Reminder: Complete Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) by Tomorrow (F 12/11)

Hi everyone! I hope your research and revisions are going well. A friendly reminder that the deadline to complete the SETs (Student Evaluation of Teaching) is tomorrow, Friday, December 11th.

Hopefully you’ve already completed yours for this course already, but if you haven’t done so yet, please take a few minutes to do so. These SETs are important for both me and the college, and I appreciate your filling them out.

I know we’ve gone over this during class, but again, here is the relevant information from the college (students have reported them going to their spam folders quite often, so please do check there if you don’t see it in your inbox):

In order to complete the SETs, students have be sent a separate email and link for each of their enrolled courses, typically via their City Tech email address. On rare occasions they may be sent to another CUNY email address (for example if a student is enrolled in a course via ePermit) or may be diverted to Junk Email.

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) Administration

1. Emails will be sent from Scantron to student’s campus email address.

a. Emails will be sent from:

i. Sender Name: NYC College of Technology Course Evaluations

ii. Address:

Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

*Reply to this post listing, indicating which slot you want. Scheduling is first-come, first-served. Please do not request a time slot that has already been taken/requested (unless you absolutely can’t make any other slots–because you have another class or job–in which case you can ask another student–in the comments–to switch with you).

Research Project Individual Conferences with Professor Belli

  • These conferences are a time for you and me to get together one-to-one to discuss your ideas/progress on the Individual Research Project and to address any questions you may have. This is also a chance to get your topic formally approved by me (each student needs me to sign off on their project as soon as possible).
  • Please bring all relevant materials with you (proposals, sources), and come prepared to discuss specifics (questions you have, etc.).
  • Please only sign up for a spot that you are 100% sure you can make (and make note of the time/date you are coming).
  • All meetings will be through our regular Zoom office hours link.
  • Each slot is 10 minutes long. Arrive a few minutes early (and be prepared to stay a few minutes late, in case we are running behind).
  • If you miss a conference or come unprepared, it will be counted as an absence and you forfeit your right to schedule future conferences (on the research project) with me.

Monday, 11/30

  • 11:00-11:10am:
  • 11:10-11:20am:
  • 11:20-11:30am: Arin

Tuesday, 12/1

  • 1:00-1:10pm: Shamach
  • 1:10-1:20pm: Max
  • 1:20-1:30pm: Ronald
  • 4:00-4:10pm: Xavier
  • 4:10-4:20pm: Oscar
  • 4:20-4:30pm: Itmam

Wednesday, 12/2

  • 11:00-11:10am: Khoury
  • 11:10-11:20am: Phillip
  • 11:20-11:30am: Edward

Thursday, 12/3

  • 4:00-4:10pm: Justin
  • 4:10-4:20pm: Derick
  • 4:20-4:30pm:
  • 4:30-4:40pm:
  • 4:40-4:50pm:
  • 4:50-5:00pm:

Midterm (mid-semester) Grades + Individual Conferences

Hi everyone:

A friendly reminder to please go in and check your Midterm (mid-semester grades). Please do so again even if you already had done so, as there were a few glitches in my first round of inputted grades that I had to work out.

You can do this either by clicking on the link (that says, “Students, check your grades!”) under”OpenLab GradeBook” the right sidebar of our course homepage OR by going to the Dashboard on our course site and then going to OpenLab GradeBook (in left sidebar). In either case, you need to be logged in to view your grades. An individual student’s grades are only visible to you and to me.

As we discussed in class, if you received a BL (borderline) or U (unsatisfactory) grade, you must email me ASAP to set up a time to meet next week to discuss your work and progress in the course, and for us to develop strategies to make sure you are successful going forward. In your email, please explain why you are requesting a meeting and list all of your availability for a brief meeting (10-15 minutes) for Monday-Friday of the next week (11/2-11/6). I’ll reply shortly to confirm a time slot for our conference: please note that I’m juggling my own schedule along with many many other students’ schedules, so the more options you can provide, the easier scheduling this will be.

Of course, anyone who received a P (passing) is also welcome to email me to schedule a conference. I’m happy to discuss your work and provide additional feedback on your writing and participation at any point in the semester.

Have a great weekend, & looking forward to discussing next steps with many of you soon 🙂

People’s Choice Posts #7: ‘See You Yesterday’

Thanks for all the amazing responses to See You Yesterday!

I know voting is on everyone’s mind this week (with the looming Presidential election!), and it’s time for one more vote …

Now’s the time to choose for your People’s Choice post, so get your votes in (complete with your chosen post–author/title/link, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it). This time around, comments are due by Sun 11/1. As always, looking forward to seeing your choices 🙂

Class Discussion #7: World-Building in Political Elections

“Perhaps the crispest definition is that science fiction is a literature of ‘what if?'”
(Evans, Christopher. Writing Science Fiction. London, A & C Black, 1988.)

