Featured post

For Nov 3

Now we turn to the curriculum for 1121!

Originally, the 1121 curriculum focused heavily on the term “discourse communities,” in which we had students read the article “Understanding Discourse Communities” (which you’ll be reading this week) and we used the term a lot in our assignments. However, we found that in doing this, students’ writing spent a lot of time just defining the term instead of focusing on the communities they are a part of and the language of those communities. So with this in mind, we no longer write assignments that focus on the term “discourse community.” Instead, theories of Discourse Community structure the entire semester. Of course, it is up to you how much you want to focus on the term itself.

For this week’s asynchronous course, please do the following (by Nov 3):

  1. Watch THIS SLIDESHOW about the final portfolios. I have opened up a discussion board about the final portfolios on Perusall (it is under “chats: general discussion”)  Please post there if you have any questions. You may also email me, but I prefer you use Perusall if you can because the whole group will be able to see any questions/ answers. Please note: this is the first time I’m using the Perusall discussion function. It’s an experiment!
  2. Read and Annotate “Understanding Discourse Communities” and discourse community slideshow (you don’t really have to annotate this part unless you want to. Just give it a look!) on Perusall. At some point in your Perusall comments, please reflect for a paragraph or more  about how you feel about incorporating these theories into your teaching. (It may be awkward to do it this way, but we can keep it private on Perusall) Do you think you’ll keep the term “Discourse Community” in the background or you’ll talk to the students about it specifically? Do you think this theory is useful to teaching? Why or why not?
  3. We will do a revised version of the day one assignment for 1121 students together. It is as follows:
    • First, watch “(un)Learning my Name” by Mohamed Hassan
    • Second, write a new post on padlet about your own name. (I will email you this link so it will be a private page.) You can do it in whatever way you want!  You can talk about the origins of your name, questions you have about your name, or a time you tried to change your name– or something else entirely.  As part of it, you can add images or links to videos… whatever you think will help us get to know you and your experiences better. You can even add a link to a video. Or record an audio file and link to it. Or draw something and upload the image. Whatever you want. Remember: we’re all about composing in the 21st century, so feel free to do what you think would be interesting for us to see/hear/learn about. The idea is to get you thinking about how those issues affect you. How they’ve helped shape who you are.
    •  Read over 1121 UNIT ONE. If you have any questions about it, ask them on the 1121 unit one message board on Perusall (“chats: general discussion”)
    •  We will discuss this briefly when we zoom on Nov 10, but we will mostly focus on 1121 Unit 2 unless there is massive concern/ confusion.

For Wednesday, Oct 27!

Hi everyone. We will meet on Weds, Oct 27 at 5 pm on Zoom. For this meeting, please do the following:

  1. Read and annotate “Thinking about Multimodality” on Perusall
  2. Comment on your teaching of multimodal assignments on THIS PADLET. (instructions once you click the link!)

When we meet, we will take a bit of time to discuss multimodality and Unit 3 of 1101, but we will also discuss final portfolios and grading.

Research Paper

What does the term “research paper” mean to you?
I see the research paper as the culmination of the semester’s work for students. It gives the students an opportunity to explore areas of interest from something that they have learned over the course of the semester. Students should be allowed to take their discovery outside of the scope of the educational institution as their learning is largely guided by community, culture, language and roles they play. In turn, this gives them a text-to-self and a self-to-world examination that should be factored into research. While student’s are not necessarily researching themselves, these ideas connect to something they were interested in during the semester.

How might we expand our definitions of research and “research paper” to more fully contain the curiosity and delight of research and discovery?
Research should be all encompassing and less directed by the instructor.

What are some ways you have taught research in the classroom– successfully and unsuccessfully?

I give scaffolding assignments in the classroom as research can be overwhelming to process all at once. Then, I follow up with feedback and one-to-one meetings.

Asynchronous Meeting next week– please complete by Friday, Oct 15

Hi everyone! Here is the work for our next week “meeting.”

  • We have two readings up now on Perusall, one by Carmen Kynard (previously of John Jay) and one by Nelson Graff, about teaching research. Please read and annotate both.
  • After reading, please post a blog post to this Open Lab site considering (some of) the following questions:
      • What does the term “research paper” mean to you?
      • How might we expand our definitions of research and “research paper”  to more fully contain the curiosity and delight of research and discovery?
      • What are some ways you have taught research in the classroom– successfully and unsuccessfully?
      • What are some ways you have engaged in your own research– successfully and unsuccessfully?

Please note, you don’t have to answer all of these questions– these are just starting points to guide a post about research!

Amy Sawford

Hello colleagues,

This is an incredibly delayed introduction. So sorry! My name is Amy Sawford. I have been teaching at CityTech since 2017 and this semester, I am teaching two asynchronous sections of Comp 1.

I didn’t grow up loving to read. I loved books, having them, touching them (and smelling them), but I wasn’t a reader. I’d spend hours in a library, but I wasn’t reading. I wasn’t very studious either, but that’s a story for another time. I have ALWAYS loved books, but I didn’t love reading until I was in college. Maybe it was a professor’s influence, maybe it was boredom, I don’t really know…but I began to read often. These days, I rely on audiobooks to keep up.  Writing, on the other hand, was something I loved for as long as I can remember. I have stacks of poems and comics I created a long time ago aging in a box somewhere. I wrote a novel for a high school project when I was sixteen. I loved writing. I wasn’t very good at it, but I did it anyway. I’m still not very good at it, but I’m always writing.

