On Their Last Day, Student Newspaper Editors Cover a Shooting on Their Campus

THREE HOURS BEFORE A SHOOTING WAS FIRST REPORTED on University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s campus, Alexandria Sands tweeted that she was “officially a retired college newspaper editor. Thank you for letting me tell your stories, #UNCC.” At around 5:42 p.m., as she was sitting in the last class of her college career, she saw a message in a group chat for the Niner Times’ college newspaper staff. “There’s a shooter on campus in…

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The Ongoing Obsession with Shakespeare’s True Identity

I’ve never been all too keen on Shakespeare authorship conspiracy theories, and I find students often get distracted by their belief that the default way to get the “right answer” about literature is to look for connections between the author’s life and the author’s work. For example, I was disinterested in “Shakespeare in Love” because it depicted Will’s creative genius as if it were held hostage to events in his…

“You can concentrate the history of all mankind into the evolution of flax, cotton, and wool fibers into clothing,” asserted Dewey. He described a class where students handled wool and cotton. As they discovered how hard it was to separate seeds from cotton, they came to understand why their ancestors wore woolen clothing. Working in groups to make models of the spinning jenny and the power loom, they learned cooperation.…

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Tell Me a Smart Story: On Podcasts, Videos, and Websites as Writing Assignments

It does take longer to evaluate student multimedia projects. I can understand the motive behind letting students do a shorter video or a longer audio project, but I’d rather let the students choose to go for depth or technical expertise, rather than automatically treating 10-15 minutes of video as if it’s the same as 45 minutes of audio. I’m actually in the middle of evaluating student media projects now, and…

4 Lessons From Moving a Face-to-Face Course Online

This fall, I’ve been asked to teach a Shakespeare class online. Here’s what Kevin Gannon wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education about moving an established course to cyberspace. As I looked at the class — an upper-level U.S. history seminar — and began to think about how I would teach it online, my heart sank. How was I going to preserve what I thought was most essential — the…

I’m Gradually Losing My Hearing. (It’s Part of Aging.)

During a department meeting today, I noticed I was feeling very disengaged. I was having trouble following what my colleges were saying, unless They were speaking one at a time They were projecting (no sotto voce or vocal fry) I could could see their lips. I could usually get by with 2 of the 3, but only sometimes with 1 out of 3. I found myself scrolling through emails and…