Tuesday, January 14, 2020
January 14, 2020: Spring Semester Previews: First Year Writing II
[As of next week my sabbatical is officially done and I’m back to full-time teaching. So this week I’ll share some previews for my Spring 2020 classes, focusing on new readings I’m adding this semester and leading up to some updates on book talks and projects. I’d love to hear what you’re up to as well!]
On a significant change in my Writing II course, and a request for help with it.
I feel like over the years I’ve written at least a handful of distinct semester preview posts, for both First Year Writing I and II courses, on my desire to incorporate more online and digital materials, and through them more 21st century topics and themes, into those classes (those hyperlinked posts are just a couple examples of what I know has been a longstanding trend in these semester preview series). I’ve certainly found ways to achieve elements of that goal over my last few sections of First Year Writing, perhaps especially in my current Writing II syllabus that focuses on the overarching topic of “21st Century Identities.” But at the same time, the first two times I’ve taught with that syllabus (in the Spring semesters of 2014 and 2017), I did utilize a hard-copy anthology (Signs of Life in the U.S.A.) as the source of the majority of our shared readings. It’s a good anthology, one that absolutely and effectively highlights various 21st century topics and content (advertisements, TV and film, social media and digital identities). But as I thought about my Spring 2020 section of Writing II, I realized that asking students to buy a textbook at all, rather than finding materials and readings online, itself reflected a somewhat outdated or at least ironic choice for a course like this one.
So I’ve taken the plunge, and for the first time in a First Year Writing class (and one of the only times in any class I’ve taught—I am an English Studies professor after all, and I do like books) we won’t be using any hard-copy texts of any kind. I think I will absolutely be able to find both primary source and scholarly readings and materials online for our three shared Units: analyzing advertisements (past and present, but with an emphasis on the present for sure); writing and analyzing 21st century personal narratives (or other forms of representing our identities); and analyzing film/TV/multimedia texts (same as above about past and present; our model pair of texts are Fruitvale Station and Black-ish). But between this space and social media, I’ve got a ton of great connections to other 21st century studiers, so: do you have suggestions or nominations for readings or materials, on those or other aspects of 21st century identity, that you think would work well for this class? I’ll still be finalizing the syllabus come January, so your suggestions will certainly be able to be part of it if you do. Thanks in advance!
Next preview tomorrow,
PS. What’s on your Spring 2020 horizon?