Teaching Tarlton: success!

For my fall ENGL1102 course in City Comedy I assigned students to produce a collaborative digital edition of Tarlton's Jests. I was curious to see how these anecdotes would work for an undergraduate, non-English major audience. I also wanted to explore how strong a connection could be made between the Jests and a study of early modern English drama. It made sense to me, but I've been so immersed in the idea that I wanted a litmus test to confirm my expectations.

Continue reading Teaching Tarlton: success!

Course Blogs: Commenting Privately on a Student’s Post

Rebecca Burnett and I had a conversation about the nature of commenting on student blog posts. As instructors, should we have the option of making a private comment - viewable only to the student author, or should all comments be viewable to all students? There is an argument to be made for complete transparency in a course blog. I believe there are situations, however, where dialogue between an instructor and a student might benefit from a degree of privacy. The example that comes immediately to mind relates to marking a post. In the past, I have returned what I believe to be confidential communication regarding assignment feedback and grading to students through an external medium (email, rubrics uploaded to T-Square's dropbox, emma, etc.). And yet I have thought it would be preferable for students to be able to read my feedback inline with their posts. I just wasn't sure how to accomplish such a thing without making this confidential feedback publicly available. Continue reading Course Blogs: Commenting Privately on a Student’s Post

The semester at an end

I plowed through marking and submitted final grades yesterday. I should be overjoyed but have that strange feeling that I'm not doing something I should be ... some sort of post-grading stress.

Overall it was a good semester. Students were on the whole enthusiastic and responsive - which made it more gratifying. Considering I threw them in the middle of the pool with non-Shakespearean early modern comedy and City Comedy, they might as easily have staged a riot (I think they came close when we read Bartholmew Fair).

I haven't yet read the course evaluations, but the feedback I received from many students was that their favorite part of the course was working on the Tarlton's Jests Digital Edition. They rose to the challenge of transcribing a hard-to-read microfiche of the 1609 edition and many got very creative with their research. Several expressed a wish that we could have spent more time working on the project. Music to a teacher's ears.

And now I have to get back to finishing that proposal, prepping for MLA, writing that essay ... oh, yeah: and buying Christmas presents for all!