Teaching Reflections: Punching Down and Read the Syllabus

The spring semester is coming to an end – which means social media is full of students complaining about faculty and vice-versa. Recently, a Twitter account, College Professor (@ReadtheSyllabus), came under punching down / arrogance / ignorance accusations after a tweet making fun of the “dead grandparent” excuse. Since then, there is actually an interesting conversation on student shaming.

As I was writing my course reflections, I realized it was very difficult to talk about higher education without, well,  some level of student shaming. At the end of the day, the students are part of the learning process and they need to invest heavily in their own learning both inside and outside the classroom. During the last four years, I found myself to give instructions that I thought were just common sense:

  • Such as the interpersonal communication tips,
  • Please take off your headphones in the classroom.
  • Please take off your headphones when we are having a one-to-one meeting.
  • Or ‘there is a reason why you are given those documents’ trope,
  • Refer to the textbook and in-class discussions in your final paper.
  • Your grading will be based on the rubric – that is why it is called the grading rubric.
  • Read the syllabus.
  • Keep the handouts I am distributing in class.
  • Or ‘who on earth would consider this to be okay’ part,
  • Do not fall asleep in the classroom
  • Do not fall asleep in the classroom two weeks in a row.
  • Do not fall asleep in the classroom three weeks in a row.
  • Or my favorite one – I have no idea how many times I sent this e-mail:
  • You realize that you sent me this e-mail while you were in my class…while I was lecturing…while you were supposed to be listening…

 My two cents on why this is happening and what we (or I) can do:

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Re-marketing Classics (Or the Failure of Pop Culture)

My transmedia storytelling course is reading an amazing book by Michael Saler, called “As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary PreHistory of Virtual Reality“. In a nutshell, Saler talks about how modernity rationalized our world, causing us to be disenchanted, and how we are doing our best to be enchanted again. I use his work to launch discussions on marketing and advertising – or in general strategic communication. All our work is based on creating enchantment actually. We are, for instance, creating a world where a body wash creates amazing men (Yes, Old Spice). I am not going through the shelves in my local Target trying to find the cheapest deal (Yes, this is exactly what I was doing when I saw the buy one get two free deal for Old Spice). I am consuming to be a part of this magical experience.

Saler presents literary cases: Arthur Donan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, and J.R.R. Tolkien. He discusses how these authors crafted their stories to enchant the masses, how people took the worlds they created and repurposed them in several other platforms. For me, he also presents a horrific case of the gap between us – faculty members – and students.

With my apologies, I’d like to welcome you to my rant on millenials and future of strategic communication.

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