Faculty Profile: Bret Keeling

Image of Brett Keeling's Class

Striking the pose. Extracting the language. In the very first session of the senior seminar "Passing: A Poetics and A Problematics," Professor Bret Keeling used technology to accomplish those progressive ends. Via a local-area bulletin board in the CIC computer lab, the seniors experimented during the first class session with passing themselves off as others, masking their conventional social profiles with self-created entities. This initial and direct engagement with the concept of “passing” allowed students to sense directly the complicated core of the course: poetics and politics of identity exchange.


So, too, in his advanced writing course “Writing as Craft, Writing as Imaginative Act.” Professor Keeling asked students to mine the multiple meanings of “party” in popular and classical songs--centered on that theme and played in class--as a means of introducing E.M. Forster’s suggested ties between musical scores and composition processes.


In both courses, multimedia sparked students to realize personally the multicultural import of their subjects of study. Technology provided immediate engagement with what they might have considered “monomedia,” merely verbal, matter. Building upon these foundations, Professor Keeling also employed online listservs, in-class Internet research, and online peer editing to provide impetus for term-end Web projects and PowerPoint group presentations. All of the students in both courses agreed at the quarters’ close that having technological options available in the classroom improved their learning.



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