Interview with novelist Carol Goodman

Carol Goodman is the author of fourteen novels and the winner of many literary prizes. She teaches creative writing at The New School and SUNY New Paltz. Her work frequently engages the past, including her latest novel The Metropolitans. This winter, I sent her a handful of questions about how she understands and employs history…

Encouraging students to fail

My university’s Center for Teaching and Learning has created reading groups in each of the university’s eight schools. The reading group for the School of Arts and Humanities has decided to read Linda B. Nilson’s Specifications Grading: Restoring Rigor, Motivating Students, and Saving Faculty Time (2015). Nilson proposes a grading system called specs grading that…

Neoliberalism and DH in the classroom

A recent Los Angeles Book Review piece argues that the digital humanities’ “most significant contribution to academic politics may lie in its (perhaps unintentional) facilitation of the neoliberal takeover of the university.” The article has series flaws, and insightful reactions have come from Matthew Kirshbaum, Alan Liu, and (I have to acknowledge UTD graduate) Michele Rosen. I am participating this…

Evaluating Digital Humanities Projects

I am teaching introductory digital humanities courses this spring at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Both courses have three goals. Students will engage in scholarly conversation on the key issues in the field. Students will learn to critically evaluate works of digital scholarship. Students produce a piece of original digital scholarship. We recently pivoted…

Motivation and Community

A few months ago, someone invited me to a hidden Facebook group for college-level instructors to ask questions, share successes, and vent frustrations. I recently left this group after having enough of the unceasing student-bashing. The most common complaint among these instructors is similar to the one I hear most from friends and colleagues, “these…

Reports from Pedagogical Research, Part 1: Debunking Differentiation

Last month I complained about the anti-intellectualism exhibited when historians dismiss and even disparage research in teaching and learning. This semester I am trying to read through research in several pedagogy journals including, The Review of Higher Education, Review of Educational Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Learning and Instruction, and Educational Research Review. My first observation is that faculty can control…

The anti-intellectualism of historians in the classroom

Over the past several months, I have seen at least a half dozen academic friends circulate a piece from the Huffington Post College blog, entitled, “A Message to My Freshman Students.” The piece touches on some important issues regarding the differences between college-level and secondary-level instruction. I appreciate the author’s attempt to meet his students…

Benediction for spring

For at least the past year, my blogging here has been obsessed with beginnings and endings. This post will continue, and perhaps fittingly, end that trend. This spring, I tried to think deliberately about how to create a memorable moment at the very end of the semester. While attending a church service, I was struck by…