Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook

Facebook has no financial incentive to care whether the links we click on point to quality journalism, a silly “Which pop culture figure are you” poll, a basically true story with a sensationalized or misleading headline, pictures from a friend’s vacation, or a completely fabricated work of propaganda. When I work with my handheld or tablet, it’s a pain to get the URL of a story I find on Facebook.…

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Bad Writing Costs Businesses Billions

This is thinkpiece rehtoric rather than an objectively measured result. It’s attractive to me because it supplies statistics that might help me sway the opinions of my students; I think they would be better off if they believed this, too, and if they shared this belief, our interactions would be less stressful and (I hope) more productive. But the solution isn’t as simple as hiring better writers, or putting more…

Take my feedback if you want to pass.

As my students in a compressed online course start writing a term paper, I ponder the importance of feedback. I can’t force them to read it, but I do intend to give it. Should they choose to ignore it, I simply have to evaluate their work fairly and, if they ask for an explanation, encourage them to go back and read the feedback I’ve already given. From my perspective, I can…

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English Is the Language of Science. That Isn’t Always a Good Thing

English speakers tend to assume that all the important research is published in English. More than half of the non-English papers observed in this study had no English title, abstract or keywords, making them all but invisible to most scientists doing database searches in English. […] This problem is a two-way street Not only does the larger scientific community miss out on research published in non-English languages. But the dominance of…

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Imma Let You Integrate Quotations

In the poem “Imma Let You Integrate Quotations!” by Melvin Middleschool-Writer, it talks about a writing style that wastes words. “Those long quotations, dropping awkward into the essay / Hijack your thoughts / Like a Kanye who graciously accepts a microphone from Taylor Swift  / So he can confidently mansplain it all.” This quote means that students who interrupt their own essays  with a lengthy, not-contextualized quoted passage, and then follow that quote with a separate sentence…

Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry

There’s never enough time to cover Emily Dickinson in an AmLit survey course. Only ten of her poems were published in her lifetime, all anonymously; publication was, as she put it, as “foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin.” Not that she intended her poems to go unread—she often sent them in letters to friends, sometimes with other enclosures: dried flowers, a three-cent stamp, a dead cricket. She also…