At the end of last year, I went to hear students in PWR 2 at Stanford (that’s the second year writing class) participate in a conference, during which they gave presentations based on their research this term. As I expected, the presentations were all fun to listen to and packed with information: the students were dressed up and doing their best to get and hold their audience’s attention. [read more]
It’s always surprised me that I don’t teach online. I am a tech-heavy guy, often an early adopter, and much of my work has involved computers and composition. But I tried teaching a writing course online once and, frankly, I thought it was a disaster. Granted, I was doing it somewhere around the turn of the millennium; I’m certain the technology has changed since then. But I’ve been stubbornly dead set against writing instruction online for most of my career.
That must change. [read more]
A new online community has formed that provides just that kind of connection for me. The Teaching the Rhetoric of Social Media group on Facebook was founded two weeks ago by Christina Fisanick. [read more]
In many classrooms, multimodal presentations are becoming par for the (composition) course, and other Bits authors and Multimodal Mondays bloggers have shared ways to take presentations beyond PowerPoint (see “Composing Identities with Literacies Experience Timelines” and “When to Prezi” for examples). Instructors are thinking not only about different types of presentations but about different ways—and contexts—to use presentations. Traditionally, presentations have been cumulative, a capstone on a well-developed research project. But presentations can also be useful tools for invention and for establishing a writing community in your classroom. Added benefits are building visual literacy and giving a platform for visual learners to brainstorm and share their ideas. [read more]
You may have seen an article in the New York Times called “Writing Your Way to Happiness.” This essay corroborated earlier research that has connected writing with improved health, though the author here focuses on if and how writing can lead to behavioral change and “improve happiness.” A number of studies indicate that writing can indeed lead to such changes. As the author puts it, “by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.” [read more]
My candidate for the hands-down “what were they thinking?” award for Super Bowl XLIX is GoDaddy’s now-notorious “Puppy” ad, which was pulled from the broadcast schedule days before the game.
The ad, of course, was a parody of last year’s Budweiser puppy ad, highlighting something (oddly enough) that I pointed out in my Bits blog analysis of that ad—namely, that for all the heart warm, the Budweiser puppy was, in effect, a commodity for sale. GoDaddy’s version made this its punch line, with the adorable Golden Retriever pup returning home only to be shipped out again by his breeder, who smugly observes that the sale was made possible by her GoDaddy sponsored web page. [read more]
I just made my reservations for the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Wow, some lessons learned.
The first lesson: reserve rooms early. I couldn’t get into the host hotel or the backup hotel or even the backup, backup hotel. I’m only about a mile away from the conference but I know from past experience there is no greater pleasure than getting through a long day of panels and then simply stepping into an elevator and collapsing in my room. This year I will be taking a hike before collapsing. I have to admit I was really kind of shocked. [read more]
As I prepare for any class I teach, I post the planned activities on a WordPress blog and send out updates on Twitter. My blog post typically includes a photo I have found on Flickr, using Creative Commons search. In class, we are likely to talk about Facebook, Flickr, or Pinterest. We build LinkedIn profiles, and we discuss online personas.
Social media has become a significant part of what I teach and how I communicate with students for these ten reasons [read more]
Because my son Jonathan is a film scholar, I am probably even more aware than most that this is awards season. The Academy Awards ceremony each year is for our household what the Super Bowl is for others. Jonathan recently posted on Facebook that in his lifetime he has seen 2,502 movies. The fact that he knows that speaks volumes about his obsession, along with the fact that he was watching classic silent movies before he could read the subtitles. I came naturally to use the movie review as a means of teaching the claim of value, but my approach can be adapted to other types of evaluative writing as well. [read more]
At the 2015 MLA meeting in Vancouver, John Schilb chaired a session on “Composition after the Neuro Turn,” which he identifies as the move the field has taken beyond the social and toward an encounter with contemporary work in neuroscience. As Schilb pointed out in his proposal for the session, composition engaged deeply with cognitive studies in the ’70s and early ’80s, before social constructionist theory took center stage. [read more]