Cycle Beginnings

First rule of successful blogging is to write regularly, and definitely to never go four months without a post.

No matter how many first weeks of the semester I go through, they always make me kind of excited.  I’ve been addicted to fresh beginnings my whole life and being a perennial student and now an instructor gives me the opportunity to go through them twice a year.  I’ll have a mostly new batch of students, I’ll be in new classes with mostly new professors and a few new classmates.  I’ll have new shoes.

Drawing up my second semester’s syllabus, I thought about what I’d do differently.  Definitely thinking more pragmatic than I was six months ago.  For example, toward the end of last semester I felt lucky if even three or four students did the reading, so this semester I’m thinking about what I should do to raise that number.  I’ve decided to address it by having less readings overall, but more reading responses, and each student is going to present on one reading during the semester.  Another goal I have is to get my students to stand up at least once per classroom, even if I don’t have a reason for it besides to stand up and stretch.  I noticed that anything that wakes them up some like this really improved the participation last semester.

At Texas State, there are two semesters of freshman English.  The first is focused just on learning academic writing, but the second is focused on academic writing AND research.  I’m pretty excited about moving on to the second one, as I feel like it’ll give me more of an opportunity to craft prompts that allow students to explore things that they might not otherwise contemplate.  We’ll see what actually happens though.

My only serious New Year’s resolution was to read more women and more books in translation.

One upcoming thing I’d like to discuss: I’m presenting on choices in video game narratives at the national Pop Culture Association / American Culture Association conference in April.  I’m curious to here any input on meaningful choices in video games.  I’m focusing primarily on three types of changes: aesthetic (like Kentucky Route Zero), rhetorical (Spec Ops: The Line), and social (Fallout, Mass Effect).  Are there equivalents to these kind of choices in other media?  What choices were the most meaningful to you?

Outside content:  They show this video at the McDonald Observatory.  Pretty good for making me feel insignificant/significant.


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