Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More on myspace and teaching

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Literary Social Networking

Sarah pointed me to this entry on (Emory alum) Jason Jones's blog. This strikes me as a fantastic idea, particularly in light of conversations about 'meeting students where they are' and implementing the technology we know they are using.

So, I wanted to share the idea, but I also wondered if anyone has thoughts about implementation. Does it seem more useful to ask students to do this with fictional characters or with authors? The creation of a social network for a group of historically-distant authors seems, to me, an interesting way to work on the idea of a literary culture. Similarly, forcing characters (from different texts?) into "conversation" with each other seems provocative, if artificial. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

MLA interview parodies

It says something about the self-obsession of academics that someone would produce this.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

College presidents who blog

Monday, November 20, 2006

Academic presentations, zen and not

We talked a lot about presentations and presentation style, this is a post from a medieval historian about conference presentations that's worth reading.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Google Calendar

Do people use Google Calendar in our department? If so, would it be worthwhile to create a google calendar for department events? I was searching public calendars and noticed that several Emory organizations, including PSP, Physics, ILA and Centers for Instructional Technology (obviously!), have their events here for public sharing. I thought that this might be worthwhile to do if enough people were using this feature of Google.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Blogging and pseduoanonymity

We were talking at some point during the workshop about blogs as a form of professional conversation and anonymity. There's a string of posts on the latter subject here, here, and here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Speaking of Wikis. . . .

Over the break at Christmas Wayne Morse and Shannon O'Daniel have agreed to sit down and teach me how to use a wiki. I want to experiment with it in my 205 Spring Semester. They also agreed to come to one of my classes and teach the students how to make entries. Let's see how this goes; if there is any interest, we can meet informally next semester and I will tell you what (if anything!) I have learned.

I plan to have the students define various genres of poetry, "fixed" forms with examples, etc. Instead of finding definitions in a handbook, I want them to create their own handbook. I have found too that the writing certainly improves if the students know they are reading and judging one another's work, so if for no other reason it will be valuable as a tool for teaching writing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How to spend more time in ECIT (and get paid for it)

Some of you may have heard of Emory College Online, an early-summer program that ECIT runs. The way it works is that a professor and a graduate student spend three weeks getting a course on-line, guided by the fabulous Wayne and Shannon. Both faculty and students receive a stipend.

In fact, Shannon and Wayne pointed out to me yesterday that all of you who just went through TLC would now make great people for a faculty member to pair with. But the application has to come from the faculty: you can't apply to this yourself.

So, in the coming weeks and months, you might consider putting a bug in the ear of an adviser or other member of the faculty. I actually did ECO once at the suggestion of a graduate student, and I would be even more likely to consider the suggestion if the graduate student had the kind of skills you all do. Think about it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Library fun

Somehow, I am serving on the Library Policy Committee this year, and so I was particularly amused by this post in which a professor details his relationship to libraries as a kind of intellectual autobiography. The questions he describes about the future of the library are live ones, though, esp. at Emory, where it is not clear where MARBL will be housed in the future.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I came across this essay about using hypertext in the classroom (it happens to be about teaching Victorian Literature specifically, but I think it translates for everyone). I think it offers a good case for asking students to think about and use hypertext. The author and others he cites use Storyspace, which seems like a really interesting program. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I was thinking it might be a really interesting thing to use in a class devoted to the intersections of literature and culture. If part of the goal of such a course is to ask students to consider the broader context of literature in a specific period - the ways it in which it relates to visual art, architecture, industry, science, etc - I think that hypertext might be an interesting way to get them to consider these relationships in the writing process. Hypertext would force a student to analyze each of the relevant cultural productions rather than simply mention them in relation to the literature under consideration.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thoughts on a Department Wiki

Brian and I spent the morning thinking about the potential English Department Wiki. Here are some thoughts:

Why Wiki?
A Wiki would put not static like the department website. Grad students and faculty could have access to make changes and update putting less pressure on administrative staff to update information, and keep up with us and what we’ve been doing.

