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The Future of Academic Style: Why Citations Still Matter in the Age of Google

Looking forward to getting my copy of the MLA Handbook 8th edition, so I can update all my teaching resources. Meanwhile, here’s some good context for why it matters that the MLA is (finally) updating its guidelines. Writers need to know how to cite an ebook, how to cite a tweet, how to cite an Instagram image, how to cite — no, seriously, my office actually received this inquiry —…

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Remember That Class Assignment I Hated? The One That Landed Me My Dream Job?

ME (a couple years ago): Okay, students. Get your iPads, go out there and record some interviews, edit them into a news story, and uplead it to YouTube. STUDENTS: … ME: You have 50 minutes. STUDENTS: … (Time: the present.) ONE OF THOSE FORMER STUDENTS (by email): I just accepted my first full-time job with vacation and benefits… for a position where I will be this company’s voice for their weekly…

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Small Changes in Teaching: The Last 5 Minutes of Class

I just ordered the book Lang mentions in this article. In my experience — having observed many dozens of college courses over the past two decades — most faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit, or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as…

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Rubric for the Rubric Concerning Students’ Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books and Writing About Them.

Sadly, this only barely counts as satire. The Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books and Writing About Them requires that students demonstrate “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills, but please note that this kind of cleverness should only be encouraged with regards to literary books. Aspects of life to which “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills should not be applied are outlined in attachment 5, addendum 4.8.9.70. —McSweeney’s…

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Simon Newman Resigns as President of Mount St. Mary’s

Simon P. Newman resigned on Monday evening as president of Mount St. Mary’s University, capping a weeks-long furor over a controversial freshman-retention plan that focused national attention on the Roman Catholic college in rural Maryland. Mr. Newman, a former private-equity chief executive, incited a backlash by using a clumsy “drown the bunnies” analogy in reference to at-risk students. His comments, which first emerged in the college’s student newspaper, quickly drew…

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Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your Topic and Position; Grab the Reader’s Interest If You Can

An effective research paper title will identify the limited subject of the essay, and the position the paper takes on the subject. It may also be useful to grab the reader’s interest with a brief quote or detail, but if your goal is to persuade your reader, your title will also need to inform. Your title is your first opportunity to persuade your reader. Don’t waste it. —Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your…

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High School Poems in a College Writing Workshop

Poems that you wrote in high school to celebrate a first love, work through a painful breakup, or say goodbye to friends at graduation may be of extreme personal value to you; but if such poems are historical artifacts — if you value them as definitive records of the way you felt at that time — they won’t work terribly well as submissions for college writing classes, since most professors…