I have been teaching in higher ed since 2012. This year, I have entered the realm of public schools and I teach a high school during the day and keep up with my asynchronous college courses in the evenings. I think my teaching style is laid back and my patience is an ally in the classroom.

I have recently relocated to my hometown in South Florida after spending 12 years in Brooklyn. I miss many things about NYC, but I am also happy to be near family. I have a two-year-old daughter and a three-year-old Boston Terrier. When I am not working, I spend time with my family and play video games with my husband.

For Weds, Sept 29

Hi everyone! Great meeting you all today.

For next week’s meeting, we will be discussing “Navigating Genre” by Kerry Dirk. You can find it on our Perusall site. Please read and annotate before we meet.  Please also finish reading and annotating the Ellen Carillo piece from Bad Ideas about Writing, also on Perusall.com

We will meet next Weds, Sept 29, using the same Zoom link as before.

Please note: if you haven’t done so yet, you can still do the asynchronous work for the first week of our PD (outlined HERE) .

Also, I’ve moved our schedule for the semester under the “Course Materials” heading.  You can find it HERE


Shitty First Introduction (with apologies to Anne Lamott)

Hello Colleagues! I’ve delayed writing this post because I kept wanting to wait until I had time to write a really good and thoughtful introduction. But somehow I never found that time and now it’s Friday and I want to get this posted, so I’m going to take a page from Annie Lamott in “Shitty First Drafts” and start my participation in the PD seminar by just writing something, never mind making it perfect, in the few minutes I have between dinner and bedtime reading with my kids.

So my name is Denell. Weird name, I know–pronounced sort of like Janelle but it’s actually a combo of my maternal grandparents’ names, Daniel and Eleanor. My conscious perception of myself as a reader began when I was maybe four years old and my other grandmother Evelyn, a history professor turned children’s librarian, read The Hobbit out loud to me. I was blown away then by how reading (okay, being read to) expanded my world, how Tolkien’s words created a world whole in my mind. All these years later, reading can still blow my mind. Yesterday I reread James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers” in preparation for class and was challenged anew by his urgent call for transformative teaching that disrupts the status quo, while also inspired by his eloquent description of a world that is “larger, more daring, more beautiful and more terrible” than anything anyone has ever said about it.

That lifelong love of reading led me to a Ph.D. in English and underlies my work in the writing classroom. I’m interested in exploring the connection between reading and writing, and in developing pedagogically-sound ways to emphasize reading in the writing classroom. I think that the turn away from literature in composition circles was a useful corrective but has sometimes been taken too far to mean not only avoiding a focus on literary analysis (which I agree is not appropriate in FYW courses), but also de-emphasizing reading assignments altogether. I’d like to see reading as an area of mutual interest among comp rhetoric scholars and literary specialists, rather than a line that divides English departments.

Multimodal composing is not my strength, but in an attempt to follow Carrie’s instructions I’m attaching a recent picture of myself (I’m the one with the straight brown hair) with my friend Emily and a dozen Wellfleet oysters.

Introduction: Megan Behrent

Hi all,

I have been teaching at City Tech since Fall 2014. Before that, I taught at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn for 15 years. FDR H.S. is a 3000-4000 person comprehensive public high school that serves a large population of emergent bilinguals with students from 70 countries and 37 language groups. Most of our students attended CUNY schools after graduation, so the City Tech student body feels familiar to me. I also taught night classes at Touro College in East New York, and during my very early years as a graduate student, I taught in the writing program at Stony Brook University. My work as a teacher also led me into the world of teacher activism, as well as writing about issues related to teaching, pedagogy, and education policy.

As a reader and a writer, I have broad, interdisciplinary interests, in part due to my experience as a teacher and activist. In addition to writing about education and pedagogy, I write about literature and social movements and the intersection between race, gender, sexuality and class in twentieth and twenty-first century American literature. My current book project is an intellectual history of Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich with a focus on their friendship and their political contributions and legacies. That they met as instructors in the SEEK Program at City College in the era of Open Admissions was part of the spark for the initial research that inspired the project.

Particularly important to me as a writer is the collaborative process of working with my writing group—a group of women from CUNY that began under the auspices of the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP). We have been invited to share our experience in several venues and continue to work, write and learn together.

Pictured below are my teaching and editorial assistants: Ella and Meowie. They interrupt zoom events frequently, but are a model of collaboration despite serious differences in learning and communication styles.

Blog Post: Michael Neiman

Hello Everyone,

I have been teaching at NYC College of Technology since Fall 2015. I am a teacher, writer, artist, and activist. I have been a passionate educator ever since I first entered the classroom as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi back in 2002. Back in Malawi, I was in a class that had no textbooks, no resources, no electricity and often it was over 110 degrees F. Kind of odd, today, when for the past four semesters all City Tech courses require internet, computers and online resources. Yet, with climate change, it is still incredibly hot!

I look forward to continue helping City Tech students gain the skills they need to succeed as students, as future innovators, and merely to learn the practical knowledge that reading and writing can benefit them, in the struggles that our economic and professional world require of them, to thrive.