I know many of you are anxiously watching the presidential election unfold (and that many of you–hopefully all who are eligible to do so!–are voting in it as well).  Elections for public office are steeped in both utopian and dystopian rhetoric, about the state of our communities and our country, about how our lives and world are, how they should be, how they could be.

In short, these debates and these elections traffic heavily in what if? These elections and the candidates’ words and policies are, in a very real way, about world-building: they are about reality but also about imagination grounded in possibility. What will our communities, our country, and the world (not to mention our individual lives) look like if certain people are elected to serve us? What kinds of worlds do these candidates think is possible and desirable? How will they enact these visions? In whose interests?

All elections matter, but this one is particularly consequential, as we are in the midst of a global pandemic, economic instability, social unrest, and a continued struggle to expose and dismantle structural racism.

This is an open forum for class discussion, in the lead-up to Election day, and beyond, to share your thoughts on how political rhetoric and platforms shape what is possible in our world. This is a space to consider what candidates’ visions of well-being for our communities and our country mean, what they do. The current elections (and the campaigning and political battles that have been accompanying them, for months now) is about “extrapolation,” a tool central to the genre of science fiction. The candidates are starting from our present circumstances and extrapolating to what might happen if we continue down our current path undeterred, or what alternatives exist, and how things might be different if we change our course. Though there is much obsession with facts, this extrapolation depends on assumptions, perspectives, and values. This extrapolation is grounded in competing needs and desires about how people should live and how societies should structure themselves (think of hierarchies, treatment of the “other,” about all the questions on the Science Fiction Framework).

Together, let’s close (and actively) read these texts of the Election (our own experiences/thoughts/emotions/fears/dreams; the candidates’ words, their policies, media coverage surrounding them, etc.) and critically examine what is being explicitly or implicitly stated in these visions. As always, textual evidence (with citations/links) will help to support your claims about what the candidates’ believe America does, could, and should look like one possible future; the future in which they are elected public servants of our communities and of the country where we live and work and dream, the United States of America.

At least one comment due by the start of class on Election Day (Tuesday, 11/3), but I hope we can get into a rich discussion here, so comment early and as often as you feel so inclined.

People’s Choice Posts #6: ‘Destroyer’

Time for this week’s People’s Choice, on Destroyer reading responses. Get your votes in (complete with your chosen post–author/title/link, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it). This time around, comments are due by Sun 10/25. As always, looking forward to seeing your choices 🙂

no synchronous (Zoom) class tomorrow, Tu 10/20

Dear students:

I hope you’re doing well, and that you’re enjoying reading Victor LaValle’s Destroyer.

I know it’s a hectic time of the semester for everyone, so I’ve decided to cancel our synchronous class meeting for tomorrow and give everyone some extra time to make their way through this text and formulate their writing in response. This means we will not hold our class session on Zoom tomorrow, Tuesday (10/20).

You should continue to work asynchronously, and we’ll resume our synchronous classes on Thursday, 10/22. So, I’ll see you on Zoom later this week, when we’ll begin discussing this graphic novel together.

Please note:

1. This means you also get an extension for this week’s reading response blog (yay!). It is now due by the start of class on Thursday (10/22). If you already posted your response, feel free to go back in and revise it (just make sure to click “Update” when you want those edits to post) until the due date.

2. The People’s Choice Post for Destroyer will be due by Sunday, 10/25. Other reading/writing (going forward) has been pushed back by one class accordingly.

3. If you volunteered for upcoming Class Notes, those dates will be pushed back by one class to reflect tomorrow’s asynchronous classes (if you can’t make your new date, please email me ASAP to let me know).

4. My office hours for this week will also be by appointment only. I’m happy to meet with you, but please email me ahead of time (with some options when you will be available) if you would like to schedule time to touch base.

5. Last but not least, don’t forget that tomorrow is National Day of Writing, and if you want to complete the extra credit post, you’re welcome to do so.

The Schedule is updated with new due dates and reflects these changes.

Hopefully this extension gives you some extra breathing room (and lowers stress levels!), but please do make sure to manage your time and stay on top of the work. I expect everyone to post their reading response blogs by Thursday and to come to class with the text in hand and the reading done when we reconvene on Zoom later this week.

Please reply to this post ASAP with a comment, confirming that you got this message and are aware of these changes (you can literally just say, “got it!”). And, as always, feel free to email me with any questions.

