Perceiving Academic Journals

I started college in 2005, just at the cusp of learning management systems; things like Blackboard were in use, but most courses still had physical syllabi passed out on day one, and most assignments were still printed out on paper and handed in physically. In the same way, online journals were increasingly popular at theContinue reading “Perceiving Academic Journals”

Flexible Deadlines Are Awesome

Since I started experimenting with penalty-free flexible deadlines, which was shortly before the pandemic (good timing on that one!), the regular question I’ve gotten was how to avoid the work piling up when students inevitably turn in lots of late work. The answer is actually that the flexible deadlines prevent grading from piling up ratherContinue reading “Flexible Deadlines Are Awesome”

Rethinking How We Teach Paraphrasing

When you teach a course on writing research, of course you do a lot of work with source handling. I suspect that most of us were taught summary, paraphrase, and quotation as a set, and many of us were given exercises that drilled us to do each of these things with a source on command.Continue reading “Rethinking How We Teach Paraphrasing”

Building Plot: The Power of Yes

When I had been writing fiction in earnest for about two or three years, I was doing some revision when I noticed a pattern: my characters said “no” a lot in dialogue. It ranged from quiet “no”s to big, dramatic, Luke-finding-out-who-his-father-is “NOOOOooooo”s. I mean, I was a middle schooler at the time, and my writingContinue reading “Building Plot: The Power of Yes”

How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers

Almost every fiction writer has heard “kill your darlings” and “show don’t tell.” These pithy sayings get repeated so much that they lose a lot of meaning and they’re frankly a little annoying, because they don’t really help writers know when to kill darlings, or which darlings to kill, or what to show and notContinue reading “How To Decide To Cut A Scene: A Heuristic for Writers”

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)”

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”

Academic Thanksgiving: We Love Librarians

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA, and for many of us it’s a tradition to name the things we’re grateful for. So today I want to name the group of people who are probably the most important part of academic work: librarians and archivists. We live in an age of easy information. Reasonable people can andContinue reading “Academic Thanksgiving: We Love Librarians”

Last Minute NaNoWriMo Post

It is, at the time of publishing this, October 31st. Not only is that Halloween (which is important for its own sake), it is also the day before National Novel Writing Month. At midnight, the writing may begin. This is the 20th year of NaNoWriMo, which started in 1999. It’s my 14th year. And IContinue reading “Last Minute NaNoWriMo Post”

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