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20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get

I expect my English majors not to balk when I ask them to learn new software. One good way to learn is to shadow someone who already knows it well. Even better, work with a classmate who’s just a step or two ahead — that way they can both learn together. In my “News Writing” class, I deliberately didn’t spend a whole week introducing students to InDesign. I could have…


‘Because’ has become a preposition, because grammar

The construction is more versatile than “because+noun” suggests. Prepositional because can be yoked to verbs (Can’t talk now because cooking), adjectives (making up examples because lazy), interjections (Because yay!), and maybe adverbs too, though in strings like Because honestly., the adverb is functioning more as an exclamation. The resulting phrases are all similarly succinct and expressive. –Sentence first.

Enter Cave

Writing, Coding and Education: Why They Matter

Back in my grad school days, I was called a “run-of-the-mill programmer” by a brilliant IT genius. For a guy whose only computer coursework consists of a Pascal class in high school (“taught” by a math teacher who didn’t know the language, and checked my answers against those in the teacher’s manual), I still consider that high praise. There’s no way I could compete, head-to-head, against an experienced programmer, but…

William Shakespeare (Portrait)

Henry V Fans: Today is St Crispin’s Day

King Henry rallies his troops just before the decisive Battle of Agincourt. From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d…

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Digital Storytelling (EL231: Topics in Creative Writing)

EL231 “Digital Storytelling” (Dec 18-Jan 22) Unit 1 (Dec 18-22) mostly experiencing digital stories (reading, watching, listening, playing, whatever), and reading articles & discussing them online. (We take a break Dec 23-Jan 1: no classes, no homework.) Unit 2 (Jan 2-7) trying out 4-5 tools for creating digital stories, and learning two in a little more detail. Unit 3 (Jan 8-14) planning and creating your own original digital story. Unit…


Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman tells us why books matter: When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you…