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Don’t Be Cruel

[M]angled syntax, disordered thinking, and frequent error happen to be hallmarks of a novice writer learning a new discourse. If we incorrectly assume they reflect a lack of effort or character — and base our feedback on that assumption — we do our students a disservice and risk inflicting real damage. | It takes enormous amounts of time and mental energy to craft substantive, constructive comments that will truly help students…

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Male Supporting Characters in Recent Disney Princess Films Dominate the Dialogue

The silly click-baity headline in the Washington Post says “Researchers have found a major problem” with Disney princesses films. I almost didn’t click on it — learned behavior after being burned by too many silly, low-value listicles (split up into 15 different pages). But the article is actually an interesting read. Starting with The Little Mermaid, Disney took greater care to make their princesses more active, but they still do…

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Facebook Ad Refreshes Interrupt the Composition Process

So I’m trying to edit a Facebook status, and every minute or so, when the ads on the right side of my screen refresh, and the cursor disappears from the editing area, I have to take my fingers off the keyboard (I’m using Chrome for iPad, with an after-market add-on keyboard) and tap the window to restore the browser’s focus. How depressing. Facebook’s interface is fighting against my intention to…

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Breaking: Student consults syllabus before asking question about course schedule

NASHVILLE, TN – Vanderbilt University is currently under lock down after a student reportedly consulted his syllabus before asking a question about the course schedule. At least one Associate Professor is in serious condition after going into shock, and several other professor have suffered mild fainting episodes. Police have been able to confirm that Jose Gomez, a junior at Vanderbilt, had raised his hand during the first meeting of History…

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When Students Won’t Do the Reading

Reading this story from IHE recalled my undergraduate class with Austin Quigley (then the chair of the U.Va. English department), who had us write about the newly-published Stoppard play Hapgood. This was in about 1989 or 90, so it was not possible to Google for a plot summary. Even looking up contemporary reviews would have meant a trip to the library microfilm reader. On the day we were to discuss the play — the…