Collision Course: Using Visual Art and Poetry as Composition Pedagogy

Last fall, I led students through a writing and communication course titled “One World is Not Enough.” This class investigated cultural values and ideologies as exhibited in the narratives that societies construct and consume. The course focused on two contemporary novels, Stephen Graham Jones’s Ledfeather and Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on… Continue reading

The Censorship Files: Using Digital Media to Teach Censored Media

When teaching the art of research writing, I aim to help my students learn the tools of the communication trade through assignments that challenge them to see the world with more conscientious eyes. I strive to help my students recognize not only that the forms of their words matter but that… 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