Initial Comments about the CEAT Summer Bridge Program

In a meeting yesterday, I was offered and accepted a position teaching English for the Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology’s Summer Bridge Program. It seems a good program for the school to have, and I look forward to working with the incoming students in it. Perhaps some of them will show up in the classes I have been assigned for the Fall 2015 term. (I do not have my full rosters at this point, but given my teaching load and what I have seen so far, I can reasonably expect to have a number of freshmen in the classes, and I have no doubt that some will be from the College with which I accepted the new position.)

I have not taught students at the college-preparatory level since 2013, so I admit that I am perhaps a bit out of practice with it. As such, the opportunity to refresh the skill-set such teaching requires will be welcome. So will the opportunity to help students get a head start on their work; perhaps it will help them and those with whom they interact in the future.

Initial Comments for the Fall 2015 Term at Oklahoma State University

I am scheduled to teach four classes in the Fall 2015 term at Oklahoma State University. Three of them are sections of ENGL 1113: Composition I. The fourth is a section of ENGL 2413: Introduction to Literature. I have taught both before, so I have some experience on which to draw as I develop course materials and assignment sequences, although I will be making some alterations from how I taught the classes last time I was assigned them.

In the composition classes, I have a prescribed assignment sequence, one that is being maintained from the previous composition director (so far as I know; I have asked the incoming director about the matter and received word that no major changes are planned at this point). Students in my sections will write a literacy narrative, a profile, a textual analysis, and an evaluative essay. I had previously linked the latter two assignments together, having students select a single editorial from the New York Times as the subject for both. I mean to expand the linking through the whole term; students will narrate their experience reading the editorial and will conduct the textual analysis and evaluation on it. I am not entirely certain yet, though, how to negotiate the profile. Thoughts that occur include profiling the paper, the author of the editorial, or the theoretical reader of the New York Times, but I am not sure how well any of those will work. Thoughts about it will be welcome.

The literature class is not so programmatic. I am obliged to use a standard text, and there are institutional requirements of addressing diversity and administering a “substantial” exam during the assigned exam period, but other than that, I have great latitude. Since the required text treats the ur-genres of prose, poetry, and drama, a tripartite discussion seems warranted; since my past experience teaching the class suggests that a single, extended project will not work well, the tripartite structure would seem to map neatly into three short papers, each some 1200 to 1500 words in length, and each focusing one a work in one of the ur-genres. I mean to address the diversity requirement through consideration of works’ treatments of either socioeconomic status or postcolonial identity, as those are the areas with which I am most conversant and comfortable teaching such a class. In addition, I will continue my practices of having students post to discussion boards (facilitated by learning management systems in place as the institution) and of administering the occasional quiz as a means to study for the mandated final exam (which will consist of questions about literary-critical terminology and short-answer questions asking after interpretive work–although I have yet to write the thing).

For all four sections, I mean to continue my earlier practice of offering reports of classroom activities, and I hope to resume my yet earlier practice of providing examples of the kind of work I want to see my students do. The past few terms have not been as good about the latter as they ought to have been, and I need to correct that unfortunate tendency. Materials are still in development, of course, and likely will be until near the beginning of the upcoming term; I will post them as they become available.

Welcome to Elliott Research, Writing, and Instruction

I have for some time maintained online teaching materials, and I have every intention of continuing to do so. I do, however, feel that I need to do more with my professional online presence than simply write reports of classroom activities and maintain course materials; I do more than teach, and that “more” needs representation. Hence the shift to a WordPress site from the previous materials and the reorganization of my professional online presence as Elliott Research, Writing, and Instruction–Elliott RWI.

Initial plans for the site include

  • Hosting research projects that further my research agenda and can serve as examples for students, scholars, and potential employers
  • Presenting and/or linking to writing endeavors I have had and continue to pursue
  • Providing course materials and class reports for the benefit of students enrolled in the classes I teach and for those I tutor privately (as well as linking to the agency through which I conduct tutoring)
  • Maintaining a professional online presence and portfolio

Other materials may accumulate as time passes, and the site may reorganize from time to time. For now, though, it seems this will be a decent beginning.

-Geoffrey B. Elliott