My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

September 7, 2023: Fall Semester Previews: American Lit Online

[This week marks the start of the Fall 2023 semester and my 19th year at Fitchburg State. So as ever, I’ll kick off the semester with preview posts, this time focused on ongoing challenges and leading up to an update on my current book project!]

Everything I wrote in yesterday’s post certainly holds true for today’s subject as well—indeed, it’s in my online courses that I’ve seen the most examples of ChatGPT/AI-aided papers. (FYI, if you use ChatGPT to write a paper about a text, it will quite literally invent characters and plotlines that are not present anywhere in that text. Just saying!) But along with those newer challenges, I continue to face a longstanding challenge in my asynchronous online lit classes (one of which I teach every semester, including Am Lit II this Fall): sharing historical and cultural contexts with the students as a secondary but relevant layer to our primary texts/readings. I’ve tried Word documents discussing such contexts (asking students to engage them somehow in their weekly Blackboard posts), and I’ve tried short videos of me doing so (ditto), but I’m not convinced that most students are taking a real look at them, or at least that they’re truly becoming part of our conversations. It’s too close to the Fall semester for me to come up with a radically new way of presenting the contexts this time around, so a combo of documents and short videos it is. But I’m very open to other ideas, for my Spring online course and for the future of my teaching in this medium.

Last preview post tomorrow,


PS. What do you think? Fall previews you’d share?

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