To Grade or Not to Grade: The Struggle to Assess

Brainstorming a Participation Rubric

Grades. Grading. Final Grade. Any variable of the word “grade” is likely to fill me with a confusing combination of panic, unease, and boredom. As a student, grades were fine. I did well enough in academic settings that I could choose to ignore my grades. My undergrad years were spent at a small liberal arts […]



[A version of this post also appears on the blog for EGL 608, the digital humanities seminar.] Christine L. Borgman provides a the following as her definition of scholarly communication: “By scholarly communication we mean the study of how scholars in any field…use and disseminate information through formal and informal channels.” 1 Although Borgman wrote this in […]

Public Personas and the Teacher of Athletes

Walt Whitman in 1869 during his years in Washington. (Photo from "A Life of Walt Whitman" by Henry Bryan Binns via Wikimedia)

I am the teacher of athletes, He that by me spreads a wider breast than my own proves the width of my own, He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. –Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” (1855) Walt Whitman has made an interesting resurgence within my research and teaching practice […]

Quotation Mark, Period, @$#&!

Quotation Mark, Period, @$#&!

In this blog post I’m going to touch on an issue of personal significance to me, so forgive me if it becomes somewhat vehement in tone. It’s subject is the punctuation sequence [“.]! To clarify, the sequence I am referring to is the close-quotation mark (“), followed by the period (.), or, alternatively, by a […]

Victorians Then and Now: Why Victorian Literature Matters to 21st Century Students

Original Strand artwork depicting Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson traveling by train.

When I introduce any Victorian literature to students, I initially ask them to brainstorm words they associate with Victorian, and I write their responses on the blackboard. Overwhelmingly, they see the period and its figures as resoundingly restrained. Though many American college students define the Victorians by their apparently repressed sexuality, troubling gender relations, and […]

Teaching Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities

Teaching Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities

Teaching Writing to Students with Learning Disabilities What is a Learning Disability? A learning disability is when a person has extreme difficulty learning in a typical manner. This can be caused by one factor, or many. People who are learning disabled are clinically diagnosed by a professional, be it a pediatrician or a psychologist, and […]

How to Promote Effective Peer Response

Peer editing can go very wrong.

Peer responding can be constructive Writers can become highly motivated to revise when peer readers with some training and practice respond to larger issues in a draft such as content, organization, tone, emphasis, use of evidence or details, etc.  But to get productive peer response sessions, that is, responses balanced with both earned praise and […]


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