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Creativity required: How COVID-19 accelerated change in design and arts education

October 13, 2020

Liz Cohen wasn’t eager to teach online. The Guggenheim-winning associate photography professor, who considers herself a people person, didn’t think it was for her.

When COVID-19 happened, Cohen threw herself into figuring out “how to use this (ASU SyncASU Sync is synchronous, technology-enhanced and fully interactive remote learning using live lectures via Zoom. This approach can be used simultaneously with in-person instruction to accommodate students in different circumstances and enable physical distancing in classrooms or as stand-alone technology. It offers the benefits of face-to-face instruction in an interactive group learning environment. ASU launched this teaching format for the fall 2020 semester, after pivoting to all-remote learning in the spring when the pandemic hit.) platform in ways that are interesting.”

To her surprise, she said, “I like it. COVID has taught us something — not that I’m going to give COVID too big a pat on the back.” She appreciates the “dynamic relationship” between herself and the students — "there’s banter, and everyone’s engaged”—and she likes the ease and convenience of teaching via ASU Sync.

On Zoom, Cohen requires each student in her photography studio on labor and representation to use a different background related to that topic, which the student explains to the group.

“It’s a great way for me to assess where they’re at,” Cohen said. “And we learn about labor movements around the world.” 

Many of her students are also fans of the platform. Zonnie Notah-Begay, a senior in Cohen’s class, says she actually prefers ASU Sync learning in some ways.

“I am really a shy and introverted person who doesn't like interacting with anyone,” said Notah-Begay. “The computer provides another wall for me to keep that boundary up.”

Paradoxically, Notah-Begay says that ASU Sync has helped her talk and engage more than she would in person.

“Liz's class is a studio class, which means there are critiques, and Sync has helped me be more involved. In in-person critiques I am very quiet and rarely give my feedback, which is a shame.”

ASU School of Art Associate Professor Liz Cohen leads her Labor and Representation students via Zoom.

ASU School of Art Associate Professor Liz Cohen leads her labor and representation students via Zoom. Cohen requires each student in her photography studio to use a different background related to that topic, which the student explains to the group.

Alice Buyer, also a senior in Cohen’s class, does miss human interaction. But she says there’s a lot about ASU Sync learning she likes, especially not having to commute to campus anymore.

“Parking passes on campus are very expensive, and riding my bike to campus feels like a chore when it’s so hot. I really love that I can get out of bed, make my coffee and sit on my couch to attend class.” 

“I think I was surprised at how well (ASU Sync) actually works,” Buyer said. “I was surprised at how well everyone was able to make the technology aspect work. All of my professors picked up on how to utilize the technology fairly quickly for a smooth experience.” 

“We’ve been at the forefront of teaching design and arts online, and we’ve been pushing ourselves to do more in that arena,” said Herberger Institute Dean Steven J. Tepper, who points to Betsy Fahlman in art history and Max Underwood in architecture as two pioneers of online learning in the institute. In 2018, the School of Art launched its online digital photography degree, one of the first in the country.

Even so, Tepper said, “We certainly didn’t anticipate having to move 1,000 courses online in five days, which was what happened in March. That experience pushed us to recognize that a lot of what we do can in fact be done through technology, because creativity doesn’t exist in a specific tool or a technology — it’s in whatever idea we can conceive of and develop. And the moment we’re in forces us to be creative and really use that muscle.”

Looking back at the spring, Joe Burgstaller, world-renowned trumpet player and associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, described the jump to online as “an adaptation to online where we accomplished everything that we had planned for in-person.” He calls the current semester “an aggressive plan taking full advantage of this specific modality.”

Burgstaller and his colleagues spent the summer figuring out how to fully leverage the technology and use it to their students’ advantage. As an example, the brass faculty released a video of their virtual performance of the “Love Theme to Cinema Paradiso, ” produced using only resources that are free to ASU students, such as BandLab and Adobe Creative Suite.

“COVID is not decelerating your learning process — it’s reordering it,” Burgstaller said. “We’re in this situation where we can make a lot of difference in helping students learn technology skills that are usually acquired later or once musicians are out of school. In my era as a student, these are all skills I learned on my own and use intensively.”

Burgstaller also noted that in-person ensemble skills will be “greatly enhanced” this semester. Under typical circumstances when playing in-person, faculty encourage students to record their sessions so that they can listen back and more effectively understand what to refine and how to implement what they are learning. Now, using this collaborative recording-studio technology, students are passing their recordings back and forth, building a virtual ensemble from the ground up and gaining a different depth of understanding.

