Teaching with Early Modern Digital Archives

Latin transcription of Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae

In the last three decades, our understanding of early modern literature and culture has been enriched by a renewed attention to data that might be called "archival."  Because of the proliferation of digital repositories such as Early English Books online, scholars and teachers have increasing home access to resources previously restricted to on-site consultation.  While such archival material is often incorporated into graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching, there is also significant opportunity to employ it in the instruction of early-major and non-major literature students

Technology and Pedagogy: The Forum and Form of Blog Posting

Comic with Shakespeare at a computer asking To blog or not to blog?

According to legend, the Athenian orator, Demosthenes, overcome a speech impediment and a weak delivery through a practice of filling his mouth with stones and speaking through them. One might argue that Demosthenes was ahead of the curve in his use of technology. Others might suggest that my example is perverse, since 1.) the stones impede his natural ability to speak, and 2.) they were removed when he spoke in public.

Blogging in the Classroom: Peer Review Plus Camaraderie!

Screenshot of course blog for Rhetoric of Suburbs and Slums

As a student myself in Dr. Lester Faigley’s Visual Rhetoric class four years ago, we used Blackboard’s “Forum” feature to initiate online discussions about our readings while sitting in front of computers in the same classroom. I remember how invigorating it was to respond to my classmates’ posts as they wrote them. I also found that having a written record of my thoughts on the readings served as great review for when I wanted to refer to theories from these readings later in the course. In Dr.

First-Year Writing and the Learning Record: At Midterm

Row of rainbow-colored folders

It’s just past midterm and my students in first-year rhetoric and writing (RHE 306) have just submitted Learning Record portfolios. I adopted the Learning Record model as developed by UT’s own Peg Syverson, outlined at http://www.learningrecord.org.

Trust Me, I'm a Teacher: Some Reflections on Teacher-Student Power Relations

Stick figure comic from XKCD

Let me immediately note that I’m not intending to demonstrate universal truths with the following anecdotes. My intent is just to share a couple of particular rhetorical situations and the reflections to which they’ve led.

Learning to Let Go: My Friday Non-interference Pact with my Students

Waterskiing cat soaring above the water

I think virtually every newcomer to collegiate teaching realizes early on, with varying degrees of dismay, that “teaching” and “parenting” are closely related functions.  I find my students often find it hard to think outside of a kind of parental relationship: they are legitimately shocked when I tell them, for example, that I don’t care why they missed class, or that their C (or B, or A-, even) is neither a reflection of my personal feelings about them nor assigned punitively but rather my best assessment of their performance on an assignment ruled against some form of index.  B

25 Things Students Forget About the Internet, or Why Explicit Instruction of Internet Literacy is Vital (Plus a Special Bonus Thing!!)

Sign reading Internet Access Here

This list is by no means complete.  If I had the time, it would probably be 50 items long instead of 25.  It came about as I was mulling over how to explain to students that no, the audience for any given text on the internet is (probably) not all internet users.

Using Embarrassment to Build Trust with Students

Woman covering face with hands in embarassment

I recently had a conversation with a couple of other instructors at UT about what to do when you've realized you've made a mistake about a student's grade, especially what to do if you've assigned a grade that is lower than what the student actually deserves.

Oftentimes, as younger or less experienced instructors, we have a tendency to believe that we cannot change a student's grade for the better because then they'll always question our grading practices, and then we'll have to deal with lessened authority in the classroom and constant requests for grade changes.

Better than Rhetoric

Screenshot of McDonald's Videogame

My thinking about rhetoric and realism has been greatly elucidated this year by my class, Rhetoric of Video Games.

Mapping Community

Old illustrated map of Austin, Texas

In my RHE 309S: Critical Reading and Persuasive Writing course at UT Austin, my students are spending the semester studying communities of their choice. The first paper asked students to "map" their community, charting the people, places, events, social practices, and issues that help the community define and organize itself while also examining arguments made about the community. This assignment resembles one of our main first-year writing assignments which asks students to map the arguments made in response to a specific critical situation or issue.



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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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