As many of you know, this is my first year teaching college writing at Kent State University, and it’s already been an enlightening experience. I chose space exploration as the course theme (after a suggestion by Brian Huot and protracted consideration on my part and a mad scramble for resources before classes began), because I can use this theme to bridge science fiction with the real world.
I’ve already had my students write about Walt Disney’s short film, “Mars and Beyond.” Soon, they will read Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and then move on to Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. Through their viewings and readings, I’m having them write extensively to develop their writing skills. Also, I’ve taken steps to connect their career goals and hobbies with the rewards of space exploration through personal email exchanges, which I hope to incorporate into later assignments. I’d say, so far, so good, and much thanks to everyone who offered me teaching advice and assistance!
If you’re interested, you may read my course syllabus here, and my first assignment handout to accompany the Disney film here.