Goal of the Department Wiki?
To promote community conversation regarding events, resources, procedure in an easily accessible medium. The Wiki would allow people to update this information keeping it relevant and timely (always with the option of archiving old information).

What purpose(s) would the Wiki serve? (in no particular order)
Events - Listserv only addresses people on list – wiki would be better place to advertise
Pedagogy – Use for individual classes (e.g Rushe 205)
Teaching – Place to post all things related to pedagogy
Recruitment – Shows interest in technology, collegiality and communication, gives less formal place to advertise ourselves to prospective students
Alumni – information, location, publications, etc to keep up to date with those who have gone before us
Loose Canons-like information on who’s doing what where etc.
Grad Student and Faculty Profiles – available for easy update
Job placement – resources, information, handouts, etc.
New books – Sandra Still can post
Grad Student Handbook Information – existing information with UPDATES as to changes in procedures (see this "survival guide" - )
Fellowship and Grant information – Resource for both internal and external funding opportunities

Any other thoughts?

Wikis at other Universitiies

Sarah Peterson found a great site that shows what universities are using wikis at the moment. Notable entries include Duke, Case Western, and the University of Florida. All three of these places use MediaWiki software, it appears, the same software that runs the Wikipedia. These are exemplary wikis because they seem to be for entire universities, and thus each department should be able to use them as they choose.

We weren't really able to find any English Department's out there that already have active wikis, although there was a wiki for UC Davis's English department that was done by people outside the department. This last shows the importance of being able to control who can edit some pages of your wiki. And Wayne indicates that this control shouldn't be hard to set up.

Teaching Carnival

I mentioned that academic bloggers have started the "Teaching Carnival" as a way of collating and referencing blog posts about teaching. Here is the latest one.

TLC Open House Today

10-12 IN ECIT 214

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

About this blog

I was quite struck by the quality of the conversation in the TLC workshop, and I would like to see if we might use this blog to continue that conversation. The blog could therefore be a way for us to keep talking about a variety of things -- teaching, technology, literary scholarship, the profession, etc. -- and to actually see if the blog is a good technology for sustaining this conversation. In other words, this blog is something of an experiment in both form and content.

While I have started this, I by no means plan to "own" it. So, I invite you (encourage you, in that softly coercive way that the DGS encourages) to post whatever you want here: reflections on all of the topics above, records of your experiences in teaching with or without technology, links to interesting things, ideas for future projects, comments about departmental life. One conversation that emerged at the end of the workshop was the idea of a department wiki as an improvement over our other communication technologies. This blog is not meant to replace that, but it might be a) a place to discuss it; and b) a place to see what kind of conversations we want to sustain electronically.

When you join this blog as a "team member" (go team!), you will immediately be able to contribute to the blog. (You do that by going to and logging in, and then selecting the "create a new post" option.) Later, I will then give you "controller" status, in case you want to work on the template of the blog itself. So, this will have a wiki-like, open modification structure. (If I understand wiki's correctly, and I may not.)

For now, I think the workshop group has an excellent rapport, so I would like to start with us as a group and see where this goes. If it can be sustained, then maybe we can start inviting others. This is not exactly a top-secret project, just something that may not be ready for departmental prime time. On the other hand, if you want to mention this to others you might think are interested, please do. And if anyone really wants to join, I am not opposed to adding them.

Finally, this blog is not a private space. The url is not public, and therefore it is quite unlikely that anyone who is not seeking this specifically will find it. You cannot find it, for instance, via Google. However, it's still a public document, and so this is probably not the place for, say, your elaborate, three-part critique of the authoritarian rhetoric of the current DGS. It is impossible to guarantee that what is said on the blog will stay on the blog. On the other hand, I would like to see if we can sustain the kind of relatively unguarded exchanges we had during the workshop. (Interestingly, there is apparently a beta version of Blogger in development that would allow only approved readers access to a blog. This seems like a feature that could make Blogger an even better tool for the department.)