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”

Writing Is Social

We all know the stereotypes of the writer: the introvert with cats hiding away with coffee and alcohol, scribbling away in a notebook (ok, minus the coffee and wine, it’s true for me). “Writing is a lonely profession,” people say. We see it as a soloistic endeavor: the grand aloof maestro spinning mesmerizing tales outContinue reading “Writing Is Social”

What I Miss From Last Semester’s Contract Grading Experiment

Last semester I tried to finally make the hard switch to contract grading, motivated by a number of reasons. My motivations were good, and my policies had been gradually trending that way anyway, but (as I have explained before) the experiment didn’t go well, with a much higher fail rate than I’m used to seeingContinue reading “What I Miss From Last Semester’s Contract Grading Experiment”

Promoting Student Choice

When I was a graduate student, I routinely had two sections of the same class. As a rule I generally kept them on the same syllabus and schedule, and I still do that now that I have four sections of the same class most semesters. It makes less work for me and lets me focusContinue reading “Promoting Student Choice”

Whom Do You Write For?

One of the hardest questions that authors get asked perhaps too seldom is “Who are you writing for?” It’s also, perhaps, the most important. More important even than “Why are you writing?” or “What are you writing?” Writing without an audience just doesn’t work. The audience completes the text, you see. Sure, the author mayContinue reading “Whom Do You Write For?”

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”

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”

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