Tag: literature

Trying Out the Unessay

Thanks to Twitter, the Unessay has been on my radar for a minute — but I only finally tried it out in my Short Story lit class this summer. My students really enjoyed having a creative option in lieu of a traditional research paper, and examples of their work are shared with their permission below (along with the full prompt, and the course syllabus).

But before I get to their work: let me give some clarification on what an Unessay is, exactly. My prompt and grading criteria were adapted and cobbled together from Professor Emily Contois’ “Teaching the Unruly Unessay,” Professor Emily Suzanne Clark’s Unessay post on her personal site, and Professor Ryan Cordell’s Unessay assignment on the Technologies of Text class site.… Read more

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

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 to the level I wanted.… Read more

Notes:

  1. In my composition classes yesterday, students came to class armed with double-entry notebooks on “Race,” “Ethnicity,” and “Ideology” from Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin’s Postcolonial Studies: The Key Concepts. I projected a few images from mostly 19th century works on race with little information other than the source, and asked them what the image had to do with the readings. They had 30 seconds to reflect on the image and review their notes before we launched into discussion. They generated ideas about (and elaborated on) imperialism, the “Other,” phrenology, polygenesis, interpellation (one class wanted to go more in depth about Marxist notions of “false consciousness”), and hierarchy, consistently linking the images back to quotes and concepts from the text. I did a happy dance when I got back to my office.