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‘Twelfth Night’ is a Shakespearean hoot, and Prime Stage actors Carolyn Jerz, Malcolm MacKenzie, and Dana Babal have their hootin’ duds on. (photo courtesy of Prime Stage Theatre)

Why is Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night enjoying a new wave of popularity? Perhaps real life has become so bizarre that no contemporary comedy can match it, so we have to go back 417 years to find one. Anyhow, the play has been turning up on schedules regularly, and now Pittsburgh’s Prime Stage Theatre is doing Twelfth Night. This comedy has it all: shipwrecked twins, Sir Toby Belch (“Dost thou think because thou art virtuous,…

“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…