Thanks all, and have a lovely week 🙂

Professor Belli

Extra Credit Opportunity: National Day on Writing!

Tuesday, October 20th is National Day on Writing!

Happy National Day of Writing! Now more than every is a time to cultivate your own unique voice and to add it to the collective, to compose and contribute in whatever way you find most meaningful. National Day on Writing is an opportunity to consider why you write, the role it has in your life, and perhaps even how your writing is expanding in new media composing environments (digital writing and blogging, such as your work on the OpenLab, use of social media, creation of videos, etc.) or in relation to science fiction &/or this course. But you don’t have to discuss formal, professional, or academic writing: you could discuss personal writing, creative writing, txting, or anything else.

Anyone who wants to do so may blog about #whyIWrite for extra credit. This is an optional post, and can be approached any way you feel would be most appropriate … feel to be as creative as you’d like! And feel free to include some of your own writing (poems, stories, etc.) as well as images, videos, links, and/or anything that will help us to understand why you write and what writing means to you!

In order to get your extra credit by Tuesday 10/20, the post should be made “on” Tuesday, to time it with the national conversation that will happen that day. If you want to write it ahead of time, that’s fine: just “schedule” the post to appear Tuesday (to do so, edit the “Publish Immediately” option in the “Publish” box in the upper right, and change the date to 10/20 and choose a time during that day for your post to appear).

*As you know, extra credit blogs will replace missing blogs (or count as additional credit if you’ve done all of them already). There are only two grades for these extra credit blogs (100 and 0). If you write a thoughtful #WhyIWrite post, you will receive 100% (an “A”) for the assignment. If you choose note to post (or if it is too short/not fulfilling the purposes of this task), you will receive a “0.” Categorize as “#WhyIWrite.”

**You can learn more about the National Day on Writing on NCTE’s (National Council of Teachers of English) website for the day or through this year’s website. A primary way this day is being celebrated / organized is through the use of a hashtag: #WhyIWrite. You can follow this live conversation unfolding on Twitter & other social media platforms, and participate there if you want. Or you can simply browse the national conversation happening online to get inspiration).

Class Discussion #6: Apocalypse

“It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.”

The above quote, which has been attributed to a number of folks at various times (notably, Fredric Jameson), speaks to both the proliferation of apocalyptic visions and the difficulty of imagining a substantively different world order or way of living.

The short story we just read, Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” is a post-apocalyptic vision. It is a frightening tale and a compelling warning about the dangers of technological progress. It’s also enduring: we also watched this animated adaption of the story almost four decades later: There will Come Rains,” (Nazim Tulyakhodzayev, 1987).

It’s not just this one short story though. Science fiction has long been obsessed with the end of the world, of a massive destruction, but also of what life is like in the aftermath of such destruction. In short, science fiction often deals with the apocalypse and the post-apocalypse.

This class discussion is a place to crowdsource contemporary or historical examples of apocalyptic visions and analyze them, thinking critically about imaginings of “the end” (and then, of what follows … new beginnings).

Two comments are due by Tu 10/13 by the start of class (though as always, feel free to contribute more!). You should post at least one example to start off. Examples can be real  (e.g., related to natural disasters, climate change, politics, etc.) or fictional (movies, TV shows, video games). Share your example, with citation, and explain why/how it can be consider apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, and what questions it raises. Make sure to include concrete discussion in your comments (referencing specifics from your example), and also to refer back to the short story if/when possible.

As always, in addition to posting your own comment(s), you are responsible for checking back in and reading through the whole discussion, prior to each class. This “discussion” is part of the required reading for the course. You are responsible for responding to at least one classmate’s example by Monday as well.

People’s Choice Posts #5: ‘Westworld’

It’s that time again! Read through your classmates’ reading response blogs on the first episode of the HBO series, Westworld, and choose your favorite post. You can choose a post for any reason, but you always must clearly articulate your rationale for choosing it (e.g., why did you find it interesting, compelling, likeable, provocative, etc.?). This rationale can refer to content, style, creativity, etc. If, after reading everyone’s posts, you strongly feel that your post is your “favorite,” you can always vote for yourself, but you need to provide a rationale for doing so.

In order to register your vote for this week’s “People’s Choice,” “leave a reply” to this post, and in your comment, provide your chosen post, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it. Provide the title and author of the chosen post, along with a link to the post you are citing (please provide the link in the same comment: don’t make a separate one with just the link). Citing is really important (in this case, citing your classmate!), and this is a way of giving credit to other sources and putting yourself in dialogue with them.

Comments/votes are mandatory, should be made no later than Th 10/8 by 9am. The person with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor for this round of posts! I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why.