(Re)designing the Instructional Artifact: The Poetry Machine Project

In the 2017-18 academic year I executed a lively experiment integrating poetry into LMC 3403, a traditional technical communication course at Georgia Tech as the direct result of receiving a Poetry@Tech pedagogy development grant. Technical communication is defined by Elizabeth Tebeaux and Sam Dragga as writing “that occurs in a… Continue reading

On Conferences in Academia and the Tech Industry

On stage at the Container Power Hour session at the 2018 AWS re:Invent conference. The session agenda is projected on a screen to the left; the session presenters are seated on stage to the right.

This is the third part in a series on the intersections of technical communication in the tech industry and the academy. Read the series introduction here. For me, January 2019 was bookended with conferences. I started the month (and year) with a trip to Chicago for the 2019 Modern Language… Continue reading

Agile Composition: Promoting Fairness and Efficiency in Group Work

The Group Problem A cursory scroll through the Facebook group, GT Memes for Buzzed Teams, turns up a number of meme gems related to group projects. Take, for instance, the image below of a red-faced man (labeled “me”) straining to pick up a giant boulder (labeled “group project”) while a… Continue reading

Letter from a New York City Jail: Reacting to the Past in First-year Composition

When my student Patrice was arrested, I was amused. We were in my English 1101 seminar, “Romantic Revolutions,” and Patrice had been assigned the role of an indebted farmer in 1770s New York. My class was using Patriots, Loyalists & Revolution in New York City, 1775-76 to revive the independence… Continue reading

Applications Open for 2019-2020 Brittain Fellowship

Applications are being accepted for a new cohort of Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellows through February 1, 2019. Please see both ads that appear below, the second of which is for specialists in business and technical communication. General information for all applicants appears following the ads. The job ad has… Continue reading

Against Argument; or, 25 Notes Toward a Descriptive Pedagogy by Way of Stephen King and Jacques Rancière

  1) Twitter can be a pretty disingenuous place. The tricky thing is that to call attention to any one tweet, however atrocious, risks making a mountain out of a molehill. But as a teacher of writing, literature, and communication, I’ve found myself returning again and again to one particular… Continue reading

The Office Hour, “Fixing the Academic Conference”

Is the academic conference an important place for sharing and developing knowledge or an increasingly boring relic of a bygone era? Given the cost of attending, the increasingly precarious market for academic jobs, and the psychic toll graduate school takes on early scholars, these questions are more important than ever. In… Continue reading

How Poetry Saved My Pedagogy

Most of my students did not like poetry. I don’t remember what prompted the realization—probably something banal like analyzing a poem by Dickinson, Keats, or Frost—but I remember the crushing sensation of disappointment and dismay, even despair, that settled over me. Many of them actively disliked it, a few of… Continue reading

16 Brittain Fellows Write About the Archives They Love

Archives, research libraries, and special collections are the crucial spaces where study begins. While public and school libraries hold a space in the popular imagination as a catalyzing site of intellectual curiosity—as seen in the recent piece “12 Authors Write about the Libraries They Love” in The New York Times—archives are… Continue reading

Georgia Tech’s CS Tech Comm & Junior Design Sequence

This is the second part in a series on the intersections of technical communication in the tech industry and classroom. Read the series introduction here. One (but by no means the only) path to a career in software development is through an undergraduate degree in Computer Science (CS). For most… Continue reading

Intersections of Tech Comm in the Tech Industry and Classroom

An intersection at night. Exposure techniques render passing cars as streams of light.