“They’re taking ownership,” Burgstaller said of the students, “which is really what we want. The teaching dynamic is a partnership. This situation is enhancing their power and agency.”

For this Happy Birthday Project, ASU trumpet students Mason Christofferson, Gage Ellis, Taylor Hubbard and Joel Uliassi perform together virtually, arranged by Hubbard. 

Another perk: Former students who have “made it” in the music world can Zoom in to talk to Burgstaller’s class more readily.

“This would not have happened with this frequency under normal circumstances,” Burgstaller said. “We’d have guests, but not access to as many guests and not as often. And with the guests, students are getting an opportunity to immediately address what's going on in the world.”

Dellan Raish, who graduated in the spring with a bachelor's degree in architectural studies and is currently a student in the master's degree program, said the special guests were one of his favorite aspects of the ASU Sync learning experience. For the final-review Zoom call in his studio with Marc Neveu, director of the architecture program in The Design School, “the students were able to receive valuable critiques from reviewers all over the world, which would not have been possible outside of Zoom. Another benefit was the ability to record the meeting and watch back your presentation and all the comments you received. This helps tune your project and presentation skills for future reviews.”

Raish also appreciated the reduced travel time to and from the studio.

“Without having to take an extra 30 minutes to and from class, I was able to spend more time working on projects. An extra hour each day cut out of travel time was immensely beneficial to my schedule, with the important benefit of reducing carbon emissions,” he said.

Neveu is a long-time advocate of new approaches to teaching architecture, in a discipline that he says was slow to change.

“In architecture, the idea of the studio, the lecture, these are things that are just embedded in our academic culture,” he said. “When I was in school, the default setting was you go to studio from 1 to 6, and then you’re there till 2 in the morning.” Today, he says, when students work more and may have families of their own, that model doesn’t work as well.

“When (the pandemic) happened, we had the ability to question things we had always taken for granted,” Neveu said. “Now all of a sudden, you're looking at a Zoom call, and you’ve got 16 students looking back at you. You can't sit there for five hours. It just doesn't work.”

Beyond the Zoom grid: ASU School of Music’s Joe Burgstaller, John Ericson, Brad Edwards and Deanna Swoboda perform “together” thanks to technology.

Neveu echoes Tepper’s assertion that design and arts education is about teaching people how to think creatively.

“A good architect can frame problems in new ways: How does this work? How can I fix it? Our job isn’t just to tell people about architecture, but it’s really about a way of thinking. I think the spring semester was a way of bracing ourselves, but there’s a silver lining in this. After the pandemic, the architecture program voted unanimously to go forward with a professional online program. Before that, we were talking about how we could teach history or software online — but not studio.”

Cynthia Roses-Thema, a principal lecturer in dance in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, is also an advocate of teaching design and the arts in an online environment. She has taught dance online at ASU for nine years.

“The stumbling block sometimes is that teaching creativity requires digital tools and learning systems that are more open and flexible to potential and possible outcomes rather than fixed right answers,” Roses-Thema said. “With each new digital tool that ASU provides there are more creative possibilities, but I feel we are only at the beginning.”

Roses-Thema said because so many of ASU’s dance alumni teaching in the Arizona public schools had already experienced dance online as students, unlike other dance teachers they “were not frightened to transfer dance online.”

A woman dances in a studio wearing a mask

Carley Conder, clinical assistant professor of dance, teaches postmodern dance to students both in the studio and via Zoom. She wears scrunchies on her right wrist and right ankle to make it easier for the students online to be sure of right and left.

Carley Conder, clinical assistant professor of dance in the school and founder of the company CONDER/dance, has made several adaptations in teaching postmodern dance in hybrid fashion, which means a portion of the students are online and a portion are in person for any given class period. Those adaptations include a complex sound configuration, the result of troubleshooting by dance faculty for almost a month before classes started in the fall, that includes students in the studio (masked and physically distanced), students on Zoom and a remote musician; wearing a scrunchie on her right wrist and right ankle so that online students can easily determine right from left, and devoting the last 10 minutes of the class to the online students.

