Over this holiday season, I’m spending time on the northern California coast, where we’ve been rocked by much-needed storms and rain for the last two weeks. I sit in my upstairs study, looking out toward the Pacific as the huge swells advance and crash onto the little cove beyond my house. I’ve spent some time sending Happy Holiday, Happy Hanukkah, and Merry Christmas cards and some time walking (in between rain showers). But most of my time has been spent writing—upcoming talks, new chapters for textbooks, and a lot of email messages to those I love most [read more]
A week or so ago, I traveled to Miami University in Ohio to meet with the National Advisory Board for the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, a group that includes Kathleen Yancey, Marti Townsend, Chris Anson, and Steve Bernhardt along with Kate Ronald, Director of the Howe Center. I’ve been on this Board since the inception of the Center, so I’m always glad to visit and learn about what this exemplary Center is doing. As always, I came away impressed. Student tutorials have increased exponentially, as have the number of workshops offered for students at all levels. [read more]
Earlier this month, Edutopia’s post on Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners explored photographs’ potential for analysis, reflection, and organization. The article was focused on younger, English language learners, but the ideas made me think about possibilities for my technical writing students. [read more]
I just read on cnn.com about the Hendersons of Hurricane, Utah, who have cancelled Christmas in an effort to teach their three children to stop being disrespectful and to stop acting entitled. They will celebrate the religious meaning of Christmas, but Santa won’t be visiting their house this year.
Ads also appeal to their audience’s values, and during the Christmas season, there is an extra push to remind people to exhibit the spirit of Christmas by sharing with the less fortunate. If you’ve ever dropped some money into a Salvation Army bucket–or felt guilty for not doing so–you have been targeted by one of the most visible of the season’s appeals to values.We all know the common complaints about the commercialization of Christmas. In fact, the Christmas season is a good time to look at the commercials that start showing up around Halloween. If we think about commercials as arguments designed to convince us to buy a product or act in a certain way, we can analyze the needs and values that they are appealing to. [read more]
In mid-November I was skimming headlines when this one caught my eye: “Please, Don’t ‘Decry’ the ‘Divorcee.’ Or Give Us Your ‘CV.” The Times Guide to Modern Usage.” Intrigued, I clicked and read on. In this brief piece, Susan Lehman, former deputy editor of the Sunday Review section of the New York Times, provides a “sampling of terms that should be used with care.” [read more]
I learned about trigger warnings for the first time this semester.
Trigger warnings, whether presented on syllabi or before class readings, warn students that material in the course (such as content on sexual abuse, war, or rape) could trigger those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). At the very start of the semester I learned about them when one of our Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) approached me about a student in her class. [read more]
Last spring, one of the students in my technical writing class had a remote like the Logitech Presenter, which his group used as they made their presentation. It seemed like an awkward “pass the conch” game, as group members passed the remote back and forth to give their portion of the presentation, but it was better than all of them shuffling around at the keyboard. Seeing the tool in action, I realized that I needed a similar remote for my Writing and Digital Media class. [read more]
Today’s guest blogger is Jeanne Law Bohannon.
I began my posts for this semester’s blog with a piece about e-badges, and how students develop their e-dentities through the production of personal e-badges. As my students and I wrap up our semester, we are thinking about what it means to create and nurture our e-dentities. We have developed and grown our e-dentities for the past few months on public domains, through an initiative led by the University of Mary Washington, Emory University, and this semester, at my school, Southern Polytechnic State University. [read more]
As a white woman with a vivid childhood memory of the uprisings that followed Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, how could I make sense of the Ferguson grand jury verdict— in and out of class?
At the time of the announcement, our classes had dispersed for the Thanksgiving holiday. I had already assigned the term’s final writing project and was deeply ensconced in catching up with grading students’ essays. When we reconvened for the last week of classes after the holiday, all attention would be focused on completing the coursework. Yet the work of the course, as an introduction to academic writing, would remain deeply intertwined with all of our lives. [read more]
The practice of popular cultural semiotics has much in common with both anthropology and sociology: after all, cultural semiotics, too, analyzes human behavior. But it is important to point out that there are a number of methodological differences that distinguish the semiotic from the sociological or anthropological approaches, one of which I wish to explain here. [read more]