"I am a Minnesotan by birth and a traveler in wild places by vocation and compulsion." -Paul Gruchow

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Looking Ahead: Spring Eng. 252

I'm lucky enough to be able to teach another section of Intro to Fiction next semester, a spectacular opportunity on so many levels. I've mentioned before on this blog that because my time at UNL is short, it's my goal never to teach the same syllabus twice. This next semester, with my Natural Disasters 150 I'm halfway to that goal. With this new 252, I have another opportunity to stretch myself and make the most of the experience.

The first thing that's obviously different is that the class is MWF, not just once a week. And while I taught a variety of place-based fiction this semester, next semester we're reading contemporary Irish fiction. We'll be using the Vintage Book of Contemporary Irish Fiction (ed. Dermot Bolger) and Joseph O'Connor's Star of the Sea. I'm coming to understand, practically, how important it is for students to read both short fiction and novels in fiction classes, something I've only known intellectually. I'm really excited to broaden their perspectives about what writing is happening in the world, as well as my own.

So, the other stupendous opportunity is that--as it stands right now--I'm going to be collaborating with my delightful friend Dawn Duncan, who is a brilliant Irish Lit/postcolonial scholar, who is also teaching O'Connor's Star of the Sea in her Contemporary Brit Lit class. So we're putting together some ideas about how we can foster cross-over between her literature class and my creative writing class, reading the same book. Her class is in Moorhead, MN and mine is in Lincoln, Nebraska. That also provides some challenges.

I've never done anything like this before and I would love some feedback from those of you who use more technology than I do in the classroom. Would you suggest a blog? Pen pals? Skype dates with both classes? How would you best foster an environment where one class who is studying this book as literature can easily converse with a class who is studying this book as writers?

What fantastic ideas could you suggest?

1 comment:

  1. Have you considered a facebook page for the Book? You could use the invite only option and have your students post or use notes to discuss the book. We used this method in an undergrad class a few years ago and it was pretty successful. Here is the page.