After a longer-than-anticipated hiatus, I return to discuss something relatively far afield from myth. Instead, I want to share an assignment that my students recently completed, because it was relatively painless for me to teach and grade and relatively productive at getting students to learn the difficult skill of close reading.
I often tell (read: nag; cajole; harangue) my students to pay attention to all of the little details of language, to notice how the most seemingly insignificant choices that the author makes have significant effects on the text’s meaning. I’ve found in the past that teaching close reading with poetry is often the best approach, since poetry (at least good poetry) is able to jam as much meaning as possible into the smallest amount of space. So I often begin my courses with poetry and a discussion of close reading: what it is, why it’s beneficial—even to aspiring engineers. (Being able to discern the tone that their email is conveying if they write it in ALL CAPS, for example, is a useful skill for them to have.) Continue reading
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
This week, in our weekly Brittain Fellow Research Methodology seminar on Hybrid Pedagogy, we discussed using Twitter as a tool for creating a “back-channel” of conversation at conferences, lectures, and in the classroom. Our conversation constituted the “face-to-face” component of our own hybrid classroom; our session technically began last week when we all attended the Emory DISC lecture “Seeing Time” by Edward L. Ayers during which we used a twitter back-channel (#discayers) to have a synchronous discussion about the talk. We then continued our conversation asynchronously on TECHStyle by commenting on Robin Wharton’s write up of the event “What Should a Hybrid Classroom Look like?” during the week leading up to our Wednesday evening Research Methodology seminar.
In our “face-to-face” discussion, we shared our experience using the Twitter back-channel during the talk, and many of us expressed feeling distracted by the effort to listen to the speaker … Continue reading
In early January, I made the trek to Seattle for the 2012 MLA convention. I was excited to be there, not only because Seattle is a very cool town, but because I was participating in an “electronic roundtable” devoted to digital pedagogy along with some very cool people. The roundtable,… Continue reading
Well, last night our hybrid classroom looked very much like the Jones Room and the new Research Commons at Emory’s Woodruff Library. Every spring, a number of Brittain Fellows choose to participate in an optional postdoctoral seminar on research methodologies. This semester, because the Writing and Communication Program is piloting hybrid pedagogy in our first-year composition and technical communication classes, we are using the design and assessment of hybrid pedagogies as a lens through which our examination of method is focused.
For those of you who may be wondering, hybrid pedagogy (also known as blended learning) combines face-to-face and distance or virtual learning strategies. Some thought-provoking recent studies have suggested hybrid instruction may–at least in some situations, for some students–create a more optimal learning environment than either traditional or wholly-online classes. Continue reading
Rebecca Burnett and I had a conversation about the nature of commenting on student blog posts. As instructors, should we have the option of making a private comment – viewable only to the student author, or should all comments be viewable to all students? There is an argument to be… Continue reading
A collage of sounds composed to reflect what we learned as Marion L. Brittain Fellows this semester at the Digital Pedagogy Seminar: dped_mix. Topics and Songs: Assessment – REM That’s me in the corner Digital divide – Aesop Rock’s 9-5ers Anthem Privilege and exclusion – Holidays in the Sun Texts… Continue reading
Welcome to Remix Culture Week! Readings/Videos Larry Lessig’s TED talk on Copyright Law Remix Theory’s definition of Remix An excerpt from David Shields’ Reality Hunger Questions to Consider How might remix challenge traditional the structure of rhetoric? Or is is not so much a challenge as another piece of the… Continue reading
Normally, I would sit down to write a blog of this sort saying I’d “just returned” from a particular conference. However, that language doesn’t really work this year as I was lucky enough to move to Atlanta just before this year’s National Women’s Studies Association annual conference. This year it… Continue reading
(Seminar by Sipai Klein, Julia Munro, Michael Tondre) 1. The meaning-making process writers face has been historically determined by the “technology” of paper. The integration of electronic communication has arguably changed writers’ meaning-making processes and the discourse produced by writers. In other words, the material contexts of writing have influenced… Continue reading
