Blogging in the Classroom: Not Only Why, But HOW!

A somewhat frustrated smiley face icon holds up a sign that says "Blogger" beneath the icon for Google Blogger.  A grinning smiley face icon with full lips and bright, white teeth points up at the WordPress logo and looks triumphant. In between the two competing smiley face emoticons, we see, in red, "vs."

If you’re anything like me, you may be hesitant to set up a new platform for teaching and writing in your classroom. Or, even if you’re convinced that blogging in a rhetoric or literature classroom is a great idea, you may avoid doing so because you’ve never run a blog, been a blogger, or fear the possible breakdowns of working online in an unknown digital space and losing student work.

The Rhetorical Implications of a Lightning Bug: Making and Adapting Arguments in Visual Rhetoric

A lightning bug eating a large cookie

As part of the rhetorical analysis unit in my Rhetoric and Writing class, I created a lesson that, because I like terrible puns, I called "The Logos of Logos." My goal was to introduce the students to the idea of visual rhetoric, with an emphasis on drawing out implied arguments from images. I've written this experience up as a blog rather than a lesson plan because I find what happened in the classroom far more interesting than my original lesson plan.

To Poll or Not to Poll

Screenshot of a sample poll from the website SurveyMonkey

*The final unit of my RHE 309K: Rhetoric of Animal Rights course features an oral presentation based around a multimedia advocacy project that each student must design. As the major part of the evaluation, I create and use online polls (using tools such as SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics) that the students complete in real time after every presentation. Each poll asks four trait-centered questions, followed by a holistic evaluation, allowing for a variety of data combinations to see how students respond to each other’s work.

Reading, Rhetoric and Reviews Online

My Rhetoric 309K class, “Rhetoric of Animal Rights,” features three unequal units respectively emphasizing description, analysis, and production of argument. The second unit culminates in a book review of a text germane to the course topic.

The Convenience of Teaching Difficult Texts

close-up photo of a doll with blue eyes

My classroom tends to feature a lot of group and class discussion. This semester's first novel was Salmon Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, a 576-page tome full of complex allusions to recent Indian politics, the foundation of Islam, and the Western literary canon. The second book is Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, a slim 216-page novel dealing with Jim Crow era America. Unexpectly, I'm finding that Rushdie, not Morrison, most encourages classroom discussion.

Teaching to a Hostile Audience, Or, When Your Revolution Class is Full of Counterrevolutionaries

A picture of the Muppets, Statler and Waldorf, who are always putting down the Muppet Show

This semester has been interesting, particularly because I am always comparing my Fall course on revolution to my summer course on the same topic.

Hacking (Our) Community

Screenshot of course website with partial text of a student's artist statement

This semester, I'm teaching 'Rhetoric of Hacking', an intermediate writing/composition class. The course title is something of a vexed topic; it was chosen to comply with the usual pattern of writing course names at UT, but it started off as 'Hacking Rhetoric', a name designed to imply that we would not just be discussing rhetoric about hacking, but also hacking rhetoric itself, transforming our own work and that of other people.

Can I Take Your Picture? Reading Susan Sontag’s "On Photography" and the Rhetoric of Photographing Strangers

students posing in front of UT tower

Coupling a reading with a hands-on lesson plan like the one that I am about to share can be tricky, and I wouldn't advocate using this particular pedagogical strategy for all texts, but Susan Sontag’s On Photography (1977) seems to work well as part of an experiential lesson plan because peering into the lives of others through photographs on social media sites is what the overwhelming majority of college students spend their time doing already.

The Modified Jigsaw Classroom

jigsaw classroom

Last spring I participated in a seminar through the Center for Teaching and Learning, and one of the biweekly sessions was on effective classroom organization. I resolved to try the Jigsaw Classroom model for my Fall 2013 class.

Collaboration and Chaos

Text reading collaboration in chaos in a GoogleDoc

As long as I’ve had the pleasure of teaching in one of the DWRL class rooms I’ve flirted with the idea of using Google Docs in a classroom setting.  In-class writing assignments are certainly nothing new, but Google Docs made it possible to transform what was a space for quiet reflection into one that demanded open collaboration.



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.


User login