For David Olarte, also a clinical assistant professor in dance and an expert in Latino social dance, the challenge of teaching a hybrid class is multiplied. Typically, he said, there might have been 80 students in a studio for a salsa class, dancing in pairs; today there are about a dozen, each one inside a 12-foot square so dancers can remain at least 6 feet away from each other, plus another dozen students on Zoom.

“We’ve had to reimagine and relook at how we view partnering this whole semester," Olarte said. "We look at self as partner and focus on elements we use in partnership. We look at how we’re using our footwork, how we’re interpreting musicality. We still have to have meaningful connections, but now it’s about learning how to project and connect without physical touch.”

During a virtual town hall for New American Film School students in August, faculty members explained that the ways students are having to create in this moment mirror the ways professionals in their field are doing it. Because the pandemic is global, artists around the world, at every level, are being forced to figure out new ways to make and present their work. (Who could have predicted a virtual Emmys ceremony, with celebrities accepting awards in their own homes?)

Film is usually very collaborative — think cast and crew on a set — which means it requires very different approaches to production now that people need to be physically distanced. But as Andres Torres, an award-winning filmmaker who is a professor of practice, told students, “If you focus on what you don’t have, you never make anything. If you focus on what you do have — more access to faculty, more flexibility with faculty — you can do great things. That’s what creativity is. We can talk about limitations, but there are also all these challenges we can use to make great art.”

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist , Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


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These 12 spring ASU English courses will make you rethink … everything

October 13, 2020

“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.”

— Octavia Butler

Viruses, vaccines, voting, virtual fatigue and Vespa mandarinia (remember “murder hornets”?): 2020 certainly has given us much to ponder. With such challenges afoot, the Department of English at Arizona State University has curated an eye-opening, uplifting course list for spring 2021 to help you cope.

ASU English promises an “aha!” moment or two in its upcoming sessions on leadership, plague literature, videogames, borderlands poetry and internet language. Courses on African American literature, environmental media, fiction writing and culturally relevant classrooms also bring fresh takes.

Some offerings provide historical context for understanding the present moment. Others develop practical skills for the future.

Registration information for these and a sampling of other spring semester classes is provided below. Find more in the ASU class schedule (search by “ENG,” “FMS,” “LIN”  or “APL” prefixes), searchable by both online and in-person/ASU Sync options.

1. ENG 472 – Rhetoric of Leadership

 Andy Bosselman, Streetsblog Denver on Flickr.

Greta Thunberg addresses climate strikers at Civic Center Park in Denver. Photo credit Andy Bosselman, Streetsblog Denver on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0.

What it is: Leadership is more than a job description or character trait; it’s a complex rhetorical practice. ENG 472 – Rhetoric of Leadership develops skills in rhetorical analysis and discusses strategies for navigating challenges in current and/or future leadership positions. At the end of the course, students will be able to formulate a solution to a contemporary public crisis.

Why it matters: From global pandemics to wide-scale social unrest, 2020 has shown us that being leader means encountering moments of crisis. In an election year, informed citizens have an opportunity to closely consider and choose leaders who inspire positive social, political and institutional transformation.

Who’s in charge: Assistant Professor Jacob Greene developed and manages this online course, to which a number of award-winning ASU faculty – including Krista RatcliffeKathleen LampKeith MillerStacey MoranPeter Goggin and Kyle Jensen – contributed lectures and assignments. Greene, a specialist in digital writing, is the co-editor of issue four of the writing, media and ecology journal Trace, themed “Writing New Material for Digital Culture” (2020).

Who should take it: Undergraduates of any major currently enrolled in ASU Online and who have interests in rhetoric, writing, literacy, leadership, communication, persuasion, argument, advocacy or politics. Limited iCourse seats for Tempe campus undergraduate students are also available. Some prerequisites apply; see course catalog for specifics.

If you register: Rhetoric of Leadership (class # 29813) is offered through ASU Online in Session A and as a Tempe campus i-course (class # 20993). 

2. ENG 414 – Studies in Linguistics: Language on the Internet

 Internet Slang Added to Oxford English Dictionary. Image by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML  from PC World. Used under CC-BY-NC-ND 2009

OMG! LOL: Internet Slang added to Oxford English Dictionary. Image from PC World created by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML / SML. Used under CC-BY-NC-ND 2009.

What it is: This course is an exploration of the history and analysis of memes, emoji, typographical tone of voice, and more. ENG 414 – Language on the Internet offers a framework for treating internet language as a valid area for empirical research. Participants are encouraged to draw from their own experiences.

