Digital literacy is different from print literacy. How do we balance the trade-off?

My job includes teaching students to read long, complex texts (novels, play scripts, and academic texts.) My job also includes asking students to write researched essays that are longer documents than many of them at first seem comfortable reading. Years after they graduate, students often thank me for what I’ve taught them, and say the effort was all worth it. Buoyed by that feedback, it would be an easy thing for…

C.S. Lewis: “On the Reading of Old Books”

Gearing up for teaching a new “American Lit 1776-Present” course. I’ll be at the office, sitting at my desk all day, wearing long pants instead of shorts. Not a screw gun or a stage platform or a digital camera within reach. This essay offers some well-phrased arguments for reading classic literature. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were…

Portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, biting his lips as if pensive or nervous.

 The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley

Because what he never managed to grok then was that the company he created was destined to become a template for all of humanity, the digital reflection of masses of people across the globe. Including — and especially — the bad ones. Was it because he was a computer major who left college early and did not attend enough humanities courses that might have alerted him to the uglier aspects…

Illustration of glowing chain links in a shovel of dirt.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader

This fascinating essay, by the grandchild of a Nigerian slave trader, explores a complex cultural legacy. At least as provocative as “Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?” and the stunning, bitter “Molasses to Rum (to Slaves)” from the otherwise cheery musical 1776. African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from…

Perspective | After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press

I have always taken a neutral stance in my journalism classes, modeling the objective nature of reporting the news “without fear or favor.” I shall continue to uphold reporting designed to publish objective truth, and criticize and expose exaggeration, rumor, wishful thinking, and outright lies presented in the guise of truth.   This fall, I will tell my students that my role as their journalism instructor includes noting that one…