The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


On Teaching Stories

Submitted by syntaxfactory on January 20, 2016 - 6:20pm

Last night, I was messaging a friend about my class today. With the right friend, you think differently about everything that matters.


Tomorrow, I teach "The Things They Carried" in my class. It's a story about Vietnam. It's a book of stories, really; the title of the book is the title of the first story.
It's a story about what soldiers carry with them -- the 85 pounds of equipment they carried into war, and the psychological stresses that they brought with them into the war, as well as the psychological scars the war created in them.


Teaching Resources on Presentations

Submitted by syntaxfactory on March 17, 2014 - 2:02pm

Below: free instructional films on technical presentations. Featuring undergraduate students from engineering and science, the presentations in these short films apply the assertion-evidence approach to technical presentations. Please feel free to use these films in your teaching.

Rethinking Scientific Presentations (1:37)

Slide Design (9:34)

Delivery (10:21)

As distributed before, model presentations by students can be found at


TAs and MOOCs: Supporting our Newest Colleagues

Submitted by John W. Pell on February 21, 2014 - 2:06pm

In my experience, I have found my colleagues in Rhetoric and Composition to be generous, collaborative, and inquisitive. As a graduate student I was invited to participate in conferences and studies with faculty-mentors, as a job candidate I received advice from mid-career colleagues at conferences, and I even found my time with hiring committees to be instructive.


Welcome Back

Submitted by John W. Pell on September 26, 2013 - 11:41am

It is last week of September and I am assuming that all of us are back teaching, which means its time to take an annual inventory of the types of rhetorically focused being taught across our campuses. If you have a few moments, please respond to this post with courses titles and summaries, and if so inclined, please feel free to share course syllabi. This is a great way to see what our colleagues are up to and to get ideas for courses that might work at our institutions.

I look forward to reading about your courses.

To get the ball-rolling:


Does Tenure Affect Pedagogy?

Submitted by cvcedillo on September 11, 2013 - 1:03am

In case you missed it, The Atlantic's take on the study out of Northwestern that says non-TT faculty outperform TT and tenured faculty when it comes to teaching freshmen undergraduates:

And one take on why the study's terms might not say much:


Syllabus Collection, II

Submitted by syntaxfactory on December 9, 2012 - 12:32am

At the request of Jim Aune, for whom us Blogorites would do anything, I reinstate the History of Rhetoric Syllabus Collection. From about 2000-2004, such a collection was hosted on the ASHR website, but it got lost in a migration.

So, if you teach a history of rhetoric course, and if you are willing to share it with Blogorites, please email it to:
Please indicate whether the course is
Graduate or Undergraduate
Survey or Period (Classical, Medieval, Enlightenment, Modern, etc.)
# of credits (3 or 4), on semesters or quarters


In The Spirit of Halloween: How Zombies Help us Understand Stasis

Submitted by John W. Pell on October 31, 2012 - 4:42pm

The great thing about zombies is that they move relatively slow, which allows the survivors of the apocalypse to discuss issues like hope, civility, and farming. AMC’s "The Walking Dead" portrays these types of conversations in their full existential-glory.


Dylan Dryer in 3Cs: What GTAs bring to the classroom with them...

Submitted by syntaxfactory on March 13, 2012 - 8:04am

Dylan Dryer has given us the best article I've read in the 3Cs in a long time, in the pedagogy department.

"At a Mirror, Darkly: The Imagined Undergraduate Writers of Ten Novice Composition Instructors"


The State of Things....

Submitted by John W. Pell on January 26, 2012 - 12:52pm

I write this post having just completed reading the transcript of The State of the Union Address and an assessment of undergraduate education, specifically writing instruction, sent to me by a colleague at another institution. In both texts I found an interesting refrain: teachers and teaching are crucial to student success, but evaluating successful teaching is best done by external entities, which more often than not, are unfamiliar with either the profession of teaching or the discipline of rhetoric and writing studies.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

Submitted by John W. Pell on December 2, 2011 - 1:54pm

For those of us who teach writing-intensive courses the end of the semester/quarter can certainly be exhausting and frustrating, but also incredibly rewarding. Last night, while returning to my office after a day of student conferences, I found myself making mental notes about the drafts I had been reading and discussing all day.