David Gooblar offers some unexpected advice for getting students to invest time and effort into writing rough drafts. In his article “Making Drafts Count,” he writes, “Don’t be hamstrung by an overly strict conception of what makes a draft. Rather than dry runs at the finished product, think of drafts as more like a series of projects that help students refine and improve their ideas along the way to the finish line. By making the invention process creative, we encourage students to take the components of that process seriously. And the more seriously that students treat their drafts, the more likely the process will be useful to them.”
– See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1150-making-drafts-count?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en&elq=7d15bb6c467140d6a3c0e7a28f012bfe&elqCampaignId=1571&elqaid=6489&elqat=1&elqTrackId=a5005e043aee48dab06fd3c5713fb01f#sthash.Ax10eZZL.dpuf”
What are the digital humanities, exactly? Read Jean Bauer’s excellent post “Baking Gingerbread, as a DH Project” for an accessible overview. Here’s a sneak peek:
“…my gingerbread was a Digital Humanities project. I didn’t design a database for this one, or write a single line of code, but that has never defined DH for me anyway. I did make ‘a thing.’ I made it using the resources I had available to me, lab procedure, tacit knowledge, and pre-built digital tools. I decided on the project in consultation with those it would most impact. But none of that makes it ‘DH’ either — at least not for me.
“What, IMHO, makes my gingerbread Digital Humanities, is that I made it thinking about the systems and structures that I participated in. This time I didn’t have a research question, I just had a goal. But I didn’t leave my training in history or information architecture at the door. I brought them with me. That doesn’t change the gingerbread. It should taste the same. But for me, DH is in the process, not the outcome.
“And I am sick and tired of people with strong technical skills sitting on their mountains and declaring that non-programmers can’t ‘do DH’ or that a certain project ‘isn’t real DH’ because it doesn’t meet some imaginary standard of DIY grit and sophistication, or that somehow becoming a more diverse community will mean lowering our standards.
“Digital Humanities needs both sides. It needs all sides. DH should be a conversation, a process, and a community.”
David Gooblar offers great advice on “Getting Them To Read Our Comments.”
In honor of Tim Clydesdale’s visit to campus today, I encourage you to read his 2009 article “Wake Up and Smell the New Epistemology.” To students’ skeptical question of “So What?” he advises to respond by modeling our own intellectual journeys and respecting students’ own path of discovery.
“We need to teach as if our students were colleagues from another department. That means determining what our colleagues may already know, building from that shared knowledge, adapting pre-existing analytic skills, then connecting those fledgling skills and knowledge to a deeper understanding of the discipline we love. In other words, we need to approach our classrooms as public intellectuals eager to share our insights graciously with a wide audience of fellow citizens.”
Janine Utell reminds us that “deep listening is critical thinking. Being conscious of listening, processing, and synthesizing what others are saying gives you a chance to reflect, make connections, retain information, and refine judgments.” Read more in her recent Chronicle article “Slowing Down: 6 Strategies for Deep Listening.”
Are you taking students to a first academic conference? Check out this Presentation Guide assembled for an upcoming conference in peer tutoring that gives the nuts and bolts of what to expect at a first conference presentation.
Thanks to Hannah Schell for sharing this article on “The Secret of Good Humanities Teaching.” Focusing on the value of rereading, it suggests that (from a former student’s point of view) his best professors “took texts that seemed complicated, made them look simple, and then made them complex again.”
Ben Yagoda offers advice on omitting the “superfluous, marginal, repetitive, tangential, and/or boring” from your writing, with inspiration from Strunk & White and John McPhee, in his article “In Search of Needless Words.”
In a recent paper on first-year reading and writing instruction, Meghan A. Sweeney and Maureen McBride use Mariolina Salvatori’s difficulty paper (similar to Peter Elbow’s text wrestling) to understand the disconnections students experience between writing instruction and assigned readings. “By learning to identify, explore, and resolve their difficulties,” they write, “Salvatori and Donahue propose that students are able to move into a more critical engagement with the texts and develop their understanding of reading and the content at the same time, or what many would refer to as metacognitive reading awareness” (592-93).
But, by reading texts rhetorically and critically, students also notice a disjunct between the “rules” they are held to as writers and the texts they engage–a “mismatch between the expectations of reader and writer” (595). For instance, students may be frustrated by readings that lack an easily identifiable thesis statement, topic sentences, transitions, chronological organization, clarity of language, and a works cited page.
To address this mismatch, the authors suggest that students “need to be told when the reading is not meant to act the same as their own writing and instead is designed to extend their critical or rhetorical reading practices” (608), whether it would be a model of a genre, a logical fallacy, a strategy to establish ethos, etc. In short, if an assigned reading doesn’t match what you want students to do as writers, explain why you want them to read it, and how they should engage it as both readers and writers.
Sweeney, Meghan A. and Maureen McBride. “Difficulty Paper (Dis)connections: Understanding the Threads Students Weave between Their Reading and Writing.” CCC 66:4 (June 2015).
Looking for some first-week-of-classes inspiration about teaching and learning? Check out My Teaching Notebook, a series of videos by Anthropologist Michael Wesch.