40 Years Teaching College Composition


I’ve been fully retired for a year and a half now, and I deleted all my teaching files a couple of months ago, so I can’t pass along any specific course materials. For Labour day, though, I’m going to share the distillation of my 40 years of teaching college composition and other language skills to college and university students, and my studies on how people learn to write from two advanced degrees in mid and late career.

1. Many community college students come in already resistant to taking English,… Read more 40 Years Teaching College Composition

Grammar and Writing

When I was in grade 7 we got to use coloured pencils to underline and label the different parts of speech. I enjoyed both the colour and the naming of the parts. When I was teaching writing, I accepted the going theory that teaching grammar didn’t help people learn to write better; direct feedback on their writing helped students improve as writers.

I always felt a bit guilty because I liked knowing how the sentence worked, and being able to name the parts.

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How the Web, and Credit Cards, Spy on You

Are you paranoid about how much Facebook and Google know about you? To find out if you should be, and to find out what your credit cards know about you, I highly recommend Terry O’Reilly’s podcast on Hyper-Targeting –

With his typical entertaining presentation and deep research, O’Reilly describes how today’s advertisers know what we want and might buy – in immediate and great detail.

I first heard this podcast riding into the city from the suburbs,

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Remixing or The Perversion of Copyright

  1. Kirby Ferguson’s scholarship is truly impressive, as he packs a well-argued understanding of the problems in today’s use of copyright and patent laws into four brief videos.
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    Everything is a Remix Part 1

    Kirby Ferguson

    Wed, Feb 22 2012 16:40:22

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Dreaming The Curriculum – A Re-Post from 2006

With the rapidly changing web environment, much writing is ephemeral, and becomes lost in the past. This is a post I think worth re-posting, about the process of creating curriculum. Most of the links no longer work.

From 2006 –

Dreaming the Curriculum: Oral Rhetoric

This past winter term, I taught a course, Oral Rhetoric, a third-year university course, for the second time. The first time, I taught it using two-hour classroom meetings,

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