"Coronation Procession of Charles II, 1661" by Dutch artist Dirck Stoop.
Welcome to the E-Portfolio Site of English 302: Restoration through the Revolutions, taught by Gabrielle Kappes in Spring 2018 at Lehman College. I participated in Lehman's Writing Across the Curriculum 2017-2018 program with Writing Fellow Aaron Botwick. Here you will find my annotated syllabus, assignment guidelines, sample student work, and a final reflection essay on my experience.
E-Portfolio Focus Question
How can digital public platforms be used to enrich student learning, writing, and researching about 18th century literature?
The Role of Writing in English 302
Having as much importance as reading, writing is an essential component of ENG 302: English Literature II, Restoration through the Revolutions. The pedagogical imperative in this course, an upper-level English course required for majors, is that students learn through the process of writing. This process unfolds throughout the semester in a series scaffolded low stakes and high stakes assignments. In these assessments, students utilize literary terminology, critical methods, and various lenses of theoretical interpretation in their writing. Subscribing to the pedagogy that effective writers need effective readers, students learn to become trusted critics of their own and their peers’ work by “writing back” to classmates. This dynamic creates a transparent and on-going conversation about role of writing as it is being constructed.
One of the course’s major writing goals is that students learn how to write both analytically and creatively, that is, to express ideas clearly and incisively in their writing in ways required both inside and outside of the academy. Some of these spaces “outside of the academy” are the digital platforms of Blackboard, Wordpress, the CUNY Academic Commons, and Instagram. Here, students use online tools to “annotate” 18th century literature by evaluating and asking questions about a text’s temporal, social, political, and artistic contexts. By developing technical analysis skills in lower stakes assignments, students can more easily adapt to writing for “real audiences,” that is, higher stake assignments that integrate both primary and secondary sources.
Incorporating Digital Technologies
In Spring 2018, I was fortunate to teach one section of ENG 302 in the English department’s own computer classroom, a lab of twenty-five desktops, two projectors, smart board, and other multi-media capabilities. One course goal was to utilize the resource of this lab in order to foster understanding of both digital or digitized media as a means for the production and dissemination of knowledge. Another goal for these classes was to better grasp the literature and culture of what English scholars call the “long eighteenth-century” by drawing connections between the eighteenth-century print revolution and aspects of the current digital communications revolution. The incorporation of digital tools and assignments are intended to illustrate and provide hands-on experience with this technological shift, as well as to give students a new way into the study and presentation of eighteenth-century cultural materials. And finally, I wanted students to become proficient in the skills of close reading, critical thinking, and literary analysis by using digital and public platforms as a way to work through – and write through – complex ideas and connect to real audiences. The hope was that students would finish the end of the semester with the confidence and motivation to use their writing and their digital technology skills in academic and non-academic areas of their lives.