I was a Brittain Fellow at Georgia Tech from Fall 2016 until this past August, when I accepted a full time job at RedMonk, a developer-focused tech industry analyst firm. Because the job offer came in days before the Fall 2018 semester started, I had concerns about the timing: I… Continue reading

Things To Do in Wivenhoe; Or, So Going Around “The Basketball Diaries”: A New York School Travelogue

“Wake up high up / frame bent & turned on,” begins Ted Berrigan’s iconic “Things to Do in New York (City),” a lyric list poem that shows Berrigan moving through the literary landscape of the city in timeless style. Berrigan was fond of this genre, also writing poems like “Things… Continue reading

Teaching in All Seasons: Poetics, Ideal Tendencies, and Food Literacy

SUMMER   “Once I remember looking into the freezer can the next morning and finding the leftover ice cream had all returned to milk. It was like the disappearance of Cinderella’s new clothes.” (Lewis 53) Midway through my Spring composition course, “Food Literacy of Atlanta,” my students and I had… Continue reading

Sonnets @ Tech: The Pedagogy of Writing as Making

When modernist poet William Carlos Williams antagonistically announced, “To me all sonnets say the same thing of no importance. What does it matter what the line ‘says’?”, I wonder whether or not he’d approve of poet and punk rock singer Matt Hart playfully directing students to arrange and rearrange pieces… Continue reading

Flash Readings, Episode 6: “Colson Whitehead Will Break You, Too”

In Flash Reading 6, Brittain Fellow Matt Dischinger analyzes a scene from the South Carolina chapter of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead’s prize-winning novel set in the antebellum United States. In this scene, the protagonist, named Cora, gives the “evil eye” to a former charge, Maisie, who doesn’t recognize her in costume as a… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 26: “The Big Machines That Are Coming To Take Our Jobs”

In this episode, we talk to Brittain Fellow, TECHStyle co-editor, and frequent Office Hour guest Anna Ioanes in order to dispel some myths about online and hybrid teaching. Are EdTech companies like Khan Academy and Minerva Schools gunning for our jobs? And what about MOOCs like the University of Pennsylvania’s ModPo? We discuss current scholarship and debates on… Continue reading

Information Overload, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media

The longer I teach, the more aware I become of a growing ideological separation between myself and my students. It’s not that I’m morphing into an out-of-touch, elbow patch-wearing professor (OK, I do have elbow patches), but there is definitely a widening divide, and over time, I’ve come to realize… Continue reading

Why Not?: On Punk and Pedagogy

Not long before the Primitives changed their name to the Velvet Underground, the band’s singer, Lou Reed, wrote to his Syracuse University professor, poet Delmore Schwartz, I decided that I’m very very good and could be a good writer if i work and work. i know thats what ive got to… Continue reading

Applications Open for 2018-2019 Brittain Fellowship

Applications are being accepted for a new cohort of Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellows through February 1. 2018. The job ad has been posted at Inside Higher Ed, and also appears below. The Writing and Communication Program at Georgia Tech seeks recent PhDs (dissertation successfully defended by August 2018) in… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 25: “Alt-Ac”

In The Office Hour‘s 25th episode, Dr. Ruthie Yow––former Brittain Fellow (2015-17), current Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist for Serve Learn Sustain at Georgia Tech, regular TECHStyle guest, and author of Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City, just out from Harvard University Press––returns to the podcast to talk to Andrew and… Continue reading

Flash Readings, Episode 5: “The Moment John Roberts’s Words Cease to Matter”

In Flash Reading 5, former Brittain Fellow Ruthie Yow (2015-17) takes Chief Justice John Roberts to task for his majority opinion in the landmark Supreme Court case of 2007, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. According to Yow, the Court’s decision indexes “the impoverished state of integration strategies” in public… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 24: “Realpolitik”

In this episode, Toby draws on the knowledge (and German-language skills) of former Brittain Fellow Ian Afflerbach (2016-17), currently Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of North Georgia, to discuss the concept of “realpolitik.” Does it have any relevance to the current political situation, as media commentators tend to… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 23: “Crisis!”

In this episode, Toby draws on his professorial pedigree and Nick on his experience in the creative writing world in an attempt to find the source of the current crisis in the humanities. Have the humanities always been in crisis? Is there any other way? Our hosts do their best… Continue reading

Teaching with Twitter: Social Media in the Composition Classroom

When I mention that I use Twitter in my first-year writing courses, I am often met with both intrigue and skepticism by students and faculty alike. If writing courses are supposed to be focused on nuanced thinking, careful research, and rhetorically sophisticated arguments, what can students possibly learn from writing… Continue reading