Every Fall 2020 Syllabus Needs an “Or” Option: A Sample Assignment

Photo by Ashley Meyer By the end of summer, we all will have reinvented our syllabi to account for varying degrees of hybrid teaching. We will have reimagined the structure of our semesters to make our syllabi and ourselves flexible enough to fit the circumstances, whatever they may be, at our respective campuses this fall. … Continue reading Every Fall 2020 Syllabus Needs an “Or” Option: A Sample Assignment

“In a Pandemic, Everyone Gets an Asterisk,” Inside Higher Ed

In a March 23rd Inside Higher Ed article that I coauthored with Cathy N. Davidson, we take a moment to rethink testing and assessment not just during distance learning but also in the long term. We write: "There is an uncanny parallel between testing a vaccine on humans and testing students in the extraordinary circumstance … Continue reading “In a Pandemic, Everyone Gets an Asterisk,” Inside Higher Ed

“Transforming Your Online Teaching from Crisis to Community,” Inside Higher Ed

On March 11, 2020, Inside Higher Ed published an article that Cathy N. Davidson and I coauthored in response to the current coronavirus crisis, #CovidCampus, and the like, titled, "Transforming Your Online Teaching from Crisis to Community." In the article, we write: "The biggest takeaway from the research on effective teaching online is that we … Continue reading “Transforming Your Online Teaching from Crisis to Community,” Inside Higher Ed

Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” & Star Trek

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJn0ZPd6mYo&w=560&h=315] It's the end of the semester, and we've finally arrived at our poetry unit. After wrapping up Chopin's The Awakening, we spent two days on Dickinson, discussing death (in an unintentional transition from Chopin's controversial ending), the im/materiality of Dickinson's imagery, and, of course, the metaphorical meanings in Dickinson's punctuation, her masterful dashes. I introduced … Continue reading Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” & Star Trek

Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Moving on from teaching the general theme of women's oppression in my composition course, as I described in my last post, we've turned to a much more complex and darker play, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi. The most corrupt characters, Ferdinand and the Cardinal (also the Duchess's brothers), are motivated by many things: money, power, maintaining a … Continue reading Teaching Students Close Reading Skills with Twitter

Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville

Teaching an American Literature survey course for the first time last semester, I wanted to take on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick both for myself and for my students. My students were mostly English majors, and had followed Hope Leslie and Hawk-Eye through the American wilderness with me earlier in the semester. The magnetic pull to read Moby-Dick and give the potential spiritual journey … Continue reading Using BuzzFeed to Teach Melville