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New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020

I’ve written before about how I like to make resolutions at the new semester, rather than the new year. So let’s do this! I admit this semester I haven’t given that much thought to what I want to do better. Like most of us, I’ve been in crisis mode over the summer, waiting to seeContinue reading “New Semester’s Resolutions: Fall 2020”

The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You

Notice I said “can learn from you” not “that you can teach” in the title. That’s because this lesson is not one you explicitly teach. It’s not on tests. I’m not even sure how you’d assess it. But it’s important. The most important lesson your students can learn from you is this: Grace. Grace isContinue reading “The Most Important Lesson Your Students Can Learn From You”

About Those Staggered Due Dates…

Previously I wrote about my scheme this semester to stagger due dates by having students sign up for a date during a “due week,” and reported that it was doing pretty well. I wrote too soon. As you may have surmised, time simply has no meaning anymore. Even self-selected due dates became meaningless when myContinue reading “About Those Staggered Due Dates…”

Redundancy Is Good Praxis

I just got done setting up the second online module for my formerly face-to-face classes. When we all were preparing to go online, I knew I had some advantages: I’ve done this before (in fact, I’ve been plundering some of my previous online classes’ resources to help the shift), and I know from experience thatContinue reading “Redundancy Is Good Praxis”

The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity

Last week, I introduced my students to the genre of the literature review. This is, for most first year composition students, an entirely alien genre, since it’s largely the province of academic work. However, the course I’m teaching requires, as part of its description, that my students produce an annotated bibliography of 15-20 sources andContinue reading “The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity”

Dr. Cox’s 3 Rules For Peer Criticism

Peer criticism is unquestionably important for learning, especially in writing. It’s also unquestionably tricky to implement effectively. To help out, in this post I offer three simple rules you can use to guide a peer criticism session. There is a lot against us in the traditional classroom when we try to implement peer criticism. ThereContinue reading “Dr. Cox’s 3 Rules For Peer Criticism”

Teaching Against Deficiency

There’s been a lot of talk about “ungrading” and, of course, most of us are probably aware by now of the growing body of research that shows how standardized testing is not a useful measurement of student learning and may actually be doing harm to students. I don’t have anything really conclusive to say aboutContinue reading “Teaching Against Deficiency”

Talking Disability and Accessibility in the Composition Classroom

Like many instructors, my composition students generally finish the semester making a multimodal/multimedia presentation of their topics to the rest of the class. I love this assignment; it’s creative, it’s real-world, it’s student-driven, it’s everything I love in an assignment. Let me explain the assignment a little: my students deal with “local” issues in theirContinue reading “Talking Disability and Accessibility in the Composition Classroom”

Algorithms and Class Policies

For years, I’ve used the same late policy: work accepted up to a week late, 20% reduction in grade, no questions asked. And it’s been a pretty effective policy. I’ve been criticized for it being both too lenient (“They need to learn deadlines are real!”) and for it being too strict (“20% off even ifContinue reading “Algorithms and Class Policies”

Imagine There’s No Grades

About a month ago, Asao Inoue visited my campus to talk about pedagogy and race; the room was packed, standing room only. Among his recommendations that day for addressing systemic racial injustice in education: Don’t grade. For most people who have been raised in most late 20th/early 21st century formal education systems, this seems impossible.Continue reading “Imagine There’s No Grades”