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Update: Due Week Results

Before the semester began, I wrote about my resolution to improve response times on student work by assigning due weeks and having students sign up for their due dates within the weeks, rather than having a set due date for the entire class. Last week I wrote about building revision into the syllabus, which wasContinue reading “Update: Due Week Results”

Building Revision Into the Syllabus

Muriel Harris usefully posited the notion of “one-draft writers” and “multi-draft writers” in 1989. For anything less than a novel, I tend to be a “one-drafter”, meaning that I resist revision because I do most of my deep revision on the planning end of things. My outlines are basically my first drafts, and by theContinue reading “Building Revision Into the Syllabus”

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”

I Asked My Students What Makes Good Writing. This Is What I Learned.

Yesterday, I opened class by asking my students what makes writing good. I’m not entirely surprised by the results that I got, but they are telling. I expected every section to mention description, but only three out of four did. The odd one out did mention world-building, though, so perhaps description is still represented. ButContinue reading “I Asked My Students What Makes Good Writing. This Is What I Learned.”

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”

New Semester’s Resolutions: Faster Feedback for Students (Spring 2020)

I don’t usually do New Year’s Resolutions (this year is a slight exception), but I do do New Semester’s Resolutions. I like the rhythm of fresh starts so regularly in academia . So let’s talk New Semester’s Resolutions this semester, Spring 2020. First, the philosophy of New Semester’s Resolutions: as teachers (and when we wereContinue reading “New Semester’s Resolutions: Faster Feedback for Students (Spring 2020)”

Finals Week Reminders for Teachers

Many of us are in finals week right now, or just coming off finals, or just entering them, right now. And we could all use a few reminders at this time when our brains feel like they’re in a pressure cooker, when we’re numbly doing that math of “If it takes me X minutes toContinue reading “Finals Week Reminders for Teachers”

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”