On Reading Aloud in the Classroom

One of the greatest mistakes we make in literary studies---and as teachers of literature---is privileging one form of literacy above all others. Namely, literacy as silent reading. In our classrooms, we view reading aloud with disdain. Asking students to take turns reading a text aloud offends our sensibilities as literature professors. It's remedial. Childish. Appropriate… Continue reading On Reading Aloud in the Classroom

Reading List for Science Fiction Course (ENGL 451)

After much deliberation---and with your feedback, both here and twice on Twitter---I have finalized the reading list for my upcoming Science Fiction class. Actually, I finalized it months ago, but I haven't had a chance to post it here until now. This list isn't everything we're reading; there'll be short stories, critical essays, other nonfiction… Continue reading Reading List for Science Fiction Course (ENGL 451)

Fall 2011 Course Description for ENGL 451: Science Fiction

Often dismissed by its critics as low-brow pulp, science fiction is nonetheless a rich, dynamic literary genre which deserves our attention. In this class we will move beyond the stereotypes of science fiction in order to examine novels, stories, comics, films, and videogames that question the global commodification of culture, the fetishization of technology, and… Continue reading Fall 2011 Course Description for ENGL 451: Science Fiction

Followup to the Ever-Expanding Classroom Discussion

Last week I was a guest of the Davidson College Teaching Discussion Group, where I was invited to talk about my pedagogical strategies for teaching large classes. I mostly focused on how I use technology to preserve what I value most about teaching smaller classes. But many of the technique I discussed are equally applicable… Continue reading Followup to the Ever-Expanding Classroom Discussion

Post-Print Fiction Course Description (for Fall 2011)

Here is an early, tentative course description for my Fall 2011 senior seminar for the English Honors students. I welcome comments or reading recommendations! Post-Print Fiction (ENGL 400 Honors Seminar) For several centuries the novel has been associated with a single material form: the bound book, made of paper and printed with ink. But what… Continue reading Post-Print Fiction Course Description (for Fall 2011)

Graphic Novels and Narratives for Spring 2011

I always find it difficult to select the texts for my graphic novel courses. Narrowing the choices for my Spring 2011 undergrad class bordered upon an existential crisis. Perhaps it's because so much seems to be at stake when you're likely introducing students for the first time in their lives to the critical study of… Continue reading Graphic Novels and Narratives for Spring 2011

The Open Source Professor (Screencast)

The folks at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) have posted an audio podcast of my recent Digital Dialogue presentation, "The Open Source Professor: Teaching, Research, and Transparency." As entertaining as it might be to hear me talk for thirty minutes, I thought it would be better to see the visuals that… Continue reading The Open Source Professor (Screencast)

Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

HNRS 353: Videogames in Critical Contexts T/R 1:30-2:45pm In this Honors Seminar we will study the history and cultural impact of videogames from a number of critical perspectives. As products of a complicated network of social, economic, and technological forces, videogames are dense cultural texts, deeply layered with multiple meanings. Whether we consider early arcade… Continue reading Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

My Talk for MITH: The Open Source Professor

I'm in the midst of preparing for my upcoming talk at the University of Maryland's Institute for Technology in the Humanities. The talk is October 27 and my title is The Open Source Professor: Teaching, Research, and Transparency. Here's the abstract, written by me, uncomfortably, in the 3rd person: What happens when the scholarship of… Continue reading My Talk for MITH: The Open Source Professor

Twitter is a Snark Valve

Last week I described the intensive role of social networking in my teaching. Although I explained how I track and archive my students' Twitter activity, I didn't describe what they actually do on Twitter. That's because I wasn't sure myself what they do. I mean, of course I've reading their tweets and sending my own,… Continue reading Twitter is a Snark Valve

Reflections on a Technology-Driven Syllabus

I'm five weeks into the new semester, and it's time to consider how my ambitious technology-heavy Graphic Novel course is going. And I'm serious when I say it's technology-heavy: we're doing a blog, a wiki, Twitter, and rigorous Pecha Kucha presentations. About the only thing we're missing is a MMORPG. I plotted out the major… Continue reading Reflections on a Technology-Driven Syllabus

Followup on Public Teaching Evaluations

My previous post about making my teaching evaluations public generated some thoughtful commentary, both here and elsewhere. Brian Coxall's post on Prof. Hacker and the ensuing comments raised some key questions, and I've briefly responded there, saying: [Regarding who owns the rights to the evaluations] ...in my case I think that answer is easy: it’s… Continue reading Followup on Public Teaching Evaluations

Transparency, Teaching, and Taking My Evaluations Public

I recently wrote about why I'm making even the earliest scraps of my research public. It's a move, in theory, that most academics would not object to. Nobody is going to give me funny looks for suggesting we share our research problems. After all, scholarly collaboration is something we're almost all willing to profess a… Continue reading Transparency, Teaching, and Taking My Evaluations Public

On Hacking and Unpacking My (Zotero) Library

Many of my readers in the humanities already know about Zotero, the free open-source citation manager that works within Firefox and scares the hell out of Endnote's makers. If you are a student or professor and haven't tried Zotero, then you are missing out on an essential tool. I use it daily, both for my… Continue reading On Hacking and Unpacking My (Zotero) Library