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I Never Would Have Guessed I Would Be Able to Complete a Close Reading

I started my American Literature class by assigning students to listen to 40-minute audio lectures that provided context and walked them through the literary texts we were to discuss in class. As the semester drew on, I had students write podcasts to introduce texts to each other, and by the end of term I was asking students to read scholarly articles in which literary scholars aren’t introducing the texts to…

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This Is How My Composition & Culture Class Preps an Oral Presentation

Instead of delivering a formal speech for my approval, my students are off in groups, listening to each other. I should note that I don’t let all my students go off like all semester long. They’ve worked hard to get to the point where they know what they need to do, and they are ready to be critical and supportive peer audiences. A healthy democracy is full of people who…

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UVA administrator awarded $3M in Rolling Stone case

Jurors awarded a University of Virginia administrator $3 million Monday for her portrayal in a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article about the school’s handling of a brutal gang rape a fraternity house. The 10-member jury’s decision came after they concluded Friday that the magazine, its publisher and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely were responsible for defamation, with actual malice, of former associate dean of students Nicole Eramo in the 2014 story…

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Things I will tell my kids if they become entrepreneurs

Lots of good live advice in these slides. My favorite applies to taking risks of all sorts. When my students ask me “what should I pick for my topic” or “what do you want me to write about?” they are not thinking of how much they will learn by coming up with their own topic on their own — even if that means making several midcourse corrections. The whole slide…

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Kristin and Haley’s Discussion on Poe’s “The Raven”

I gave my literature students 30 minutes to come up with a 3-minute podcast in which they demonstrated their ability to have an evidence-based disagreement over The Raven. In the past, at this point in the semester I simply had students record themselves reading a poem, but I decided to get more ambitious this time. While all students turned in a great product, and most students loved the challenge, there…

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Practicing Intellectual, Evidence-based Disagreement

This is what a busy literature seminar on evidence-based disagreement looks like. I’ve asked the students to pair up to create a 2-3-minute podcast that demonstrates they can participate in a respectful, evidence-based disagreement over Poe’s “The Raven.” I asked each student to introduce the other student’s position, and to do so respectfully, without caricaturing or demeaning the ignorant or evil jerks whose opinions or values or life experiences dare…