Category Archives: News

Where did the Critical Media Lab go?

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Planning on attending a CML event? Then this will be important information! The Critical Media Lab, of the University of Waterloo English Department, is now located in the Tannery, within Communitech‘s corporate innovation lab, 151 Charles St W., Kitchener. They report: “We’re excited to bring our lens on critical making and ethical tech into this environment.” Expect to hear more about upcoming events hosted in this space.

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Instagram tears

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Tired of the overly filtered world of Instagram? You’re not the only one. Dr. Aimée Morrison, our resident expert in the rhetoric of digital lives, social media, & more, spoke to Nora Young of CBC’s Spark about the recent trend to show a less glossy version of the self–one that might even be unflattering. According to Dr. Morrison, “I think what we’re seeing now is that a much broader range of what people are describing as authentic self-representations are occurring in a number of platforms now where we did not expect to see them.” You can read or listen to the interview online. Spoiler alert: towards the end, a certain professor teases some new research she’s conducting!

Image: Instagram sensation Kirby Jenner trying to take a selfie without getting ketchup on his phone

Read all about it!

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Head on over to UWaterloo English to read our 2018 newsletter, featuring a letter from our new chair, Dr. Shelley Hulan, and updates on faculty and student achievements.

Engl 108P, Popular Potter, now online

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Grab your quills and keyboards! As of Winter semester 2019, you can take English 108P, Popular Potter, online. Are you curious about how Rowling draws on mythology and folklore to ground and structure her novels about the boy wizard? Perhaps you have always wanted to talk about the traces of World War II in the novels, or consider how the ideology of the Fabian Society influences Dumbledore’s philosophy and the Order of the Phoenix. Do you have a burning desire to express your frustrations with Harry’s romance with Cho–but in literary terms, which reflect on the limitations of narrative voice? Or maybe you can’t wait to talk about Dobby and why it’s initially funny when he is forced to hurt himself, but then suddenly isn’t humorous at all. Setting aside all of these possibilities, what about the luxury of taking a course for which you probably have already done the reading in advance? Wingardium Leviosa!

Image source: Etsy

Amazing News x2 from Tommy Mayberry

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UWaterloo English PhD candidate Tommy Mayberry is having a bumper April. First, he accepted a position as an Educational Developer, on the Educational Development team at the University of Guelph. And he has won an Innovation in Education Award, from The University of Pittsburgh’s Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence (ACIE) for “The Science Library Project.” Tommy shares the award with Dr. Sarah Ruffell , an Assistant Professor of Biology in the Division of Biological and Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh – Bradford, and a Waterloo alumna (PhD in Biology, 2017) as well as graduate of our Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program at CTE.

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A description of the project:

To emphasize the importance of public outreach and science communication within STEM, and to foster in students a greater appreciative understanding of the scientific content within their courses, the Science Library Project has students creating children’s books about key course content. At the end of this project, the student writer-publishers are able to display their critical and creative work as they collaborate with local teachers in a networked conversation about science and multimodal communication. This innovative pedagogical approach to assessment is important both inside and outside of the Sciences because it participates in High Impact Practice (HIP) pedagogy to have students invest a significant amount of time and effort over an extended period of time as they participate in frequent, timely, and constructive feedback and, most importantly, have the opportunity to discover the relevance of their learning through real-world applications in the public demonstration of their book projects. The Science Library Project activates written and visual communication modes to motivate Science learners to engage with course concepts in deeper and creative ways.

Images reproduced from student work with permission. Sarah and Tommy both are sharing this work as a poster presentation at our UWTL conference on campus today–stop by to learn more!

Where is undergrad Tyler Black going?

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Waterloo English Undergraduate Research

By Paula de Villavicencio

University of Waterloo English undergraduate student Tyler Black secured a spot in the first round competition of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC) Student Research Competition. The competition will take place this summer at the association’s annual conference, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Microsoft-supported event provides up to 500 dollars (US) to assist with travel costs for students selected to participate. Black’s research investigates several post-secondary courses that incorporate cross-disciplinary material, and the manner in which the course instructors communicate not only the core disciplinary content, but also cross-disciplinary lessons.

Black’s interest in cross-disciplinary technical communication stems from their own educational and work experience. Having worked as a technical communicator, and completed studies first in Physics and then in English, Black has a range of experience to help frame these pedagogical questions. Black also developed their research skills during several research assistantships as part of a Fall 2017 co-op term. Black worked on three different University of Waterloo projects: Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher’s Networked Expertise project; with the Games Institute’s Virtual Reality group (work Black has been involved with as a research assistant will be presented at the upcoming Lake Ontario Visionary Establishment 2018 Conference), and with Dr. Randy Harris’s Computational Rhetoric group (work Black has been involved with as a research assistant will be presented at the upcoming CMNA 2018 Conference and the IACS 2018 Conference).

As a continuing research assistant with the Networked Expertise project in the Waterloo Science and Technical Communication Group (@WatSciComm on Twitter), Black recognized their own research interests in terms of post-secondary education and training. “Being at the University of Waterloo itself has really allowed me to work in such an interdisciplinary field, and has given me a place to do this amount of research at an undergrad level,” commented Black. “Being part of the WatSciComm team has also aided me in my research, not just because of the amazing resources, but also the great team I’ve worked with.” Black was granted ethics approval for their study of cross-disciplinary classrooms, allowing them to publish the results, the culmination of which will not only be presented at the 2018 ACM SIGDOC student research competition, but will also form the basis for Black’s Undergraduate Honours Essay.

Black will be continuing their education at the University of Waterloo as a Master’s student in the Rhetoric and Communication Design program in Fall 2018. They will also stay on the WatSciComm team as a research assistant with Dr. Mehlenbacher. Black explained, “if you have something that you want to do, something that might benefit not just your own education but the education of other people, then you should go for it.”

Photo credit: Paula de Villavicencio

University Research Chair: Dr. O’Gorman

Screenshot 2017-06-22 10.24.01The position “University Research Chair” is a prestigious one, recognizing “exceptional achievement and pre-eminence in a particular field of knowledge.” We are excited to announce that University of Waterloo English’s Dr. Marcel O’Gorman now holds this position–one of only two who do so in the faculty of arts. In other news, Marcel has also accepted the position of Graduate Chair of English.