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September 02, 2007


Leila A.

OOOh this is so helpful although my first syllabus is already in the bag, class has begun, and I can't really change it now. But I did already assign "The General's Report" by Seymour Hersh, because it struck me mostly, and because the textbook (strongly suggested to me by my faculty mentor; I hate it) features some slices from the My Lai massacre story - nothing as meaty as Hersh's article. Hersh broke the My Lai story 35 years ago... The connections seemed too important to miss. However I am concerned that the piece is too heavy for Freshman Comp. If I fall on my face then I'll chalk it up to live and learn.

The New Yorker online is a terrific resource.

I hate the price of the textbooks and plan to make up my own online sources for next class. Thanks for all these helpful suggestions - I'll be sending my other newbie English teaching colleagues here.

Leila A.

What a mad compendium of run-on sentences in my comment above. I do know better, I'm just blogging too late at night. It's the pajamas factor...

Nick Carbone

Really nice piece, and very useful. FWIW, Bedford/St. Martin's custom reader began as a project that drew from Lynn Z. Bloom's research. In fact, I believe she consulted with us on the the creation of the first iteration of the database.

Also, re: costs of custom -- new interfaces for custom readers will show you what costs will be as you make choices on which readings to include. Those are factored by the length of the piece (how many pages) and the permissions cost in using the piece.

The advantage to custom is that, in theory, you can design a reader that only uses the essays you will have time to have students read. That might bring the cost down considerably if one is disciplined in the selection. But every custom database is limited by the content a publisher can get permission to make part of the database. And right now, it's still difficult to get permission for creating an e-book reader. So that's why most of what you get in reader from a college textbook publisher needs to be printed.

Kara P.

As a new Composition teacher, I found your discussion and suggestions for choosing essays very helpful. Thank you. Your blog has also given me a glimpse into what kind of planning goes into designing your own syllabus for such a course.

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