Selfish Researchers, Neglectful Educators: Student Misconceptions of What We Do

Here is an example of a popular meme depicting how different groups might understand the role of the professor. Friends may believe professors have summers off; parents may liken them to a school teacher; society may assume they show students movies to pass the time. Although I wouldn’t liken what… 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

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

Engineering English: Writing Lessons from English 1101 and 1102

Introduction Lakshmi Raju took my 1101 and 1102 courses her freshman year at Georgia Tech. Currently, she is finishing up her junior year at Tech as an Electrical Engineering major and she is an Associate Editor for Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering at the Journal of Young Investigators. During and… 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

Offseason Musings: Football, Pedagogy, and the Multimodal Composition Classroom

College football is increasingly in the news, and usually for all of the wrong reasons. One of the most concerning things for educators is the relationship between the academic and athletic programs at our nation’s colleges and universities. And it is a tenuous, problematic relationship, undoubtedly. Imagine my surprise then… Continue reading

Go Make Yourself Un-useful

In a previous post, I reflected on the successes and failures of a project I assigned in my Spring 2012 course on copia, and assigned again with some minor changes this semester. Students spend the first month of the semester gathering an eclectic mix of material, organizing it into categories,… Continue reading

Hate Studies and the Holocaust Memorial Museum

What is hate, and how do we combat it?  Recently, I attended a symposium organized by Gonzaga University’s Institute for Hate Studies and American University’s Washington College of Law.  The symposium was on “Hate and Political Discourse” and was organized by John Shuford and Robert Tsai in honor of the… Continue reading

Tech, No to Tech, Yes: How a Former Technophobe Becomes a Digital Teaching Fellow

An ongoing series by new Brittain Fellow, Rebecca Weaver I am a new Brittain Fellow in Digital Pedagogy at Georgia Institute of Technology, where I teach a 21st Century version of First-Year Writing. This class focuses on the WOVEN curriculum, a broader curriculum of communication than that of traditional writing… Continue reading

Pieces of What?

About a thousand years after everyone else, I came across Feminist Ryan Gosling, and despite having seen only one Ryan Gosling movie—Drive, in which he “Hey’s” nary a girl, but does assault someone with a hammer—I enjoyed reading through the entries. But I knew I was late to the party when… Continue reading

Your Soundbite Pleased me Greatly: Commonplacing in the Classroom

For my third soundbite-related post, I’d like to talk some pedagogy. This semester I’m teaching a course on copia, which in some ways would seem to be the opposite of sound-biting.
Copia is about abundance, variety, superfluity, excess, accumulation—words not normally associated with soundbite culture. The latter conjures very different terms: truncation, abbreviation, superficiality, redundancy, speed, spin. Continue reading

Myth in the Classroom 3.0

Since I’m awash in grading, I’d like to wrap up the semester with a meditation on final projects and cultural studies. I asked my ENGL 1101 students to create websites that perform a cultural study of a chosen artifact of American culture in terms of its relationship to race and technology. Overall, I think the assignment went quite well. Students appreciated the opportunity to share their ideas with an audience beyond me and even beyond their fellow classmates. And they especially enjoyed playing around with Dreamweaver, html, and iWeb. (Or so they tell me in their reflection papers.) An additional enticement was that they got to select artifacts of American culture that were important or relevant to them, including the Ford Mustang, the iPhone, and the NFL.

The greatest challenge students faced when making their arguments about these artifacts, though, was to bridge the issues of race and technology. Most of their websites ended up devoting one page to race and one to technology and not tying them together… Continue reading

Notes from National Women’s Studies Association

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

Reflections on Digital Media Archaeology: Excavating Definitions

In this article I wish to reflect at more length on the topic of “archaeology of digital media,” which happens to be the topic of discussion this week for the weekly Digital Pedagogy Seminar for first-year Brittain Fellows. Although many literary scholars are certainly well-versed in historical approaches, myself included,… Continue reading

Postmodern Theory in Multimodal Composition

Ever since Baudrillard found his way into my dissertation (I have no memory of inviting him—suddenly he was there, like Jack Nicholson in that picture at the end of The Shining), I’ve been curious about how he’d fare in an undergraduate classroom. His postmodern and Nietzschean sympathies make him entertaining… Continue reading

Encouraging Better Class Discussions

Grammar tag cloud on Visible Tweets

This semester, I am teaching an honors section of ENGL1101, aka first-year composition. The students are awesome, and I am really enjoying the experience. Recently, though, I discovered that in addition to providing an opportunity to work with great, motivated students drawn from a close-knit learning community, Georgia Tech’s honors… Continue reading