Westmont College Scanning Brains

Disturbing news from The Chronicle: Westmont College will be using headsets to measure electrical activity in students’ brains, attempting to measure “growth” through the college experience.  This is exactly the kind of “research” that disturbs me: no control groups, no prior proof-of-concept with the theory, and a clear conflict of interest.  This isn’t science –…

Writing Program Assessment

Back in Spring 2012, I was one of the instructors who took part in the ISU Writing Program’s program-wide assessment.  (Here’s a link to the PDF Report, in case the blog article moves.)  It was a pretty in-depth look at the program, so I’m sharing the link to it here.  It’s a walk down memory…

JK Rowling – Not everything goes in the book

J.K. Rowling, in an interview, said she took extensive notes on Hogwarts and her characters, but that these notes were for her rather than for her readers. At Computers and Writing last week, I realized that my best Twitter posts came when I replaced my standard note-taking in Google Docs with pure Twitter.  Since I…

Positivist Expressivism?

When I envisioned my teaching internship (Fall 2013 ENG 247.02), I was thinking that I would help students learn to better use (and appreciate) social media as a tool for reaching readers.  Yes, I did want them to engage in genuine interactions with potential audiences beyond the classroom, but I was still looking at social…

MFA vs Ph.D. – Learning Diversity

In my MFA program, the fiction workshops included one classmate from Pakistan and one who was Asian-American.  They did bring in helpful cross-cultural perspectives – especially the descriptions of the rain and urban relationships in Pakistan, which I will never forget. In my own writing, though, I think I’ve gained more perspective on diversity from…

The classroom and the mysteries of art

Amato and Fleisher ask “Is the creative writing classroom a place simply for fortifying the mysteries of creativity, or can something more concrete, more palpable, more critical, more urgent therein be attended to?” (“Prelude,” authors’ emphasis).  They go on to write that “current compartmentalizations of English Studies…can only produce narrowly self-identified writers, writers likely to acknowledge…

Cognitive Rhetoric Subject to Ideological Appropriation

James Berlin criques Linda Flowers and John Hayes for their application of cognitive rhetoric to the composition process. “the rhetoric of cognitive psychology refuses the ideological question, resting secure instead in its scientific examination of the compositing process” (Berlin 482), but “The business of cognitive psychology is to enable us to learn to think in…