his courses not with exams, but with “epic finales.” These epic finales can take many… Continue reading

Brittain Fellow Posters from Celebrating Teaching Day 2016

  On Tuesday, March 15, a number of Brittain Fellows and Writing and Communication Program Lecturers showcased their work at Georgia Tech’s Celebrating Teaching Day celebration. Brittain Fellows and Lecturers use a wide range of multimodal activities and assignments in their classes, as their posters demonstrate. The posters can be viewed… Continue reading

Mapping Burroughs’s Junky

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… Continue reading

H. Rider Haggard’s Adventure Novel and Multimodal Composition

One of the challenges of teaching literature in a multimodal communication course is to keep students focused on the task at hand—becoming effective communicators—while also teaching the literary work as an artifact with all its history, cultural significance, and metaphorical complexities.  While I think nearly any cultural artifact from an… Continue reading

Archiving Other Worlds: Science Fiction Magazines as Multimodal Artifacts

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… Continue reading

Engineering English: Writing Lessons from English 1101 and 1102

Introduction Lakshmi Raju took my 1101 and 1102 courses her freshman year at Georgia Tech. Currently, she is finishing up her junior year at Tech as an Electrical Engineering major and she is an Associate Editor for Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering at the Journal of Young Investigators. During and… Continue reading

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

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… Continue reading

“There is No Delight and No Mathematics”: Teaching the Multimodal Avant-garde

Before coming to Georgia Tech, my approach to teaching writing and communication through fictional work could be summed up like this: students will learn how to analyze novels and short stories and then write arguments explaining their analysis. They will support those arguments by close reading passages and quoting academic… 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… 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… Continue reading