• Grammar,  Questions from Students

    Conjunctions!

    Normally, when we talk about conjunctions, we learn the seven coordinating conjunctions: and, or, nor, for, so, but, and yet. However, there are different types of conjunctions. (Yes, even an English teacher can make this mistake! ha!) Another type of conjunction is the subordinating conjunction. Unfortunately, there are a lot more than seven of these! You can find a list here: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/subordinating-conjunctions/. The third type of conjunction is the correlating conjunction. Here is a quick list: either… or neither… nor not only… but also both… and whether… or so… as If you’d like to brush up on conjunctions, you can visit http://partofspeech.org/conjunction/.    

  • Teaching

    Using Canvas

    I just received a text from a friend who teaches for another institution that is just transitioning over to using Canvas from Blackboard. I well remember the early frustration of trying to get everything re-organized, but now I can’t imagine going back. For those of you struggling to organize your new Canvas course, I thought I’d include a link to an open Canvas course I created for a conference presentation last year. Feel free to browse, but if you click on the ENG 102 button at the bottom, you’ll enter the complete Canvas shell for my ENG102 course, which has been QM certified. I have made some updates since then,…

  • 6x16

    Do you conference?

    One of my favorite perks of teaching on campus is the ability to do student conferences. (Yes, I know you can do student conferences via zoom, which is very useful, but not as fun!) After every paper this semester, I have students come in to see me for about 5-10 minutes. We check their grades, talk about what’s going on in their lives, and I give them candy. 😉 I thought in this last post of this 6×16 session, I’d give you a few of the benefits of one on one student conferencing: Increase student success–often students aren’t aware of what they are missing–or they are too scared to ask…

  • 6x16

    Reflections on Unfiltered Student Feedback on an Online Course

    Last year, I sent two of my online courses through the Quality Matters process. Both my ENG 101 and my ENG 102 courses are now officially Quality Matters certified, and my ENG 101 is serving as the shell for our new English adjuncts. The point, as most of you know, of QM is to ensure that students are getting the best possible course–a course that well-designed and in which the learning activities clearly address the learning outcomes. Even with all of the time and effort it took to create QM certified courses, I still look at them each semester and find things I can do to make them better.  As…

  • 6x16

    Have you used Canva?

    I’ve had several people comment on images/flyers that I’ve created this semester. It always makes me smile because I know how very easy it was to create them! For those of us who don’t have a knack for graphic design, Canva.com offers a fantastic short-cut to well-crafted images and documents. Whether you are wanting to update the look of your online courses or create a flyer advertising your spring classes, Canva.com is a fantastic (and, mostly, free) resource. Just create a free account with Canva, and you, too, can make beautiful flyers like this one (shameless plug for Beth’s amazing Women in Lit course) : women in lit I also…

  • 6x16

    The Power of “My Why”

    At the Summer Institute last May, the keynote speakers talked about helping students to connect with their ‘why’ as a tool to foster student success. I will never forget an illustration of the power of the ‘why’ I heard at an event years ago. Imagine that you are at the top of a 100 story highrise. A 2×4 board is balanced between the top of the building you are standing on and the building 100 feet away. All around you, a blizzard is raging. It’s windy, and snowing so hard you can hardly see. The board is covered with snow and ice. Would you cross that slippery bridge for $1,000?…

  • 6x16

    To Notebowl, or Not to Notebowl…

    I started using Notebowl in my composition classes over the summer in the hopes that it would increase student engagement in discussions. Here we are, at almost the mid-way point in the fall semester, and the jury is still out. Notebowl definitely has some great features, but there are also some significant drawbacks to the user experience. Notebowl promises a better discussion experience for students–one that will increase engagement by looking more like the social media platforms that students are used to. I’m not so sure that Notebowl is significantly better in this regard. Here’s a look at a Notebowl discussion vs a Canvas discussion: Visually, the two discussions are…

  • 6x16

    An Experiment with Badgr

    Last summer, I implemented a new component into all of my courses–Badgr. My goal is to incentivize behaviors that I know will increase my students’ ability to succeed in my course, in their academic careers, and in their futures. I started by making a list of activities that I know increase student success. As I made my list, I included activities that would engage students in the culture of YC, as well as those that are simply habits of successful people. So, students will find options from goal-setting to joining a YC club. Then, I created simple assignments to go along with each activity–take a selfie at a YC event…

  • Grammar,  Questions from Students

    What is an Adverb?

    I received this question from a student this week: “She is a very smart girl. Very is a/an _____________. The correct answer: adverb. I said: adjective. Would you please explain this to me? I thought that all adverbs ended in -ly?” Here is my response: Many adverbs end in -ly; however, not all of them do. Sometimes words that end in ly are not adverbs at all. The function of an adverb is to modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. An adverb answers the questions how? when? where? why? So, in this sentence, “very” answers the question “How smart?” Therefore, it is modifying the word “smart,” which is an…

  • Questions from Students,  Writing Tips

    How to cite a work in an anthology…

    Here’s another question from a student. “Could you remind me on how to cite a poem from a textbook, or do I just cite the chapter the poem is in for our poetry explication paper?” Usually, composition textbooks include some sort of appendix or a chapter on citation formatting. Here is the citation that our textbook (Exploring Literature) gives in Appendix C. Author Last, First. “Title.” Exploring Literature. Frank Madden, ed. New York: Longman, 2012. 1031-1039. Print. As with some older editions, this example does not include the latest MLA updates. I think that most teachers would accept this version as correct, but if you need the latest information on…