Reacting to the Past/Learning Community Syllabus

Douglass syllabus

Learning CommunityThis semester I’ll be participating in 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.)

design plan prezi

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 arose.… 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 directly … 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 the … 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 minutes … 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 prioritized … 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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Technology, Self, & Society – NEH Seminar @ LaGuardia

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.42.10 AM

I am one of ten faculty fellows participating in an NEH-funded seminar on Technology, Self, and Society at LaGuardia. Today we’ll have the first meeting where we delve into the material  – we are responding to Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together. While reading Turkle I was also hearing Cathy Davidson’s remarks during our Opening Sessions. I found Davidson’s talk particularly engaging and important, especially as an educator at a community college. In my mind, we should be thinking of ways to use technology and social media to enhance collaborative and democratic practices in our classrooms rather than eschewing it … Read more

Contract Grading


As I prepped for the fall, I wanted to give students more agency in the grading process. And I wanted to clarify what college means for some of the first-year students who are grappling with the new academic venue. Without fail, at least a few students in each of my comp sections asks if they can miss a class, or step out, or leave early for whatever reason. It is not a moment where they are alerting me to their absence  – they are asking permission. Some of this is indicative the high school mentality and lack of college-preparedness … Read more