Teaching at Ohio State University

                                English 220/2220:

Introduction to Shakespeare

                   (SU 2011WI 2012SP 2012, SP 2013, SU 2013, AU 2013)

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 1.46.09 PMCourse Description: This popular GEC course is designed to introduce students to the works of William Shakespeare. Students read five-seven plays from different genres. Students learn the important issues and vocabulary appropriate to the study of Shakespeare, including literary, theatrical, and socio-historical concepts & terms. Students develop analytical, close reading, and critical thinking skills, and apply these talents in well-developed essays and exam answers. I have students produce PowerPoint presentations to introduce plays, view either live performance and/or film to compose a review, and perform a Shakespearean scene publicly, in addition to researched essays.

 For Winter quarter 2012,  I added some new plays so that I can continue to expand my Shakespearean teaching canon. Furthermore, I incorporated more of the Stand-Up for Shakespeare methods that I have been studying with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s OSU workshops. Specifically, I have students “Do It On Their Feet!,” that is, working through the language and character interactions by reading the scenes aloud in small groups and then discussing plot points, characterization, major motifs, etc.

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 1.45.59 PMIn the Spring quarter 2012, I taught 220 again but I worked closely with Dr. Eric Johnson of the Rare Books Room (through a competitively won OSU Library’s Course Enhancement Grantto develop a rare books skills-based version of the course.

For spring semester 2013, I began incorporating some Global Shakespeare. We read a few essays on the topic and each student watched a live performance from the MIT Global Shakespeares archive, and wrote a short review. Several of those reviews are featured on this blog.

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 11.28.54 AM

Summer 2013 and Autumn 2013, I tried a different course focus–Shakespeare and pop culture/post-modern appropriations. Students added images, film and performance clips, and memes to a Pinterest board, writing for a public audience, choosing and evaluating pins, and making curatorial choices. In lieu of a traditional essay, students re-imagined a chosen sonnet in a new medium.

On 5 June 2012, the students of English 220 “Introduction to Shakespeare” hosted their own special exhibition of the 17th-century dramatic texts they worked with intensively throughout term. The course was funded by an OSU Library Course Enhancement Grant to integrate the rich holdings of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library’s Stanley J. Kahrl Collection of Renaissance and Restoration Drama into the fabric of the course. Dr. Eric J. Johnson was the dedicated curator/librarian for the course. Students each chose an original play to work with throughout the quarter, creating a bibliographical report of the play summarizing its plot, highlighting its major themes, noting any interesting physical features of the text, and creating brief author biographies. In addition to producing formal papers on their “adopted” plays, the students also worked together in small groups to create this thematic exhibition of original drama and drama-related texts.

I have had one lesson plan/teaching reflection on having students stage the banqueting scene in Titus Andronicus included in Nouvelles Nouvelles, a newsletter published four times by the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at The Ohio State University.

Works Taught:  As You Like It, Cymbeline, Hamlet, 1 Henry IV, Henry V, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Richard III, The Sonnets, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus, Twelfth Night

 English 275: 

You Are Who You Eat: Cannibalistic Thinking in Literature

(AU 2011)

Bob's poster Course Description: English 275/2275: Thematic Approaches to Literature is offered twice a year, and graduate students in the English department compete by creating a syllabus and course rationale to teach one of the sections. The Undergraduate Studies Committee chose my course design from a pool of fifteen applicants to teach a section for AU 2011. “You Are Who You Eat: Cannibalistic Thinking in Literature” is a 200-level GEC course consisting of 39 students from all majors, disciplines, and from freshmen to senior standing. Students explore depictions of cannibalism in a variety of texts as well as in several films. The course moves across time and space in the Western canon from familiar European fairy tales to Greco-Roman myths, from Biblical passages to Renaissance drama, and finally to the American frontier. Students consider cannibalism from anthropological, psychological, philosophical, religious, cinematic, and other theoretical approaches, which is reflected in the midterm and final exams (definitions and short answers). Students compose an extended analysis of the dark comedy Ravenous that synthesizes course readings and themes.

