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…

Consciousness: Where Are Words?

Words, words, words. With the advent of the stream of consciousness in twentieth-century literature, it has come to seem that the self is very much a thing made of words, a verbal construction forever narrating itself and reconstituting itself in language. In line with the dominant, internalist view of consciousness, it is assumed that this all takes place in the brain—specifically, two parts known as Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area…

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Mentoring skills, communication/listening, empathy, critical thinking define successful employees in Google self-study. (STEM knowlege? Not as important.)

A Google self-study found that its own most successful employees had soft skills, such as mentoring ability, empathy, and critical thinking and problem-solving. “Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer,” according to the Washington Post. [A]mong the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google…

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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…