I had an “a-ha” moment in first-year composition class last week. I was preparing for a conference, writing job letters, preparing my classes, and trying to keep up with grading. In short, something had to give. But what? And then it hit me – Blog Post of the Week! Every… Continue reading
(Seminar by Amanda Madden, Julia Munro, and Michael Tondre). 1. One of the promises of teaching with digital technology involves its power to evoke the historical conditions of the past through the tools and techniques of the present. To be sure, web-based learning can be a vital means of exploring… Continue reading
This is the first installment of what I’m hoping will be a recurring discussion about breaking students of a nasty habit: the tendency to rely on harmful preconceptions when engaging with literatures, cultures, and traditions that they aren’t very familiar with. In the title of my column, I’m using “myth” in two (of the many) meanings of the term: as stereotype (a widely circulated falsehood); and as culturally significant narrative (a local, communal, or national “true” story). My research explores the way twentieth-century US writers of color incorporate culturally specific mythic narratives in their literature. When I bring aspects of this research into the literature and communication classrooms, I inevitably come up against significant hurdles… Continue reading
Hello all, The digital divide! This week we question how issues of power, privilege, and access intersect and collide with categories like race and class. While “the digital divide” is commonly discussed in terms of global access, we would like to limit our examination of the phenomenon to America for… Continue reading
(by Katy Hanggi, Aron Pease, and Michelle DiMeo) Assessment figures centrally into our teaching in many ways: we assess our students’ work, but we also reflect upon our roles in the classroom. When we incorporate technology into our classes, we introduce assignments that use new modes of communication which demand… Continue reading
This semester I have the privilege to be a participant in the Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars program here at Georgia Tech. We (a small group of faculty members, instructors, and staff from a variety of disciplines) meet once a week to discuss issues related to our seminar topic, “student engagement.” I am learning so much from our sessions, not only from the readings and discussions, but from the techniques our seminar leaders use to engage us with the topic at hand.
his week I took part in an exercise that I’m now excited to try in my class: the gallery walk.
The exercise required us to read an article on how students learn, looking at the way the brain changes when new information is stored and recalled. Continue reading
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
I’ve been using blogs for a long time in my classes as a place for informal writing and reflection. I originally used the blogs as simply an online repository to store weekly response readings but the more I’ve used them, the more I find that the actual medium creates a particularly dynamic… Continue reading
It’s that time of year and we’re all thinking “syllabus.” At least we were about a week or two ago – now with classes underway most of us have finalized our syllabi and distributed them to our new classes. Or did you? I didn’t. Well, distribute them that is. I’ve… Continue reading
We asked Brittain Fellows who will be moving on from the program to reflect upon their experiences. Four Britts rose to the challenge; as you’ll see, the perspectives of Jo Anne Harris, Crystal Lake, Melissa Meeks and Paulette Richards are varied but share an enthusiasm for the time they have… Continue reading
I spend a lot of time trying to simplify how I work on computers. I know I’m not alone in trying to make sense out of how best to utilize and integrate my three computers, iPhone, and iPad for teaching and research. I expect we all have our favorite life… Continue reading
March 17 was Celebrating Teaching Day at Georgia Tech. As part of the festivities, a number of Brittain Fellows presented posters of their successful approaches to improving student learning. Those whose work was displayed included Doris Bremm, Kathryn Crowther, Andrew Famiglietti, Jo Anne Harris, Robert LeBlanc, Jennifer Parrott, Paulette Richards,… Continue reading
As a master’s student in my introductory theory course, I became particularly enamored by Roland Barthes’s essay “Why I Love Benveniste.” At the end of the essay, Barthes says that Working with him, with his texts […],we always recognize the generosity of a man who seems to listen to the… Continue reading
Hours of browsing the web for information or entertainment have made us savvy clickers on the Internet highways. We intuitively know the most efficient way to navigate a page using colors, images, and hyperlinks as visual cues. Stop and think for a moment though. What if you cannot see or… Continue reading
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… Continue reading