Show Students Your Own Work

Guinea Pig

The best thing I did last semester was to show my students some of my own shitty writing. Previously, I had avoiding putting up any of my own work, not out of some kind of fear of student reactions, but because I didn't want to make the class all about me.

Still, about halfway through last semester, I got the impression my students were feeling all downtrodden and dismal about their writing. I wanted them to see that even though we grade "final" drafts, none of us, their teachers, think about writing purely in terms of product, either.

Digital Dialogs: On Being an AD in the DWRL

"I love the ADs" on neon geometric background

In the Fall of 2014, DWRL Assistant Directors (ADs) and AD alums conducted this roundtable discussion on their experiences of administrating in the Digital Writing & Research Lab. We posed and answered questions about why we became ADs, how being an AD changed our own teaching and research, what it’s like to supervise our peers, how we set the DWRL’s research agenda, how we host a welcoming environment for the lab’s members, and we pass on what we’ve learned through institutional memory. We're sharing our discussion here with the hope that current and future lab members can learn from our experience!

Discussing Stereotypes in the Classroom

One of my primary aims in a rhetoric classroom is to equip students with the skills to thoughtfully respond to the world around them. What that means, as fellow instructors know well, is that sometimes it is appropriate to discuss rhetorical arguments that make the audience uncomfortable—a discomfort that could potentially halt or hinder discussion in the classroom. Moreover, given that every person in a classroom brings with them a distinct set of past experiences, influences, and perspectives, certain arguments and texts can affect some students more personally than others.

Live Tweeting as Pedagogical Practice

Bird icon with text bubble saying, "live tweet with purpose!"

While I've grown fairly accustomed to live tweeting at academic conferences, I took those practices into my classroom this week with surprisingly delightful results. Not only did it yield a better sense of what my students were thinking, but they also inspired at least two or three future lesson plans.

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Class Blog

We [Heart] Blog
For several semesters I have had students engage in digital conversations using discussion boards on class management sites such as Blackboard and Canvas. This semester, wondering if writing for a public audience would increase their investment in participating in these kinds of digital conversations, I decided to set up a class blog.

ProTip: Always Assign “Shitty First Drafts”

Our sister site, the DWRL Lesson Plans Library, is full of all kinds of gems. But my most successful lesson plan is too simple for me to post over there. Directions: (1) assign Anne Lamott’s "Shitty First Drafts" from from Bird by Bird, (2) watch your students as they start to think about writing as process rather than product, and (3) prepare yourself for “this-is-why-I-do-this” feels.

How to Outsource Your Grading and Look (and Feel) Good Doing It

Person crowdsurfing at a music festival in Germany against a night sky, hands in the hook'em horns position

Or, The Power of Crowdsourcing Assessment.

Like a lot of instructors at UT, I have required presentations in my classes and over the years, these presentations have taken a lot of different forms, from three solid days of argumentative presentations to close out the semester in my first-year writing class, to having students introduce a critical section of the text and lead discussion in my current literature class. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the way I assess presentations. Which is to say: I don't.

Monstrous Feminism

Scholarship Outside the (UT) Ivory Tower

I’m currently teaching a course on “subversive” cartoons though as a class, we decided to focus on television shows traditionally aimed at children and pre-teens. It’s been a wonderful, engaging experience with passionate students contributing insights that have never crossed my mind. The rhetorical politics of ignorance in Adventure Time? Addiction and depression in Hey Arnold!? Cognitive difference in Jimmy Neutron?

The Adapted Lesson Plan

Whiteboard and posters

I love borrowing and tweaking a good lesson plan to meet my own students’ needs. From my first formal teacher training, when I received an enormous binder of lesson plans ready to adapt, to the DWRL’s encouragement to check out its amazing database of lab member-generated plans, I’ve been lucky enough to have regular access to other teachers’ excellent ideas.



Creative Commons License
All materials posted to this site are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. We invite you to use and remix these materials, but please give credit where credit is due. In addition, we encourage you to comment on your experiments with and adaptations of these plans so that others may benefit from your experiences.


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