Back in the MLA

As the humanities decline in the United States, the country is losing the craft of understanding, losing its capacity for citizenship. Even educated people are increasingly unable and unwilling to distinguish between fake and real information, becoming a community that cannot understand itself as anything more than a circulation of figures. Self-righteousness takes the place of substantive discussion. Narcissism and outrage become the dominant techniques of self-definition. And the cure…

Myths about “Learning Styles Persist in Society

I first heard the formalized theories about “learning styles” as a junior faculty member, at a faculty workshop. I didn’t build my whole pedagogy around it, but it was one of the things I thought about, especially in the context of encouraging students to take intellectual risks with multimodal student projects (rather than just fun using their tools in the way they were accustomed to using them). Many people, including…

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…

“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…