A significant part of many argumentation courses is the research essay. We teach our students how to find and evaluate sources and how to use them to support a claim. When a substantial amount of time is spent on the research unit, a sequence of assignments based on the same body of research provides a way to use course time more efficiently and reinforces the differences among the different types of claims taught when using the Toulmin Model. [read more]
On October 24, 2014, I helped celebrate Lisa Ede’s retirement: her department at Oregon State University put on a one-day conference, called “Situating Composition” (the title of one of Lisa’s influential books), and Cheryl Glenn and I had the honor of giving talks at the conference. In addition to our presentations, we enjoyed two fabulous panels: one made up of current MA students at Oregon State, each of whom spoke for about ten minutes about their current research, which ranged from peer tutoring to comic books to dual credit composition programs. These MA students were smart, witty, and full of wonderful ideas. The other panel featured Oregon State alums, and each of these former students spoke briefly about the important role Lisa had played in their education, about her careful and attentive mentoring of them. When the day came to a close, the organizers had a big surprise for Lisa: Cheryl and I had the very great pleasure of announcing the Lisa Ede Mentoring Award, which will be given annually by the Coalition of Women Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition to someone who embodies Lisa’s mentoring ideals and values. It was a festive and moving and memorable moment, and I got to watch as it dawned on Lisa that the CWSHRC was establishing an award in her honor. Pure happiness. [read more]
A few days ago, a piece of fan mail flooded in.
So OK, it was really an email from a former student hoping that I would address the reaction to the Ebola epidemic. At first I was reluctant to go anywhere near the topic (for reasons that will emerge presently), but I’ve come to the conclusion that this could be a very good “teaching moment” about semiotic analyses (besides, I can hardly afford to disappoint my few readers here), so here goes. [read more]
My guest blogger today, Jenn Murray, has spent the last 16 years as a Midwesterner trying to adjust to life in South Florida. After many years at home with her children, Jenn is currently in her first year of the MA program at Florida Atlantic University, where she is studying multicultural literature and trying to narrow her research interests enough for a thesis.
Jenn’s post isn’t only about the stages we all go through in emerging as teachers. It’s also about the ways in which teaching makes us better writers. [read more]
My friend and colleague, Barb Lutz, who directs the Writing Center at the University of Delaware , recently linked a Facebook post to TED Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing. A subset of lessons on grammar and usage are worth a look. TED-Ed brings together the volunteered work of educators and professional animators to create short (3 to 5 minute) lessons on a variety of subjects. The results are quite professional: brisk scripts, clever animations, high quality voice-over narration. [read more]
Earlier this month, a colleague shared the image on the right on her Facebook news feed. A few seconds of searching on Google led me to the origin, the Literary Starbucks Tumblr blog.
The idea is simple: the site, which is just over a month old, publishes descriptions of the Starbucks’ orders for various authors and characters. Some of the posts are descriptive, like that for George R.R. Martin on the right. Some include snippets of overheard dialogue between the barista and the customer, like the orders for Frodo or Isaac Asimov. Others mimic the verse of the author, like the orders for Dr. Seuss and for Langston Hughes (one of my favorites).
Not only is the site fun to read, but Literary Starbucks could also inspire some interesting student work. Students have to get inside the author’s or character’s head, think about her decisions, and then show what would happen in a style that mimics the original. It’s the kind of activity that requires a strong understanding of the original text. [read more]
I have my students use blogs to shape their digital identities and provide a space for them to share their work and ideas with others. I encourage them to go out into the world and critically examine their place within it through weekly exploratory blog posts. Many of these assignments are open ended and based on their observations and perceptions. However, I like to switch it up every once in a while and ask them to use a particular style or format as a rhetorical device to shape and deliver their ideas. [read more]
In recent months, I’ve followed a fascinating thread on the WPA listserv about members of the rhetoric and writing community who serve as long-term WPAs (writing program administrators). Indeed, it is not unusual for people in our field to be asked to take on administrative jobs: doing so more or less comes with the territory, since the departments we work in usually have writing programs that need guidance and leadership. It is also not unusual for such WPAs to go on to other administrative jobs, including associate deans, deans, provosts, and even presidents. [read more]
Today’s guest blogger is Jason Stephens, a native of Boise, Idaho who has recently moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where he is a first year MFA student at Florida Atlantic University. Jason has been deeply involved in bicycle touring since graduating from Boise State (where he earned his BA), which has allowed for a growing sense of importance in finding purpose for the self in all activities and interactions.
Jason struggled with this post, trying to find the best ways to convey his felt sense that what he said in the classroom and how he said it directly affected what and how students wrote. [read more]
Online violence against women scares and worries me. As it morphs from virtual threat, which is bad enough and still violent even if not overtly physical, into offline threats that drive women from their homes, offices, and families and into hiding, the damage and danger has become palpable enough to make news. [read more]