Why it matters: “Because Internet.” That’s the title of a 2019 book by Gretchen McCulloch – also this course’s text and its central premise: that we must understand the digital forces acting upon language if we are to communicate with each other in meaningful ways.

Who’s in charge: Assistant Professor Kathryn Pruitt is a phonologist – someone who studies systems of sounds in languages – and teaches in the linguistics and applied linguistics program in the Department of English.

Who should take it: Any undergraduate with an interest in language, linguistics, communication, digital media, popular culture, technology or internet culture who has met language course prerequisites; see course catalog for details.

If you register: Language on the Internet (class # 21050) meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus or on Zoom via ASU Sync.

3. FMS 394 – Media and the Environment

Dump sampling of computer waste. Image courtesy Basil Action Network on Flickr.

BAN investigator Clement Lam takes a soil sample along a riverside where circuit boards were treated with acid and burned openly. Image from Basel Action Network on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0.

What it is: How do natural landscapes factor into the production, design, and use of media technologies and infrastructures? FMS 394 – Media and the Environment is an introduction to critical and theoretical approaches within media studies that explores the relationship between humans, media technologies and our environments. Students arrive at an understanding that all media — from stone, to paper, to film, to television, to the internet – are assemblages of both nature and culture.

Why it matters: In an era of climate change, a purely mediated reality poses an existential challenge for the future. How do we make our media sustainable?

Who’s in charge: Assistant Professor Lisa Han, whose past work has focused on mediation of seabed landscapes, is the course instructor. She has also published work on fetal ultrasound, abortion media and internet freedom.

Who should take it: Undergraduates in any major who have an interest in film, media, technology, environmental engineering, infrastructure, sustainability, digital humanities or environmental humanities.

If you register: Media and the Environment (class # 30237) meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync.

4. ENG 294 – Plagues, Epidemics and Literature

The black death in London. Woodcut, circa 1665. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

The black death in London. Woodcut, circa 1665. Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

What it is: The COVID-19 pandemic will be one of the defining cultural experiences of our time, but for centuries human beings have confronted and been shaped by epidemic diseases. ENG 294 – Plagues, Epidemics and Literature, a timely introduction to the burgeoning health humanities field, analyzes narratives of epidemic, contagion and quarantine — past, present and future. What do these stories reveal about how communities respond?

Why it matters: In this global watershed moment, considering cultural responses to the spread of pandemics like COVID-19 may uncover possible solutions.

Who’s in charge: Associate Professor Cora Fox, director of the Interdisciplinary Health Humanities Certificate in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Health Humanities Initiative in the Institute for Humanities Research teaches this course.

Who should take it: Undergraduates of any major with an interest in public health, medicine, literature, history, fiction, nonfiction, theater, disease, religion or health humanities, who have met basic first-year composition requirements.

If you register: Plagues, Epidemics and Literature (class # 31725) meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync.

5. ENG 394 – Poetics of the Borderlands

Street in a border city / Photo courtesy Maritza Estrada

Street scene in a border city. Image courtesy Maritza Estrada.

What it is: This place-based exploration looks at poetry and stories of the U.S.-Mexico border. ENG 394 – Poetics of the Borderlands focuses not only on the geopolitical border — including its physical land and space — but interior borders as well, like absence, desire, body, family, grief, and exile. Students read and write poetry while engaging with nonfiction, fiction, film, zines, and other multimedia/art.

Why it matters: As scholars, thinkers and writers from many disciplines, it is vital to create conversations, art and community within and outside academic fields – in other words, across borders.

Who’s in charge: Maritza Estrada, the artistic development and research assistant for ASU’s Center for Imagination in the Borderlands and a graduate student in creative writing is the course instructor. Estrada is mentored by center director and Associate Professor Natalie Diaz, a MacArthur Fellow and the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry.

Who should take it: Any undergraduate with an interest in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, storytelling, art, borderlands or border culture who has met basic first-year composition requirements.

If you register: Poetics of the Borderlands (class # 32119) meets Wednesdays from 4:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync.

6. ENG 606 – Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

Image from ASU's El Dia celebration in 2015 / Photo by Bruce Matsunaga

Image of students at ASU's 2015 El Dia celebration. Photo by Bruce Matsunaga/ASU.

