Brenta Blevins
Brenta Blevins
Brenta Blevins
Brenta Blevins

Teaching

Philosophy

The classroom I strive for is one focused on conversation—all of the available means of conversation. I seek to create a classroom that supports students accessing, creating, and engaging intellectually with texts, whether written or spoken, alphabetic or multimodal, traditional or digital. Given the continual emergence of new textual forms, it is my role as scholar and instructor to help students enter and participate in many conversations with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed now and in the future.

 

In my face-to-face and online classes, my assignments support my goal of helping students draw upon their existing knowledge to better understand the means of conversation, whether in writing, reading, speaking, or digital composing. Regardless of their starting points, all students can build upon their familiarity with composing. For instance, students concerned about composing Augmented Reality projects can draw upon outlining skills used in writing essays. Analyzing spoken interactions helps students prepare for creating their own podcasts. To help students address different levels of writing experience or anxiety, I lead my introductory college writing classes through collaboratively authoring an essay based on shared reading. This activity models invention, thesis development, multi-day writing processes, and peer review and reflection around which the class develops a shared language. In other classes, students research genres such as resumes, press releases, and research interviews, and media such as podcasts, videos, and blogs, and then together build wiki sites to house samples of the kinds of texts they will be composing. Then we collaboratively develop rubrics for evaluating work. Students thus learn to identify successful and less successful entries into conversation.

 

Helping my students enter contemporary conversation means using multiple tools and multiple media. In my speaking intensive courses, students create podcasts using primary and secondary research presenting how professionals communicate. These podcasts become assigned listening homework, providing students with an audience beyond the instructor. This assignment emphasizes students as valuable classroom knowledge creators as they interview experts—from ESPN commentators to scientists, business professionals, and non-U.S. citizens—resulting in a breadth of voices across disciplines and life experiences, inside and outside the university.

 

When teaching audio, video, or visual production, I support students' entry into conversation by helping them obtain knowledge of and access to technology. In online courses, I require students to try different online tools, all free, for the invention process: freewriting, mapping, visual arrangement, ambient noise, and more. Having taught at universities with diverse student bodies and high populations of first-generation college students, I am committed to supporting student access to digital resources.

 

As a whole, my pedagogy aligns with my research interests in multimodality and literacy across a variety of contexts, specifically to help students converse using multiple modes and multiple media in multiple contexts. I strive to ensure my pedagogy reflects new research and engages new technological expectations of my students' skills as they build rhetorical agency for their academic work and move into a future with continually evolving demands on their literacy skills.

Student Comments

 

Student Evaluation Comments

Digital Studies 101, UMW,

Fall 2017

·       “I can tell you right now that in about five years, I’m probably not going to remember that five-page research paper I once had to do for a math class, but I will most definitely remember the time I learned how to use augmented reality to bring a rainbow-colored dragon to life.”

English 101, UNCG,

Spring 2013

·       “Ms. Blevins is one of the best instructors I have come across at UNCG, I owe her a lot for helping me through the semester. Teachers like her are why I am at UNCG.”

English 101, UNCG, Spring 2016

·       “Course was planned great. Each assignment seemed to flow right into the next one. Things never seemed too overwhelming.”

English 102, UNCG,
Fall 2015

·       “Brilliant in the efficient use of our work; one project helped build the next.”

English 105, UNCG, Fall 2013

·       “Everything about the course is stated in the syllabus: due dates, schedule, etc. It was easy to get a hang of the flow of the organization of the class.”

·       “This course especially helped me to improve my writing skills during peer and instructor review. Through these times and course instruction I feel more confident in my writing and am better at it.”

  • “Ms. Blevins was an outstanding instructor and I would recommend any student to take a course with her. I have had instructors that were negative, didn't give prompt feedback, and didn't encourage the students. Ms. Blevins definitely was one of the best instructors I have had.”

English 105 Online, UNCG, Summer 2016

·       “. . . her communication skills were exceptional, which is important in an online course.”

·       “Top notch. Please have her train ALL the other instructors and faculty who plan to teach online courses in the humanities. Instructor Blevins has the art and science of this stuff down. It makes a big difference to the student. Online aside, Blevins has opened up a world of understanding for me.”

·       “The professor was one of the most organized and prepared professors I have ever had.”

  • “Professor Blevins made great videos that were helpful in understanding the course content. The explanations for the assignments were also good.”

English 230, UNCG, Spring 2016

  • “The class absolutely threw me for a loop. I did not expect the type of content and materials that we would be encountering. From the wiki genre to augmented reality, I was learning new definitions and technology that I never thought I would be associated with. This class sparked my interest more so than any other.”
  • “I am thankful I was exposed to a diverse array of new technological communication methods.”

CORE 101/102

Radford University, Spring 2011

·       “Gave plenty of examples when it came to assignments given. Clear with what her expectations are.”

·       “Great instructor. I wish she taught CORE 201 & 202 so I could have her again.”

 

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