Everyone Should Teach ‘Freshman Comp’

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Sep 202013

What I’ve found is that returning to teaching a class as elemental as first-year writing has forced me into a state of greater mindfulness about writing in general, and my own writing in specific. When trying to consider how to best help my students learn and then internalize the principles and practices of effective writing, I’ve been forced to deconstruct my own approach to the task.

As a result, I’ve learned about as much as anyone. I’ve been reminded that writing isn’t something that “just happens” or is something that we’re naturally good (or bad) at. I’ve become much more conscious of audience, who I’m talking to and why, what I want them to walk away with from my writing.

~ John Warner @ Inside Higher Ed.

Lessons Learned From a Freshman-Composition MOOC

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Sep 192013

I don’t think any of us writing and communication instructors would rush to teach another MOOC soon. For now, the technology is lacking for courses in subject areas like writing, which have such strong qualitative evaluation requirements. Too often we found our pedagogical choices hindered by the course-delivery platform we were required to use, when we felt that the platform should serve the pedagogical requirements. Too many decisions about platform functionality seem to be arbitrary, or made by people who may be excellent programmers but, I suspect, have never been teachers. Despite the challenges, we all feel that being part of the early process of testing new pedagogical approaches was instructive and exciting.

via Lessons Learned From a Freshman-Composition MOOC – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

New faculty members and impostor syndrome

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Jul 152013

Hi folks. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far and getting plenty of reading and writing done (among other things… are there other things?). I encourage you all to feel free to post to the FYWP blog through the summer, and I’ll try to start posting some articles and resources I’ve spotted lately, too. Here’s one from Inside Higher Ed that may be or particular interest to those of you getting ready to teach for the first time this fall:

If there is a near-universal source of anxiety for newly minted Ph.D.s and newly appointed academics, it is the impostor syndrome, the lurking, sinking, throbbing feeling that they will soon be exposed for the intellectual and professional frauds that they sometimes suspect themselves of being.  If you too sometimes find yourself faced with the self-doubt of impostor syndrome, you aren’t alone. Such feelings typically begin in graduate school, which provides no shortage of opportunities for self-doubt, and come to a boil in the first year(s) of an individual’s first tenure-track appointment.


Guest Speakers: Web 2.0

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Feb 062013

Dearest FYWP Instructors,

3. Skype – Never fails. Works the same as Google Hangout, but not effective with multiple users/speakers simultaneously. 

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line via email. I’m glad to help or assist. And if you need some guest speakers, let me know. I can reach into my bag of friends to help you all out.



The End of the Community College English Profession

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Dec 302012

Within the next twenty years the community college English profession will look like this: 95 percent (or more) of the “English” faculty—I put English in quotes because even now not all writing faculty teach in English departments—will be part-time, and as I argue above, most will be teaching online delivering a prepackaged curricula. At this point, “English” will truly be a “service” department and English courses service courses. “Teaching” writing will exist for the sole purpose of giving students the practical skills, the mechanical processes (for example, where to put a comma), necessary to perform in the service of corporate America. After all, the message we hear over and over again from the business community is that their current employees write poorly and that we must train our students—their future workers—to learn to write well. In this context, however, learning to write involves preparing students for work and never concerns empowering them with respect to their own agency. What’s never discussed is the idea that our students should learn to write for any other purpose—for example, “to tell each other the story of ourselves, of what it is like to be who we are, to think the things we think. To live the lives we live” (Orlean xviii). That is, the only value a writing course will have is an economic one. It will no longer have any personal or social value.

~ Keith Kroll, “The End of the Community College English Profession,” (PDF)

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