AmLit Rescue — Scratch Game

A student in my “American Literature: 1915-Present” class used the medium of a 2D graphic adventure game to deliver her multimodal final project. (Students also wrote a traditional term paper.) You are the cameraman of a new TV show based on Thornton Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.” But things quickly go downhill when a mysterious criminal shows up and takes over the set. Unexpected faces and scenarios appear at…

Updating a handout I originally wrote in 1998. #tech #writing

A mechanism description analyzes (that is, subdivides into components for further scrutiny) an object in space. When you try to organize your major subsections, if no other obvious pattern seems appropriate, you can always fall back on the more-important-to-less-important strategy. Don’t sell the object. A technical writer is not required to persuade the reader that the object is wonderful, or valuable, or scary. But do mention the details. While you shouldn’t say an object…

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First page of a student’s Texture project. (This made me laugh.)

This clever freshman writing student created a project in Texture, which is designed for branching narratives (such as the Choose Your Own Adventure stories). In the next few screens, he put up nodes showing older and more recent writing samples, asked me to choose which one showed the better writing technique, and gave me feedback on my answers. Very clever!

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Commentary: What My Struggling Students Wanted Me to Understand

I haven’t taught a developmental course at SHU, but when I teach freshman writing, I often encounter students who struggle with the transition from high school to college writing. Those who were praised all their lives as good writers can tell good personal stories, and they can deploy accurate summaries of non-controversial, “correct” facts. I give them free reign to pick any topic they wish, asking them to demonstrate their ability…

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6 Problems with our School System

I spend a lot of time re-educating my students, assuring them that my job as a college professor is not to give them a checklist, and then award points for each item they ticked off correctly; nor is my job to teach to a test. Shortly after I started teaching in my current job, a student in a literature class nearly had a meltdown when she learned the final exam…