Enjoying my “Dystopia in American Literature” class.

After a kind of prelude in which we looked at Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” as proto-dystopias, my “Dystopia in American Literature” class looked at Jack London’s post-apocalyptic “The Scarlet Plague” last week. Because it’s an online class that never meets face-to-face, I’ve been posting regular 15-20m context lectures, in order to convey the kind of background info that I would ordinarily just slip…

Student: “Just wanted to let you know that your class has benefited me outside of just literature studies and thank you.”

In my online class on literary dystopia, I am asking students to post one-minute podcasts to share with each other, so the class doesn’t feel so lonely. About half of the students chose to do audio recordings, and half chose videos. While this isn’t a media production course, I am still giving tips on eye contact, lighting, and vocal delivery. A student just sent me this note, which I’m reproducing with…

In 2019, I have a college student who annotates readings like this!

I asked students in my online “Dystopia in American Literature” class to demonstrate “whylighting” — not just highlighting a passage, but adding a note explaining why it’s worth noticing. If this were an in-person classroom, I’d just walk around the room and glance over their shoulders to confirm that they’re dong the work. In this online class, I asked students to post screenshots and a brief reflection. Students who aren’t…

What would holidays be without Dickens’ beloved ‘Christmas Carol?’

It takes some visits from three scary spirits on Christmas Eve, who lead him through his Past, Present and Future, to convince him to mend his ways. Scrooge recognizes his faults and greets Christmas morning with a cheerful “Happy Christmas” before spending the day reconnecting and sharing love with those who mean the most to him. As we all know, it all works out in the end and Tiny Tim…