Category Archives: Teaching

AY 2017-2018 Begins: Here Are Some Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses into the Making of an Online Course.

I’ve been radio-silent on this blog for over a month now, and that’s because I became an Auntie for the first time at the end of July (yay!!!), we got the page proofs for Melusine’s Footprint (yay!!!), and I was … Continue reading

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Teaching an online class for the first time: things to consider

I am by no means an expert in distance/online education, and I would never claim to be one. But after having taught my second online course in two different university settings this past June, I do have a couple of … Continue reading

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Either/Or [Versus?] Yes/And: Towards an Ethos of Inclusivity and Inquiry in the Twenty-First Century Classroom

The following is a presentation on inclusivity and collaborative inquiry practices that I gave as part of the “Far Out!” Roundtable discussion at the 2016 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Either/Or [Versus?] Yes/And: Towards an Ethos of Inclusivity and Inquiry … Continue reading

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They Didn’t READ! What to do with unprepared students (besides just kicking them out and canceling class)

There is nothing less fun than being in a classroom with unprepared students, but the reality is that it is going to happen. When you are prepared for this possibility, you have the means to avoid unpleasant confrontations with students, and the ability to make sure your class can still be successful in meeting the goals you have set for it. Continue reading

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So, You’re Developing Your First Solo Class: A Brief Guide To College Course Levels

If you have never taught before, or have been a teaching assistant for a course but not Instructor of Record, the idea of developing your own syllabus can be a daunting one. What should you teach? How should you teach … Continue reading

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A Sample Instructional Unit Design: Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

One of the things graduate students and those new to teaching often struggle with is how to articulate a text beyond discipline-specific approaches in order to reach a broader audience in the classroom. This, however, is a crucial skill to … Continue reading

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The “Back Pocket” Lesson Plan

“Back pocket” lesson plans are perfect for days when you’re too swamped to prepare carefully for a class session; when you’ve forgotten or are unable to access some element of a prepared lesson without which you cannot proceed as planned, like a handout or reading or audio-visual component, or when the Internet is unexpectedly down in the classroom; when you simply cannot think of something interesting or meaningful to do in class; for days when the planned lesson seems to be going flat; for days when you finish early and have ten or more minutes left in the session; or really, for any occasion when you want to turn the class over a little more to the students. Continue reading

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“What’s in a name?”: Rethinking the “Essay” in the contemporary college classroom

I am going to argue here–perhaps, controversially–that the average poor performance on an essay at the college level has nothing to do with a student’s actual ability to complete such an assignment, and everything to do with the student’s misconception of what an “essay” is. While there are certainly “lazy students” who cannot be bothered to do the work, I find that the vast majority of mine are not lazy in the slightest; rather, they’re afraid of letting me down (and of getting a bad grade). Continue reading

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Dress to Impress: You, The (Pre-Professional) Graduate [Teaching Assistant] Student

It’s understandable that, being classified as a “graduate student,” it’s sometimes difficult to view yourself also as a professional, but this is the shift you need to learn how to make during your time in graduate school. As a graduate student you are, of course, still a student, but you are a student actively engaged in becoming a professional; in fact, it might be helpful to consider yourself an apprentice in your field of study, rather than a student. The most visible outward sign that you have successfully navigated this shift lies in your sartorial choices. So today, I’m going to talk wardrobe with you. Continue reading

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Countdown to Fall Term: 5 Things Returning TAs should be thinking about right now

Even though the summer isn’t quite over, if you are a returning graduate student with a teaching assignment, here are five things you should be thinking about right now and not, say, the weekend before classes start! Handling these items now will help streamline your return to the classroom and keep the beginning of the term from being a mad rush. Continue reading

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