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

The Office Hour, “Building Stuff”

Students in first-year writing courses at Georgia Tech are sometimes asked to build things. Based on the comic strip that currently hangs in the WCP interns’ office, those students react to these assignments with a mixture of bemusement, annoyance, and–eventually–acceptance. But in this episode of The Office Hour, we hear… Continue reading

Picture This: Infographics in English Class, Part Two

This post is the second in a series about an infographic project in “Teaching Composition,” a course led by former Brittain Fellow Dr. Anna Ioanes at the University of St. Francis. Read Part One here. Part Two: Writing is a Beast; or, Visualizing Metaphors When we teach students to write, is it best… Continue reading

Public Tech Comm: Preparing Students for Tech Expos

Rows of lunchboxes are lined up on a table. Each box has a label with the words "Junior Design Capstone Expo" and an image of two people trying virtual reality technology.

This is the fourth part in a series on the intersections of technical communication in the tech industry and the academy. Read the series introduction here. One of the more interesting aspects of the Computer Science Tech Comm Course sequence at Georgia Tech is how it evolves from semester to… Continue reading

Picture This: Infographics in English Class, Part One

This is the first part in a series by Anna Ioanes (Brittain Fellow, 2015-2018) on teaching infographics and writing at the University of St. Francis where Dr. Ioanes is Assistant Professor of English. The series originally appeared at the USF Lit Works blog.  Introduction In my first semester at the… Continue reading

BTS (방탄소년단) in an English Composition Course

As my students chatted, I situated the camera onto the computer screen. They seemed excited about the class activity: filming a reaction video and posting it to YouTube. Opposite the students, on the screen at the front of the classroom, a music video was paused at a blank white frame…. Continue reading

(Re)designing the Instructional Artifact: The Poetry Machine Project

In the 2017-18 academic year I executed a lively experiment integrating poetry into LMC 3403, a traditional technical communication course at Georgia Tech as the direct result of receiving a Poetry@Tech pedagogy development grant. Technical communication is defined by Elizabeth Tebeaux and Sam Dragga as writing “that occurs in a… Continue reading

On Conferences in Academia and the Tech Industry

On stage at the Container Power Hour session at the 2018 AWS re:Invent conference. The session agenda is projected on a screen to the left; the session presenters are seated on stage to the right.

This is the third part in a series on the intersections of technical communication in the tech industry and the academy. Read the series introduction here. For me, January 2019 was bookended with conferences. I started the month (and year) with a trip to Chicago for the 2019 Modern Language… 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

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

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

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

Intersections of Tech Comm in the Tech Industry and Classroom

An intersection at night. Exposure techniques render passing cars as streams of light.

I was a Brittain Fellow at Georgia Tech from Fall 2016 until this past August, when I accepted a full time job at RedMonk, a developer-focused tech industry analyst firm. Because the job offer came in days before the Fall 2018 semester started, I had concerns about the timing: I… Continue reading

Things To Do in Wivenhoe; Or, So Going Around “The Basketball Diaries”: A New York School Travelogue

“Wake up high up / frame bent & turned on,” begins Ted Berrigan’s iconic “Things to Do in New York (City),” a lyric list poem that shows Berrigan moving through the literary landscape of the city in timeless style. Berrigan was fond of this genre, also writing poems like “Things… Continue reading

Teaching in All Seasons: Poetics, Ideal Tendencies, and Food Literacy

SUMMER   “Once I remember looking into the freezer can the next morning and finding the leftover ice cream had all returned to milk. It was like the disappearance of Cinderella’s new clothes.” (Lewis 53) Midway through my Spring composition course, “Food Literacy of Atlanta,” my students and I had… Continue reading

Sonnets @ Tech: The Pedagogy of Writing as Making

When modernist poet William Carlos Williams antagonistically announced, “To me all sonnets say the same thing of no importance. What does it matter what the line ‘says’?”, I wonder whether or not he’d approve of poet and punk rock singer Matt Hart playfully directing students to arrange and rearrange pieces… 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

Why Not?: On Punk and Pedagogy

Not long before the Primitives changed their name to the Velvet Underground, the band’s singer, Lou Reed, wrote to his Syracuse University professor, poet Delmore Schwartz, I decided that I’m very very good and could be a good writer if i work and work. i know thats what ive got to… Continue reading

Teaching with Twitter: Social Media in the Composition Classroom

When I mention that I use Twitter in my first-year writing courses, I am often met with both intrigue and skepticism by students and faculty alike. If writing courses are supposed to be focused on nuanced thinking, careful research, and rhetorically sophisticated arguments, what can students possibly learn from writing… 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