What it is: This education course focuses on developing curriculum and instructional strategies that reflect the diversity of students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds. ENG 606 – Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy will help students begin to articulate their own, critically informed approaches to youth cultures, languages and literacies in classroom settings.

Why it matters: Today’s educators are most effective when they acknowledge and include community and student knowledge, expertise and understanding in the constructions of pedagogies. Validating students’ lived experiences inside the classroom is a step toward justice and equity in the larger world.

Who’s in charge: Assistant Professor Sybil Durand, a member of the faculty in the English education program, teaches this course. Durand specializes in youth participatory action research (YPAR) and most recently published the co-authored article in The Urban Review (2019): “’It’s Everybody’s Job’: Youth and Adult Constructions of Responsibility to Take Action for School Change through PAR.”

Who should take it: Graduate students interested in work with youth in and out of school settings. May be particularly appropriate for in-service language arts teachers in need of professional development hours.

If you register: Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (class # 18753) meets Mondays from 4:50 to 7:35 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus or on Zoom via ASU Sync.

7. FMS 394 – Videogames and Narrative

Courtesy image of Instructor Jeff Holmes playing videogames

ASU Instructor Jeffrey Holmes playing videogames. Courtesy of Jeffrey Holmes

What it is: An introduction to video game story design, this course emphasizes the role of story in game development and production as well as the emergent stories that happen when we play. Students in FMS 394 – Videogames and Narrative focus on the steps of developing and “pitching” a game story concept in a culminating semester project: the Game Design Document.

Why it matters: While the pandemic slowed down most industries, 2020 has been a banner year for video game makers. Students who understand the process of video game design and creation are better positioned to be critical consumers – and even authors – of virtual entertainment.

Who’s in charge: Instructor Jeffrey Holmes, who teaches in the Department of English’s film and media studies program, is this course’s instructor. Holmes is the author of the chapter “Video games, Distributed teaching and learning systems, and multipedagogies” which appeared in “Remixing Multiliteracies: Theory and Practice from New London to New Times,” edited by Frank Serafini and Elisabeth Gee (Teachers College Press, 2017).

Who should take it: ASU Online undergraduates in any major with interest in video games, game design, storytelling, technology, digital media, virtual entertainment, narrative structures or digital humanities.

If you register: Videogames and Narrative is offered through ASU Online in both Session A (class # 23876) and in Session B (class # 19715). 

8. ENG 459 – The African American Short Story

Image of book with fanned pages from Pexels

Image courtesy

What it is: Encounter the sophisticated, strategic and always-magical form that is the African American short story. ENG 459 invites us to think together about what becomes visible and possible when Black American writers like Charles Chesnutt, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Anthony Grooms, Carolivia Herron, Pauline Hopkins, Langston Hughes and more use short fiction to speak truth to power, history, desire, tradition, pain and love.

Why it matters: The short story is a powerful, strategic, sophisticated and influential form. Short fiction offers searing revelations about everyday life, exposes the humanity that persists in the face of adversity, and bears witness to the beautiful and the tragic forces that shape the world in which we live. Who wouldn’t want to know more?

Who’s in charge: Foundation Professor Lois Brown, director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, is author of “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Literary Renaissance” (Infobase Publishing / Facts on File, 2005) and “Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: Black Daughter of the Revolution” (University of North Carolina Press, 2008).

Who should take it: Undergraduates with an interest in literature, culture, history, art forms, race and African American studies, or reading and writing fiction who have met specific English course prerequisites; see course catalog for details.

If you register: African American Short Story (class # 32122) meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync.

9. ENG 213 – Introduction to the Study of Language

Google BERT SEO by GiroScience from INK News, used under CC 4.0

Image of Google BERT SEO by GiroScience from INK News. Used under CC 4.0.

What it is: What exactly is “language?” How do we study it, how do we explain it, and what do we “do” with it? It’s the work of linguists and applied linguists to answer these questions. ENG 213 introduces curious glossophiles to the scientific study of language, which has many subfields of inquiry ranging from natural language processing and machine learning, to fictional and theoretical languages, to the documentation and revitalization of endangered languages.

Why it matters: Language is one of the most important things that humans do; it defines us a species. Our abilities to communicate, think abstract thoughts, create and solve problems are often realized through language. ‘Nuff said.

Who’s in charge: Assistant Professor Tyler Peterson, who teaches in the Department of English’s linguistics and applied linguistics program, is the instructor for this course. One of Peterson’s current interests is in using popular media as a tool for engagement in endangered language learning.

