The Future Is Fucked

The house was packed a week ago today, when physicist Michio Kaku visited LaGuardia. He came at the invitation of the NEH-funded faculty seminar at LaGuardia – Technology, Self, and Society. 1 Students were engaged by  his presentation, and there were long lines up the aisles of the auditorium to ask him questions (equally long were the lines for selfies and book-signings afterwards). This event was clearly a conversation starter, and Dr. Kaku gave our school community a lot to think (and talk) about. It was an important visit.

However. At one point during his talk, Dr. Kaku referred to a future where “perfect capitalism” exists – where consumers can custom order any item (his example was clothing) to be tailor-fit to their digitally stored body measurements.… Read more

Notes:

  1. Friend and colleague Dr. Naomi Stubbs brought this grant to our campus. This is my second year as part of the seminar, and it has been a wonderful venue for exchanging ideas – both in terms of my own scholarship and my teaching.

Online Discussions Using Slack

Later today, I will be sharing some of the challenges of discussion forums in a presentation at LaGuardia as part of the Center for Teaching and Learning’s mini-seminar series on Engaging Web 2.0 Resources & Technologies (slides for the talk are at the bottom of this post). Discussion boards are something I have struggled with quite a bit over the years: I only recently came to terms with online discussions, mainly because I found a tool – the chat platform Slack – and a structure that seems to encourage the kind of student-driven conversations I was aiming for.… Read more

The End of the World As We Know It; Or, My Post-Apocalyptic Lit/Comp II Class

Yesterday, a small team of faculty in our department spent four very productive hours, fueled by coffee and mini-Creme Brulee confections from Doughnut Plant, workshopping our hybrid syllabi and assignments for the spring. We applied for and received a generous grant from LaGuardia’s Center for Teaching & Learning to work on our hybrid program this year, and a group of us are working more closely on hybrid course design and further program development.

This is my first time teaching ENG 102: Writing Through Literature – our second-level composition class – as a hybrid. I taught the course around post-apocalyptic lit last year, but I’m overhauling it now both in terms of content (while keeping the post-apocalyptic theme) and design for hybrid delivery.… Read more

The Ways in Which Indiana Jones Lied to Me About What My Life as a Professor Would Look Like

indy-map

 

Yeah, I’m headed off to southern Illinois tomorrow for an archive trip. I’m staying at the Best Western Saluki Inn. There’s no wifi in the rooms. It’s right next to a Buffalo Wild Wings. Where does Indy go? Peru. Nepal. India. Egypt. Hangs in castles and temples. Crashes in beautiful hotels in Venice. My most exciting research trip to date? Gettysburg, so I could sweat my ass off during an incredibly humid July while watching a bunch of men run around in wool costumes and play with fake guns.… Read more

Capstone Class: Digital Media Projects

For their culminating project, students in my Humanism, Science, and Technology class were asked to create some kind of creative digital media project that touched on our class themes. LIB 200 is the capstone class for Liberal Arts majors at LaGuardia, and our section focused specifically on AI in sci-fi films and TV shows. The students embraced the challenge, and I wanted to take a moment to show off their fabulous work. Working individually or in groups, they first pitched a proposal to the class – getting feedback and crowd-sourcing ideas. Next, they drafted a design plan (which included a research narrative), and then executed the project.… Read more

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 failures almost immediately with colleagues (typically over a shared bottle of wine, because I’m pretty sure this is the best way to discuss failure).… 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!… Read more

Reacting to the Past/Learning Community 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 Higbee and James Brewer Stewart. … 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 arose.… Read more

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

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 engaged with the debates surrounding technology and artificial intelligence.… Read more