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

A portion of Jenny Holzer's "Inflammatory Essays." Photograph by Damian Entwhistle, via a Creative Commons license. Original image available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/damiavos/12686078413/in/photolist-5QJvSR-5QJw46-5QJwg2-awweZz-awwgHP-awwgL6-awzbdu-awwnbB-wjXnUS-wk5voM-kk2t8T-kk1DjP-kk2o68-kk1Ev6-kk1yfk-kk2etP-5MEnh8-kk1BXF-kk1AWc-kk47Tb-kk2h1H.

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 articles they find on JSTOR or Project MUSE. Sound familiar? This semester, I tried a different approach in my English 1102 class, “What is an … 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

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction, Part Two

Plotkin's tutorial game

In an earlier post, I explained why I think interactive fiction (IF) computer games can drive valuable experiments in the multimodal composition classroom.  You can check out Part One for an overview of what IF is and what I think it can do for students.  In the present post, I’ll lay out a few more specific suggestions and resources for teachers thinking of exploring this rich genre. Using Interactive Fiction in Your Classroom, the Easy … Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction

Note, in this excerpt from Plotkin's tutorial game, how the player-character and the narrative voice take turns typing to each other.

Regular readers of TECHStyle may remember my mentioning, back in September, my plans to use interactive fiction (“IF”) computer games in my multimodal composition classes.  After two semesters of teaching students to read, play, and write IF games, I can say that the experiment was mostly a success.  While we faced a few frustrations (largely coding-related) along the way, we ended up gaining some invaluable rhetorical perspectives and practices, and producing a number of fun, … Continue reading

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom: Professional Resistance in English Departments Three key themes: 1. The Multimodal Classroom: Digital Pedagogy (Michelle DiMeo) 2. Interdisciplinary Research and the Job Market (Chris Weedman) 3. Navigating the Disciplinary Minefield: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Composition (Kate Tanski) 1. The Multimodal Classroom How do we articulate the benefits of a multimodal curriculum to those who are resistant to such change? “Extending the Conversation” offers a … Continue reading

The Parachut<e>: Post-assessment Peer Review?

The Parachut<e> addresses broader issues of digital pedagogy in the context of an advice column for piloters of the <emma> LMS at Georgia Tech.  For those of you who are new to The Parachut<e> and <emma>, you can find a more detailed discussion of both here. This week’s post evolved from a number of different sources.  First, some comments I received from students suggested they might not be familiar with one of the key features of … Continue reading

End of Semester Wrap-Up: Thinking about Feedback

At the end of the semester I like to take some time to look back at the classes I just taught and evaluate how they actually turned out.  It always feels like a leap of faith to me, trusting that the syllabus I created in the quiet summer months and the carefully crafted assignments I designed to move students through learning to praxis will actually work in real life, in real time, with real students. … Continue reading

Cyber Creole? Tweeting and Texting in the Caribbean Creates a New Digital Second Language

Last month, while attending a Caribbean Island Cultures conference held at the University of Guyana in Georgetown, Guyana, I was jolted out of my usual polite conference attentiveness when a series of papers suddenly shifted away from the usual focus on such traditional island cultures as Storytelling, Carnival or post-colonial inequalities, to the effects of tweeting and texting on Creole speakers of English. This was surprising since the usual Caribbean conference papers are more focused … Continue reading

YouTube in the Classroom: A Frustrating Archive?

This semester, I have been using YouTube as a pedagogical tool while also reading about views on the worth of this site and others like it in the classroom.  These experiences have given me a good sense of the ideals that we as teacher-scholars bring with us in our encounters with social networking sites, and I have also begun to imagine ways in which a limited and thoughtfully-crafted engagement with YouTube can enhance a learning … Continue reading