Who should take it: Undergraduates in any major who are interested in language, communication, linguistics, translation, second languages, indigenous languages, endangered languages, natural language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and who have met basic, first-year composition requirements.

If you register: Introduction to the Study of Language (class # 18916) meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. on ASU’s Tempe campus and on Zoom via ASU Sync.

10. ENG 388 - Intermediate Creative Writing Workshop in Fiction: Form, Theory, and Practice

“Open up to imagination” image by Ryan Hickox on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0

“Open up to imagination” image by Ryan Hickox on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0.

What it is: OK, so you’ve learned Freytag’s Triangle, which shows how a story’s internal framework represents the rise and fall of a crashing wave. Did you know a story’s structure can mirror the spiral of a hurricane? ENG 388 will expand upon lessons from previous writing workshops to further illuminate the possibilities of storytelling and imagination.

Why it matters: Albert Camus said, “Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.” One might argue the need for a whole lot more truth-telling these days.

Who’s in charge: Fiction writer Tucker Leighty-Phillips, a teaching assistant in the Department of English’s creative writing program, is the course instructor. Leighty-Phillips published the flash fiction story, “The Toddlers Are Playing Airport Again” in XRay Literary Magazine this past July.

Who should take it: Undergraduates of any major who are interested in fiction, short stories, creative writing or narrative and who have met specific English course prerequisites; see course catalog for details.

If you register: Intermediate Fiction Workshop (class # 18738) meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync.

11. ENG 205 – Introduction to Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies

Students install the "Selves in Systems" art exhibit at ASU's Ross-Blakley Hall. Photo by Bruce Matsunaga

Students in Elenore Long's ENG 205 class work on an art exhibit, "Selves in Systems: A Rhetorical Arts Installation." Photo by Bruce Matsunaga/ASU.

What it is: This introductory survey illuminates how people use language and other symbols to carry out their daily activities. The goal in ENG 205 is to strengthen each student’s own repertoire of communicative skills and decision-making power, so they can produce and circulate work that matters in our risk-ridden world. Quite simply: This is a course in asking and taking up good questions.

Why it matters: How can we employ words sufficient to the challenges of the times? Not only is answering this question important practice for students’ postgraduation futures, but also for the here and now.

Who’s in charge: Professor Elenore Long, who also directs graduate studies in the Department of English, teaches this course. Long’s latest book is “A Responsive Rhetorical Art: Artistic Methods for Contemporary Public Life” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018).

Who should take it: Any undergraduate interested in language, writing, rhetoric, literacy, communication, advocacy, argument or public speaking who has met basic, first-year composition requirements.

If you register: Introduction to Writing, Rhetorics and Literacies (class # 19826) meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. on Zoom via ASU Sync. 

12. English 598 – Genre in the Writing Classroom: Research, Theory, Practice

Is refrigerator magnet poetry a genre? Photo from ASU’s 2017 celebration of National Day on Writing, credit Bruce Matsunaga.

Is refrigerator magnet poetry a "genre"? Photo from ASU’s 2017 celebration of National Day on Writing by Bruce Matsunaga/ASU.

What it is: This course for educators explores research and theory about genres of writing. By “genres,” we mean types of texts, processes used to compose them, practices used to understand them, and the social roles or rules that govern them. Making your head spin? ENG 598 will break down this complexity and ask students to put theory into practice – using vehicles such as op-eds, podcasts, social media or other – in a final project.

Why it matters: For educators, learning how to incorporate multigenre, real-world writing into classroom practice is critical for students’ current and future success.

Who’s in charge: Associate Professor Christina Saidy, who teaches in the English education program at ASU is the course instructor. She’s co-author of “Creating Literacy Communities as Pathways to Student Success: Equity and Access for Latina Students in STEM” (Routledge, 2018).

Who should take it: Any graduate student with an interest in language arts, education, teaching, classroom practices, writing, rhetoric, literacy, or linguistics and applied linguistics. May be particularly appropriate for in-service language arts teachers in need of professional development hours or students enrolled in ASU’s Master of Arts in English Education program.

If you register: Genre in the Writing Classroom (class # 26229) meets Tuesdays from 4:50 to 7:35 p.m. during Session A on Zoom via ASU Sync.

Top photo courtesy Martiza Estrada.

Kristen LaRue-Sandler

Senior marketing and communications specialist , Department of English