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A Foundation

For now, this blog will serve primarily as a record, both of things I think might work in my courses and things I’ve actually used (taught, discussed, etc.). Additionally, I will use this as a forum for sharing my own ideas about the fantasy and science fiction I love. As time progresses the content will become more varied and detailed, but everyone must start somewhere. I’m starting now.

This upcoming semester, I will teach both sections of Freshman Composition – WR (Writing) 101 and 102. So far, I have only used clips and selections from fantasy and science fiction TV shows, movies, books etc. in my WR 101 courses at VMI. As of now, I haven’t given much concrete thought to bringing this element into the research based course (102) but if an opportunity arises, I will most certainly take it. Already I have scattered ideas about how effectively Buffy and her gang use research to save Sunnydale and the world time and again …

Still – I’m not starting there. I’m starting here.

In this course, and in this blog, I will primarily focus on the fantasy and science fiction books, shows, and movies that appeal to me the most. A short list would look something like this:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and perhaps references to the spinoff, Angel)
  • Battlestar Galactica (the reimagined version)
  • Stargate SG1 (with perhaps references to the spinoff, Stargate Atlantis)
  • Farscape
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (books and movie)
  • How to Train Your Dragon (book and movie)
  • Independence Day
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • “The Red Pyramid” (children’s fantasy by Rick Rioridan)
  • “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by CS Lewis
  • Harry Potter series (books and movies)
  • Etc.

Short list, huh? Ok – maybe not. Regardless, I have already used some of these in my 101 courses, and I have plans for many others. To date, I have primarily used these elements of popular culture in a visual medium – bringing in clips (and one entire episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – to be discussed at a later date in this blog) and references to books. This upcoming semester, I plan on branching out even more.

In the past I have been unable to develop some ideas as fully as I would like, so my main goal this semester is to do just that: to extend my discussion of popular culture throughout the whole course (rather than simply the first half) and to bring in more variety – including some excerpts from printed materials. This is in part a reading course, after all – more reading can’t hurt.

Over the next few weeks, I plan on sharing some of the things I will do (and have done) early on in my WR 101 course, including (potentially) reactions from students and anything else that I feel will benefit this record.

That is one of the main purposes of writing, after all, as my students always tell me when forced to discuss that topic: to record. So record I shall.

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