Shakespeare on Eclipses

Prepping for tomorrow’s first meeting of my Shakespeare class. In 1598, during Shakespeare’s lifetime, England experienced a total solar eclipse, with the path of totality tracking from Cornwall in the southwest up to Aberdeen in Scotland. As we in the twenty-first century prepare for the Great American Eclipse on Aug 21, let’s look at three of the ways Shakespeare used eclipses in his plays and poems: 1. An eclipse as an ill…

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College Instructors Don’t Require Enough Writing

I was surprised a few years ago to learn during a curriculum design meeting that I was the only faculty member in the room to require a 20-page paper. When I took a 300-level Shakespeare course as an undergraduate, we read one play a week and were expected to write a 10-page research paper every other week. So when I started teaching a 300-level Shakespeare, I thought I was going…

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Any Interaction with a Service Dog Is Distracting

The director of our counseling and accommodations office sent out a Word document with tips on how to interact with service animals. (Basically, ignore the animal, who is busy working. You can silently push the “door open” button if you see a person and service animal approaching the door, but don’t expect the person to take time to indulge your desire to play with or talk about the animal.) I…

The Distracted Classroom: Transparency, Autonomy, and Pedagogy

I don’t ban technology in my classroom, even though I know some students can’t manage the potential distraction. (An early assignment in my freshman writing class demonstrates that multitasking is a lie — we can only pay attention to one thing at a time,,and though we can do something routine like fold laundry while also watching TV, we stop watching TV if we lose a sock, and we stop folding…

Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting

I’ve been contacted by editors who would just love for me to publish in international relations journals (I’m trained as an American literature specialist), or write a textbook on pretty much any topic I suggest. I’ve also seen my own web pages reproduced word-for-word, except for the removal of my name, in books other people have listed on their academic resumes. It’s very frustrating for students who find what appears…