Both of these syllabi are for First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS) at Cornell University. The FWS is a central part of Cornell University’s Writing in the Disciplines program. The purpose of these classes is to teach composition as it is practiced in the instructor’s field. FWS classes require a minimum of five graded writing assignments per semester.
I have included the first syllabus to demonstrates my ability to teach a focused course within my discipline. The second syllabus highlights my flexibility, and my interest in using innovative pedagogical methods to make course content relevant to learners.
Please click on the title of the course to open the syllabus in a separate window.
Syllabus 1: Orbis Terrarum: The Medieval World was a Globe
Course Description: A seminar course in medieval history, focusing on the ways that medieval European people imagined the world, and their place in it. This course began with classical and biblical conceptions of geography and cosmology, before examining how those ideas informed medieval and Early Modern mapping practices. The course took as a starting point the modern perception that medieval people believed that the world was flat, and uses the 19th and 20th century creation of that myth to investigate the social power of historical interpretation.
This course asked students to learn to read and analyze medieval maps. A list of these maps, with links to online versions, is here. Part of the class also relied on my publicly available digital teaching tool, the Mapping Mandeville Project, to help students connect textual to visual medieval geographies.
Course Description: A seminar course exploring the role of walking in European and North American cultural history, and in our contemporary day-to-day lives. The course is organized around a series of readings that consider walking in a variety of contexts, with the purpose of guiding students towards thinking critically about the roles that walking has played in historical contexts, and the role that it continues to play today.
Class met three times a week, on a MWF schedule. On Wednesdays and Fridays we met in a traditional classroom setting, but every Monday we met at the indoor track, or some other pre-designated location, and held discussions while walking. For these sessions I divided students up randomly into groups of 3 or 4, and gave them a set of questions to discuss based on the assigned readings. After 2-4 laps (if on the track) we would reconvene and discuss their thoughts as a whole group, and then I would use the outcomes from that discussion to assign a new set of prompts for the next set of laps. We would repeat this, usually three times per class period. I would move between groups throughout the session.
I designed this course in coordination with Cornell’s Office of Student Disability Services. With their input, I developed alternate course activities, assignments, and assessment mechanisms to facilitate course accessibility and equity for all students.
Image citation: British Library Burney 275 f. 293r