Teaching + Learning News 1.03

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 13.38.34

  • 2014-05-09
  • Semi-occasional reports on the world of higher-education teaching and learning, as seen from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Arts. By Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching + Learning): saving your inbox from overload since 2014. Follow me on Twitter, if you do that sort of thing.
  • Submissions of news stories are always welcome. Leave a comment below, or e-mail me: artsadtl{at}ucalgary{dot}ca.

Continue reading

Down with Essays!

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 14.18.02This term I gave my students in English 410 (Elizabethan Poetry + Prose) an unconventional assignment. For their final critical papers, they had to make a compelling and effective argument about poetry’s function and purpose, and cite primary evidence from the poets and critics we read this term (Spenser, Sidney, Whitney, et al.)

The key feature of these papers is that they couldn’t be, well, papers: they had to adopt any form that would lend itself to a critical argument, so long as it was not an essay. I used Daniel O’Donnell’s model, as I’ve done in the past, and as my friend Ryan Cordell has, too.

The Unessay Assignment set my students the task of thinking outside the essay-shaped box that their education has taught them, and adopting the rhetorical form that would best present their argument. That meant any form or media — except a conventional research essay — that makes a compelling and effective argument using textual evidence. Continue reading