Category: Teaching

  • “It depends on what you mean by use”: teaching and learning in the arts now

    I was going to write to celebrate Tolkien Reading Day (March 25) as I usually do, with a post on “Leaf by Niggle,” one of the texts recommended by the Tolkien Society for this year’s theme of Nature vs. Industry. However, as we were approaching Tolkien Reading Day, COVID-19 cases started to pop up in […]

  • Adaptation as Analysis, part 3: “Misty Mountains” video

    This is the third post showcasing the work of some of my students in my Tolkien and medievalism class this year. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 at these links. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I give my students the option of creating an adaptation in any medium of Tolkien’s work or […]

  • An exercise for active reading of the syllabus

    “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham   It’s syllabus-writing season! Here’s an exercise I devised several years ago that I’m still using to promote students’ active thinking about course policies — and faculty understanding of how students perceive course requirements and regulations. The article explaining my exercise was published in the Atlantic Universities’ […]

  • Widsith, D&D, Fanworks, and Films: Another Year in ENGL 4475

    ENGL 4475: the year in review I’ve filed away my course notes and given out the final grades. ENGL 4475: Tolkien & Myth-making is officially over for the 2016-17 academic year. The project proposals, annotated bibliographies, abstracts, research papers, and exams are all done now. What’s left is my delight at the many ways my […]

  • Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s LotR has arrived (for real this time)

    I can now definitively say that Leslie Donovan’s Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works is available. Back in July, I posted an announcement of the book’s August release, but it’s only this week that I’ve received my copies from the publisher and that I’ve noticed the book is available […]

  • Teaching Tolkien’s Works: new book and journal

    Approaches to Teaching Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Other Works is a volume of essays published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) in their Approaches to Teaching World Literature series. The book, to be released tomorrow, August 1st, is edited by Leslie Donovan, and contains essays on teaching Tolkien’s works in various programs […]

  • An imagined dystopian LotR film

    Today I have a post that combines my interests in both Tolkien and pedagogy. In one of my English courses, Studies in Medievalism: Tolkien and Myth-making, I ask students to read the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and some of the medieval literature that influenced him. We also consider later adaptations of Tolkien’s fiction in various […]

  • Think like a Professor! — or, how to defeat syllabus boredom

    It’s the beginning of the semester for most university professors. Do you dread having to stand in front of your students reading from your course outline? Do you feel it’s a futile gesture, knowing that many of them will forget or ignore the information in the syllabus? In order to defeat the boredom of the […]

  • Beyond the research essay: women’s lit & archival research in an undergraduate course

    Originally posted on MSVU English Department Blog:
    by Anna Smol If you’ve walked along the fifth floor of Seton or through the tunnel linking Evaristus and Rosaria, you might have noticed a series of posters called “Pieces of Activist History: Betty Peterson Protest Buttons.” Produced by students in English 2242 (Themes in Women’s Writing), these…

  • Invoking the spirit of Elizabeth Elstob

    “What has a Woman to do with Learning?”*  That was a question that Elizabeth Elstob had to deal with in her lifetime (1683-1756), as her study of languages and of Old English in particular existed in precarious circumstances relying, it seems, on the support and encouragement of her brother William and a few friends. Even […]