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Horizontal divider Traci Gardner

A Surprise from Google Drive

posted: 11.25.14 by Traci Gardner

Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that every teacher wonders if students will build on what they learn in a class or even use the information in the future. Now thanks to Google Drive I have irrefutable evidence that they do.

First, let me provide some background. I have been trying to make the assignments in my Technical Writing classes relate closely to tasks students need to do anyway, either as interns, in their classes, or as they prepare to enter the work force. I talk explicitly about how the tasks relate to the workplace writing they are doing or will do. [read more]

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Categories: Business Writing, Teaching with Technology, Traci Gardner
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Horizontal divider Andrea Lunsford

On Giving Thanks

posted: 11.24.14 by Andrea Lunsford

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday of the year. My family was living in Tennessee, and our neighborhood was a real neighborly place. No store-bought costumes in those days: we dressed up in our parents’ clothes (many of us girls teetering around in our mother’s wedgie shoes) and went from house to house, where we were usually invited in for cookies or homemade fudge—or to bob for apples. My favorite night of the year. [read more]

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Horizontal divider Susan Naomi Bernstein

Trauma in the Classroom

posted: 11.24.14 by Susan Naomi Bernstein

Guest blogger Abby Nance has an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University and is an instructor at Gardner-Webb University. This is her seventh year teaching in the first year writing program. Her research explores the relationship between trauma and writing in the college classroom.

Last year at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, I spoke about the role of trauma in the writing lives of first-year college students. Whenever I talk about trauma, toxic stress, or mental health with other writing instructors, I feel deeply aware of my own students and the stories of abuse, neglect, violence, and anxiety that they hint at or explore outright in their own writing. If statistics can provide a baseline or a map, then many of our students are entering our classrooms with histories of trauma. [read more]

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Categories: Basic Writing, Guest Bloggers, Student Success, Teaching Advice
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Horizontal divider Andrea Lunsford

Is Collaboration the New Normal?

posted: 11.20.14 by Andrea Lunsford

For thirty-plus years now, Lisa Ede and I (and others) have been resisting the notion that writing is a solo activity, rather insisting that writing is essentially collaborative, even when a writer is sitting alone staring at a screen or paper. Opposition to this notion was fierce, and nowhere more so than in the humanities where the image of the solitary writer struggling to create something new under the sun was held sacrosanct. Collaboration was suspect, sure to be “watered down” or “not real writing.” [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Digital Writing
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Horizontal divider Barclay Barrios

Millennial Attention Spans

posted: 11.19.14 by Barclay Barrios

Nick Marino, our gest blogger for this week, is a first year student in the MA program at Florida Atlantic University, specializing in 20th century British Literature. He lives with his cat in South Florida, a place he finds oddly inspiring.

I’m with Nick on this meditation about the use of personal technology in the classroom, even through Richard Restak’s “Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era” argues rather persuasively that multitasking is a myth.  In the classes I teach, I encourage “responsible” use of technology like smart phones: pull it out to bring up a reading, research the author on the internet, check your calendar, or even log in to Blackboard.  Need to answer that text or call?  No problem.  Discretely step outside.  I’m always a bit amazed that students find even this rather liberal policy challenging, texting in class anyway.  Maybe Nick’s thoughts can offer me some new directions.

What do you think? [read more]

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Categories: Guest Bloggers, Uncategorized
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Horizontal divider Traci Gardner

Technical Definitions and Instructions

posted: 11.18.14 by Traci Gardner

I have been working to make the assignments in my technical writing class tie more closely to tasks students will do in the field. Their range of experiences complicates my goal however. Some have extensive experience, having worked in summer jobs and internships, while others know only their field from the classroom.

Two of the assignments I added this summer have seemed successful regardless of the experience students have. The professional biography assignment and the classification and analysis project allowed them to talk about their field and their experiences in positive ways, but had room for them to research aspects they were unsure of. I wanted to rethink the assignments I was using for definition, description, and instructions to work in the same way. [read more]

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Horizontal divider Andrea Lunsford

Multimodal Mondays: Video Game Vlogcasting

posted: 11.17.14 by Andrea Lunsford

Guest blogger Jeanne Law Bohannon is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) Department at Southern Polytechnic State University. She believes in creating democratic learning spaces, where students become accountable for their own growth though authentic engagement in class communities. Her research interests include evaluating digital literacies, critical pedagogies, and New Media theory; performing feminist rhetorical recoveries; and growing student scholars. Reach Jeanne at:

Many of my students are gamers. They define themselves by the characters they embody in RPGs (role-playing games), by the interactions between characters who are also their peers, and by their own “mad” gaming skills. Accordingly, the amount of time they spend in digital gaming spaces outdistances the time they spend studying. Students often hyper-identify with these digital spaces, so I asked myself if I was missing an opportunity to reach out to them in their e-world and use their embodied identities as rhetorical learning tools in the p-world (physical world). In an effort to meet students where they reside, I developed a multimodal assignment that asks them to choose, play, and analyze their favorite game; record themselves doing so; upload their videos to YouTube; and present their findings to their course mates. [read more]

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Categories: Andrea Lunsford, Uncategorized
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Horizontal divider Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Talking about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Comics

posted: 11.17.14 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Many campuses now have general education requirements that require students to take courses that incorporate sensitivity training designed to reduce incidents of racism or sexism on campus.  The problem with these courses is that they may often be too short in duration, too large in enrollment, or too superficial in content to effect real behavioral change, particularly among students imbued with false confidence that they live in a postracial society in which Obama is president, they don’t know any racists, and they can adopt completely color-blind attitudes. [read more]

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Horizontal divider Jack Solomon

Transfer: or, Without Which Nothing

posted: 11.16.14 by Jack Solomon

My topic this time should be a familiar one to anyone involved in composition instruction:  this is the concept of “transfer,” the notion that students should take what they have learned in their composition classes about writing and make full use of it in their subsequent university career, and beyond.  Applicable, of course, to all learning in a formal educational setting, transfer is (or at least ought to be) a fundamental concern, and goal, of all educators. [read more]

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Horizontal divider Donna Winchell

Oh, What a Tangled Web!

posted: 11.14.14 by Donna Winchell

I don’t share a lot of articles on Facebook. In fact, I share more cat and dog videos, usually in private messages to family members. When I ran across a posting of some remarks made by Ben Stein about the term “Holiday Trees” versus “Christmas Trees,” though, I thought it made some good points and naively shared it. One friend had already complained about how limiting Stein’s view of prayer is when I took the time to read some of the many comments that have been posted in response to the piece. I still think the article can be used to discuss argumentation, but I also discovered how much it has to offer as a means of teaching the dangers of trusting what you read on the Internet. [read more]

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