In-class writing (5 min.): What is the purpose of theory or criticism?
Share answers with a neighbor. After five minutes, we will go around the class and introduce ourselves and
share ideas on what the purpose of theory and criticism is.
Review Blackboard Features
Students should sign into their Blackboard accounts at individual computers. Some sharing will be necessary. We will
examine the following features of Blackboard:
Discussion of Online Environment for Class
Virtual Classroom / Office hours
What rules or conventions do we need to establish to encourage the best possible learning environment?
How do we question each other's opinion? How do we answer such questions?
What does supportive, constructive, critical feedback look like?
How do we avoid condescension? How do we avoid defensiveness?
How do we respond to a posting that strikes us as condescending or defensive, or otherwise inappropriate?
Should we develop a system for helping with or alerting posters to potential online hotspots or problems?
Please review grading scales for these online exchanges and help develop them.
Divide students into a PhD group and an MA group.
Ask for volunteers to form pairs. For the remaining, count off and pair up for groups.
Have students read Fish's column during break.
Discussion Exercise: Crisis in the Humanities
Part one -- 5-10 minutes
Have each student write in response to the article. Do you agree or disagree with Fish and why? What does this
have to do with the study of the history of criticism and theory?
Part two -- 5-10 minutes
Have students share their responses in their new groups.
After ten minutes, have students open discussion of the topic to the group at large.