English 1110.02 First-Year Composition (Literature Focus): 

Sensible Texts & Sensate Writing (AU 2012)

Our senses are indeed our doors and windows on this world, in a very real sense the key to the unlocking of meaning and the wellspring of creativity.
- Jean Houston

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 1.45.45 PMIn this particular section of English 1110.02, students focus on works that concern the five senses.  A lot of scholarship has been focused recently on sensory studiesthe consideration of human anthropological and biological convergence in the arts, humanities, and sciences. While there has been this recent interdisciplinary move, writers of poetry and fiction know that the fullest, most palpable, most human of texts must attend to the senses. In this course, students read a variety of texts—fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, philosophy, memoir, film—that not only incorporate sensate and sensuous details, but specifically focus on, challenge, complicate, augment, and otherwise make us rethink how we think about how our bodies sense and perceive. Students will learn how to read closely, how to analyze literature, the appropriate terms and vocabulary for discussing and writing about literature, and will read a variety of works in the modern Western tradition.

 English 110.01/1110.01: First-Year Composition 

Don’t Judge an E-Book by its Cover: the Rhetoric and Representation of Postmodern Reading Practices

(SP 2015)

In the Spring 2015 semester, I was selected to be one of Ohio State’s first cohort of instructors teaching an online version of the college composition course. In this distance learning class, I decided on the course theme “Don’t Judge an eBook by its Cover: the Rhetoric and Representation of Postmodern Reading Practices.” Students are asked to be self-reflective on their online reading and composing practices, both due to the nature of the readings I have chosen (such as the debate on eBook versus physical texts, the fetishizing of old books, redesigned book covers of literary classics, etc.) and as every step of their writing process calls for reflection as well. As in my face-to-face classes, students compose and revise a scaffolded writing assignment, choosing a primary source based on our course theme (for example, a trailer for a book, an online reading app, etc.), first composing a short rhetorical analysis of the primary source, and then incorporating secondary sources as they expand the paper into a larger analytical essay. In lieu of a traditional speaking component, students emulate a TEDTalk format—more specifically Pecha Kucha—in which students will speak for 20 seconds each about 20 visuals chosen to accompany their final project.  Students peer review the work of classmates in the other online sections through a course-sharing platform called the Writers’ Exchange, and students offer helpfulness feedback to their reviewers before reflecting upon how they will revise before the next step of the scaffolded project.

 English 110.01/1110.01: First-Year Composition

(AU 2010, WI 2011, SP 2011)

 Course Description: In this first-year writing course (a GEC requirement for almost all incoming students), the 21-24 students (mostly freshman) develop their capacity for undertaking academic research and analysis through an original research project and presentation of the results of their work to an audience of their peers. Working from the course theme, they have to identify an area and primary source to analyze, develop analytical research questions, explore secondary texts, and make claims that are connected to the evidence they discover. They continue to revise and expand their primary source analysis into a longer research essay. Then the students revise and rewrite that same essay with the goal of publication in Commonplace, for which the students also serve editors.

For the first year of teaching English 110, all instructors teach the same prompts and follow the same curriculum, but each instructor chooses his or her own theme (with accompanying texts). My course theme was “The Rhetoric of the Modern Meal.”

Teaching Assistant/Grader: 

English 520/4520: Shakespeare 

  • under Humanities Distinguished Professor and English Department Chair Richard Dutton
  • Winter 2012
  • Duties: Attending Lectures, Grading Student Exams and Essays, Holding Office Hours

English 3378: Special Topics in Film and Literature (18th c. Literature and Cinematic Adaptation) 

  • under Professor Sandra Macpherson
  • Fall 2012
  • Duties: Attending Lectures, Grading Student Exams and Essays, Contributing Prompts for Essay and Exam Questions, Recording and Maintaining Attendance Records, Holding Office Hours

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