Bodies and Body Language: How Poetry Can Teach Us to Communicate

Bodies, a personal yet strangely distant subject matter for most students to discuss, provide a ripe lens through which to hone the skills that composition classrooms aim to foster. As mediums of communication, bodies afford us multiple ways to express ourselves: through gestures, facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language… Continue reading

The Doubleplusgoodspeak of Newspeak: Poetry and Orwell’s 1984

Two days after President Trump’s inauguration, on January 22, 2017, the newly-minted Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. She discussed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s first press briefing the night before, in which he claimed, despite the existence of much… Continue reading

Strategies for Teaching Non-Native English Speakers: A Roundtable Review

On March 30, 2017, the Writing and Communication Program’s World Englishes Committee hosted the faculty roundtable “Instructing Non-Native English Speakers: Practical Tools.” This event drew Georgia Tech teaching faculty and staff interested in sharing ideas and learning new strategies for better serving the needs of the diverse population of English… Continue reading

Debugging the Gender Gap: Questioning Stereotypes in the Tech Comm Classroom

On Tuesday, March 14, Georgia Tech hosted a screening of the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap. The 2015 film, which played at various film festivals and tech events such as the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, examines the lack of gender diversity in the American software… Continue reading

“Should I Go to Work?”: On Participating in A Day Without Women

On the morning of March 8, 2017, I, like many women around the country (and perhaps the world) faced a particular question: should I go to work? On this particular day, the question was triggered by International Women’s Day and its attendant call for a women’s strike. Named “A Day… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 19: “April Is the Cruellest Month”

In honor of National Poetry Month, Brittain Fellow Jeff Fallis returns to the podcast to discuss what may be literature’s most ill-defined, misunderstood, and maligned genre. As recipients of 2016-2017 Poetry@Tech Pedagogy Grants, Jeff and I talk about some of the ways that we have integrated poetry into our composition classrooms,… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 18: “Britt History 1 (The Future)”

Toby takes over the podcast this week, in the first installment of a three-part series in which we address the past, present, and future of the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship. In this episode, he interviews Brittain Fellow Halcyon Lawrence about her background and research in information design and experiences… Continue reading

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

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

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

“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

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

Hate Studies and the Holocaust Memorial Museum

What is hate, and how do we combat it?  Recently, I attended a symposium organized by Gonzaga University’s Institute for Hate Studies and American University’s Washington College of Law.  The symposium was on “Hate and Political Discourse” and was organized by John Shuford and Robert Tsai in honor of the… Continue reading