Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category


The view from the podium

I’ve been agonizing over laptops again.  Every year or two, something comes around to make me question whether I should allow (require?) students to have laptops in the classroom.  This year, it’s two articles: Dan Rockmore’s “The Case for Banning Laptops” in the New Yorker and Rebecca Schuman’s response in Slate, “In Defense of Laptops in the College Classroom.”

For a long time, I agreed with Schuman’s position, which is basically that if students are stupid enough to spend their time surfing the internet instead of focusing on class, we should let them.   (more…)


Read Full Post »

I’m finally making my way through some texts I’m hoping to either assign for my fall course on Environmental Advocacy or ones I hope will help me coherently lead class discussions.

I’m considering as a text for the class Bill McKibben’s anthology American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau.  The book has a ton of advantages: two full sets of gorgeous color plates, excerpts from writings by over a hundred authors, a comprehensive chronology–it’s basically every single thing you could want in an environmental anthology.  Its major drawback is the drawback of most anthologies–because it tries to be comprehensive, many of the readings are too short from my point of view.  Obviously, I can pick and choose and assign the best of what’s here, but in my experience, it’s a lot more work for me to go hunt down the texts, make my own selections, format those, and somehow distribute them to students.  Oh well–that’s my job.  Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying dipping into the anthology and discovering new authors and new ideas. (more…)

Read Full Post »