The Office Hour, Chapter 12: “Refusing to Read”

In our first episode of 2017, Toby and I debate Amy Hungerford’s Chronicle of Higher Education editorial, “On Not Reading.” Along the way, Toby shares some of his expertise about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and I divulge my inexpertise about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Special thanks to the panelists in the Modern Language Association 2017 session,… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 11: “What We’re Reading”

In our final episode of 2016, Toby and I discuss the books we’re currently obsessed with, which include (but are definitely not limited to): James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History and The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood; Daniel Clowes’s Patience; Norman Ohler’s Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany; Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories; and… 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

“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

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… Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction, Part Two

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… Continue reading

Teaching Composition with Interactive Fiction

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… Continue reading

Infinite 1102: A Collective Romp Through Infinite Jest, Part I

  1079 pages. 388 footnotes.  2 lbs 10 oz (and that’s the paperback). David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is nothing if not formidable. It languishes on many a “to-read” shelf alongside Joyce’s Ulysses and Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Despite its intimidation factor, Infinite Jest can be a pretty accessible read, and it is absolutely… Continue reading

“Tech Gets Medieval” and Other Ways We Teach the Past

For many instructors, teaching about the past can be problematic, especially to Georgia Tech students who may have little interest in any time period that predates their existence, or who may have the interest, but don’t see how such topics can aid them in their pursuit of a STEM degree…. Continue reading