When Things Go Horribly Wrong

Ok, I will admit – this title seems like clickbait (in that a grand total of two more people than the usual five might read this). But I realized that this blog tends to present a rosy or optimistic depiction of my teaching. The constant self-reflection (mostly highly critical) and the failed attempts do not make their way into these posts as often as they probably should. This is probably a result of several things: a sense of self-preservation, the omni-present imposter syndrome academics tend to suffer from, and the fact that I tend to dissect and discuss the … Read more

Humanism, Science, and Technology Class-Generated Survey

Students in my Humanism, Science, and Technology capstone class – LIB 200 – generated a survey to gather data and opinions related to topics/discussions that have come up during our meetings (or virtually in our Slack chat forum). As I wrote about a bit earlier, our section is looking at Artificial Intelligence in sci-fi films and tv shows, and considering some of the current debates around AI development. Please fill out this short survey to help us out – thanks!


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Reacting to the Past/Learning Community Syllabus

Douglass syllabus

This semester I’ll be facilitating my first learning community at LaGuardia: the cluster for first-year students is typically an interdisciplinary grouping of courses, including both composition and a research paper class (ENG 101 & 103) and two other content courses, with one shared co-taught hour (I’m responsible for the ENG classes, clearly). I proposed a learning community entitled “Reacting to the Past: Race, Violence, and US History,” with antebellum US history and public speaking courses. These classes seemed like a natural grouping for the Reacting to the Past game Frederick Douglass, Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Constitution: 1845  by Mark … Read more

Podcast Assignment (Part 3 of 3…I think.)

Several composition students from my spring class generously gave me permission to post their final products as models for other students and faculty members. As mentioned in prior posts (one on the initial “riff” assignment, the other with materials on the final project), students generated design plans – which included research narratives – to plot out their recordings. A few were surprised that their findings in interviews did not always support their initial projections: I would make sure and include a more reflective post-podcast assignment in the future, so students could respond to any unforeseen circumstances that … Read more

AI & Sci-Fi: Fall 2015 syllabus for Humanism, Science, and Technology

"Albert-Cuyp Family with Robot" by David Blackwell. Available on Flickr.

Faculty are given a lot of latitude when developing our sections for the liberal arts capstone class at LaGuardia, Humanism, Science, and Technology. The original impetus for this class was that I really, really wanted an excuse to teach the Battlestar Galactica reboot; that, and the theme dovetails with the NEH faculty seminar I was part of last year and will join again this coming year, Technology, Self, and Society. It pains me to say this, but BSG did not make the final cut: there were so many other excellent sci-fi films/shows suggested by colleagues and friends that more … Read more

Podcast Assignment (Part 2 of ?)

Podcast Prezi

The first round of podcasts from my composition class – reflections on at least one text from our class readings – were impressive. I learned a lot about my students: personal and background information that touched upon our class themes/topics, interpretations and connections with texts that had not come out in class, and the beginnings (for some) of larger projects. The second round of podcasts is more argument- and research-driven; students have to articulate a thesis, use research (including at least one scholarly source) to make their case, and conduct interviews. We informally called the first round of podcasts … Read more

Podcast Assignment (Part 1 of ?)


As I mentioned here recently, my composition students will be preparing two rounds of podcasts this semester. They are recording their first podcasts tomorrow, and – based on some of the ideas they were bouncing around in class yesterday – I’m looking forward to the results. Several colleagues expressed interest in the assignment, so I thought I’d quickly create a repository for the methods/materials I’m using. Fair warning: this is all still very much in development.

The first podcast assignment can be made collaboratively or as a solo recording, and I set the minimum time limit as 3 … Read more

Kicking Off the New Semester: Grading Contracts (Part II), Portfolios, Podcasts, & the End of the World

ENG 101 image

We’re almost through the first week of classes at LaGuardia. I’ve tweaked some old things, rolled out some new things, and based upon the insights/connections students are making in our initial meetings, I think a lot of great work is going to happen this semester. 1 I spent some time during the winter break thinking about the grading contract I used during the fall. While the grading contract was an improvement (in my mind) on my older grading practices – and I think it made things more transparent in general – the act of revision was still not … Read more

Class Reading/Viewing/Listening List: Race, #BlackLivesMatter, & Exclusion


On December 19th I attended a panel called Teaching #BlackLivesMatter: Countering the Pedagogies of Anti-Black Racism at the Graduate Center, co-sponsored by Revolutionizing American Studies and the Advanced Research Collaborative. Several faculty members at the Graduate Center and from the area spoke (Kandice Chuh, Eric Lott, Nicole R. Fleetwood, Anthony Alessandrini) and a few GC doctoral students shared their thoughts as well (Laurel Mei Turbin, Kristina Huang, and Sean Kennedy). The GoogleDoc Collaborative Syllabus that started in anticipation of the event provides many ideas/links, including  “The Ferguson Theatre Syllabus” from the American Theatre site. Attendees added to both the … Read more

Teaching Comics Workshop

Below are the Prezi and the Zotero collection I prepared for the Teaching Comics workshop in the English department today, sponsored by the Composition & Research Committee at LaGuardia Community College. More resources can be easily added, so feel free to make suggestions.


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