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

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

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

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 Office Hour, Chapter 20: “Britt History II (The Present)”

In this episode, the second of a three-part series on the history of the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toby and I talk to former Brittain Fellow and current Associate Director of the Writing and Communication Program, Andy Frazee, about where the fellowship is now, where it’s going, and where… 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

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

Archiving Other Worlds: Science Fiction Magazines as Multimodal Artifacts

When first designing my English 1102 course, Multimodal Mars, I wanted to integrate the Georgia Tech Science Fiction Collection, which contains a large number of magazines such as Planet Stories, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Astounding Stories (among others). My reason for this was twofold: I felt that students would better… 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

Theatrical Training in the Multimodal Composition Classroom

I run my first-year composition seminar as an acting class several times per semester.  What does that mean?  If you were to visit us, here are some of the things you might witness: physical and vocal warm-ups movement and dance experiments improvisation games observation exercises imagination training scene study discussion… Continue reading

The V in WOVEN: Student Posters and the Rhetoric of Waste

 In this post, I’d like to write about student posters and start/continue a conversation about the importance of the V in WOVEN. The Rhetoric of Waste and Sustainability: Teaching writing at Georgia Tech, an institution that prides itself with training problem-solvers, I invite my students to use multimodal communication as… 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

Early Modernism and Multimedia

Brittain Fellow Diane Jakacki’s book chapter, “The Roman de la rose in Text and Image: A Multimedia Research and Teaching Tool” (co-authored with Christine McWebb) has just been published in Digitizing Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (Brent Nelson and Melissa Terras, eds. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2012). This chapter presents… Continue reading

D-Ped 9/12: New Media

In this seminar session devoted to new media, we (Jason W. Ellis, Peter A. Fontaine, James R. Gregory, and Patrick McHenry) will discuss  forms of writing online and writing across/within networks. Specifically, we will discuss theoretical approaches and practical uses of Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogging. We will share our ideas… Continue reading

Blake and Cooper publish multimodal textbook

Look out for MONSTERS, a new composition textbook co-edited by third-year Brittain fellow Brandy Blake and former assistant director of the Writing & Communication Program Andrew Cooper. The textbook is part of the Fountainhead Press V Series, each of which focuses on a single, specific topic and its relevance to… Continue reading

Hybrid Pedagogies: Epistemology and Empiricism

This week’s seminar picked up where we left off, revisiting the usage of Twitter in a classroom setting with two instructor demonstrations of Twitter backchannels, including one for an in-class film screening. Another instructor demonstrated how the Piazza platform had stimulated classroom discussion in similar ways to Twitter, which led to the first of two main questions of the night: What we want from using a hybrid pedagogy? Possibilities included more student engagement, or a better quality of student work and responsiveness, but we also voiced the desire to create a classroom space that had a different sense of community that is somehow different from that created by face-to-face interaction. Once our goals were articulated, we were faced with the more difficult question of how we can assess to what extent we get what we want. It is this second question that this blog post will focus on.

While discussion mainly centered on practical and logistical questions, as well as anecdotal successes and failures, the underlying assumptions that shaped our inquiries are both methodological and epistemological. Epistemology and methodology are inextricably linked. The purpose of this post is to review the reasons why epistemology and methodology are so contentious among researchers in composition theory and technical writing, as well as create a space for further discussion. Continue reading

Little Eureka Moments

The final project for my ENGL1102 course “London City Comedy” is a collaborative digital edition of Tarlton’s Jests, a 17th century collection of anecdotes about the Elizabethan clown Richard Tarlton. The assignment consists of five parts: Continue reading

Harkey Composes ‘Verbal Score’ for Artist’s Film at MOCA GA

John Harkey, a first-year Brittain Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program, recently collaborated with artist and filmmaker Micah Stansell, whose work “The Water and the Blood” is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia (MOCA GA). Drawing equally from his own and from others’ writings,… Continue reading

Digital Divide, part two: gender, sexuality, and ability

Ready for the next installment of our discussion about the digital divide, access, and privilege?  This time, we’ll focus more of our attention on how issues of gender, sexuality, and ability should be addressed when we incorporate new media and technologies into the communication classroom. We’ll start the seminar off… 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… Continue reading

Digitizing Research Interests for the Classroom and the Job Market (D-Ped Seminar Topic for 9/14/11)

DIGITIZING RESEARCH INTERESTS FOR THE CLASSROOM AND THE JOB MARKET Katy Hanggi, Jennifer Holley, Kate Tanski, and Chris Weedman   Evaluation and Academic Tension Between Traditional and Digital Scholarship (Katy Hanggi) “Digital Humanities” is a term I have heard frequently, but I have not given it much consideration. My familiarity… Continue reading