From First Year Comp to Tech Comm (and Beyond): an Interview with Dori Coblentz

Inside a studio a group of people in fencing attire stand around a lecturer who is describing a fencing technique.

This is the fifth part in a series on the intersections of technical communication in the tech industry and the academy. Read the series introduction here. As former Brittain Fellow Kate Holterhoff has detailed in this post on her move from teaching to software development (and as my own career… 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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

D-Ped 12/5: Trends in Digital Humanities

In this seminar session devoted to trends in the digital humanities, we (Jason W. Ellis, Margaret Konkol, Patrick McHenry, and Olga Menagarishvili) will discuss ways to enrich our teaching and research with DH approaches and techniques. We will demonstrate how to use widely-used programs, open source tools, and easy techniques… Continue reading

Once more unto the breach …

Or, Why Teach Shakespeare to Georgia Tech Undergraduates? This is the third term I’ve used early moden drama as the theme for my 1102 classes. In fall 2011 I taught a course on London City Comedy (The Shoemaker’s Holiday, The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Bartholmew Fair); last spring I… Continue reading

A Midwinter Night’s Teaching Assignment

This term Tom Lolis and I are jointly teaching an 1102 course entitled “#DigitalBard: New Media Approaches to Shakespearean Drama”. By jointly I mean that we each teach three sections, but we are both focusing on the same plays (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Richard III, and Titus Andronicus); while we bring our own research background and interests to class lectures, several major assignments are shared across all six sections. These assignments are all rooted in some form of digital media: blogs, wikis, suites that incorporate several tools and platforms (I’m thinking specifically of Google here). But media as we are applying the term also refers to performance and video. One of our goals is to break students of the tendency to shy away from Shakespeare because they believe the plays are hard to read and therefore boring and a waste of their time. Continue reading

The creativity on display is not just student work!

Congratulations to our colleagues who designed and taught the classes in which students developed the artifacts selected for the Student View exhibition, now in the Ferst Center for the Arts (until January 31) and then moving to the Woodruff Art Center (1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309) for one… Continue reading

Celebrating Students: Student View Reception and Film Screening at the Ferst Center for the Arts

The Student View exhibition currently on display at the Ferst Center for the Arts is entering its final week. Last Wednesday, January 18th, students whose work was selected for the exhibition were honored in a private reception followed by a public screening of student films. We had an impressive turnout: More than 50 people attended the reception, and more than 100 came to the screening!
As a collaboration between the Writing and Communication Program and the Ferst Center for the Arts, Student View is, to our knowledge, the first exhibition of its kind in the country, displaying student works produced in composition and English studies classrooms in a professional art gallery that’s open to the public. The exhibition features a wide variety of artifacts displayed in five categories: Collage, Mosaic, Digital Media, Poster Art, and Film. Continue reading

Myth in the Classroom, take two

I know you’ve been holding your breath for the second installment of my musings on and eternal search for effective stereotype-breaking strategies. So here goes. Today I take on the elusive term “race” as a myth that students approach rather curiously: with great resentment. And I think I’ve figured out at least part of the reason why. Let me try to explain:
I attempted to have a conversation with my students this week about white privilege. They read “The End of White America?” by Hua Hsu, published in The Atlantic in 2009. I also had them look at this hilarious video made by Smirnoff in 2006, which Hsu mentions.

So, they had read (or were supposed to have read) Hsu’s essay on the “beiging” of the white race in the United States, the increasing diversity of American popular culture, and the ensuing backlash against multiculturalism and retrenchment into whiteness. Continue reading

A New Home for the Writing and Communication Program

Some nine months from now, the Writing and Communication Program will move into its new home down Bobby Dodd Way. The Stephen C. Hall Building for Writing and Communications Program is scheduled to open its doors in summer 2012, and when it does it will be one of the most progressive design spaces on Georgia Tech’s campus. Continue reading

More Adventures in (Hyper) Real-time Teaching

Last fall in my English 1101 course on celebrity culture, I had my students analyze the real-time media discourse surrounding the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear”. Once again I find myself drawn to teaching current events as they unfold. This term I am teaching ENGL 2400:… Continue reading

Teaching in Real Time

On November 18, the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program hosted the Fall Communication Colloquium in which two Brittain Fellows presented on work their students have been doing in class this semester.  The presenters did such a wonderful job generating discussion during the sessions (a link to an archive of… Continue reading

Zotero in the Classroom

Zach Whalen is Assistant Professor in the English, Linguistics and Communication Department at the University of Mary Washington, where he teaches courses in video games, the graphic novel, media studies, and electronic literature. He is co-editor (with Laurie Taylor) of Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games. I… Continue reading