Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

See, this is why every academic should blog. I tell a round-about story about my frustrations with a class, ask for advice -- in this case, whether I can work a research paper into my upper-division medieval literature survey, even though students already seem to find it "too hard!" -- and I get 26 comments chock full of helpful advice, much of it detailed or with links to the commenters' own guidelines and other handouts. (Rob Barrett and Dr. Crazy, I am definitely going to steal stuff from your handouts and ideas.)

I suppose I could have asked my colleagues, and some of the assistant profs. might have had equally helpful stuff, although I know Victoria doesn't have them do research papers because she worries about taking class time away from the course content (she does have to teach 600-page novels, after all) and Milton prefers to work on their close-reading and poetry-reading skills. And as for my senior colleagues, many have long since given up, I think. In fact, one of my students told me that one of the grumpier old men assigned a research paper and then, when my student asked for some parameters (length, number of citations, etc.), my colleague reportedly said, "You're a senior; you should know that already." So in the days before these here tubes on the internets, I wouldn't have had anyone to turn to. But now I have you!

Three cheers for the mostly anonymous masses of bloggy academics who I feel I know better than my own neighbors and can rely on more than my colleagues!

Boo grumpy, burnt-out senior colleagues! Hooray energetic academic bloggers!


Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Dr. V.

Feel free to swipe anything you want from my teaching pages (the same goes for anyone else reading this blog--if I only wanted my students to see my course documents, I would have put them up on Blackboard and password-protected them.)

My teaching site is here:

Right now the only working course links are those related to my Brit. Lit. survey, my Chaucer class, and my medieval lit. survey. But I have web pages stored away for most of the other classes and can dig them out upon request.

Karl Steel said...

Excellent, RB: I'll have a look.

And DV: per grumpy (or grouchy!) academics, let's all meet back here in 30 years to complain about how our students these days, here, in the Rockies where we all have to live since the rest of America is under water, know nothing!

Dr. Crazy said...

I'm glad you found some of my stuff helpful. In the interest of pseudonymity I won't post my real life info here, but if anyone else is interested, do drop me a note at reassignedtime at yahoo dot com and I'll be happy to pass along what I can :)

Anonymous said...

I posted earlier as "anonymous," and say thanks to RB for zeroing in on the new critics. The theories of new criticism are, well,...outdated. But close reading as a method has lasting usefulness.

And I'd ask Dr. V's grumpy old colleagues: where, exactly, are your seniors "supposed" to have learned how to write a research paper? (what crap!)

Google "writing across the curriculum," as well as "teaching and learning," on these here internets, Dr. V., and you will find further resources on how to better deal with student writing.

Anonymous said...


and ... OUCH!

In my faculty it is the young ones who are 'angry', 'brusque', 'impatient' and 'cock-sure'.

The oldest faculty are serene, wise, charming and endlessly patient and encouraging of both students and younger colleagues.

You may enjoy the following:

Anonymous said...

Plus, not only did you get great advice, it's archived on the web for anyone else in a similiar situation to see.

Perhaps the Chronicle would like to know...?