Friday, June 3, 2016

2016 course packet for AALCI

I'm gearing up for the African American Literatures and Cultures Institute (AALCI). We begin on Sunday. In addition to meeting and working with this year's Fellows, and I'm excited about the course packet that we'll use.

Similar to two years ago when I first produced a formal course packet, I wanted to have collected body of materials, with samples of previous work, templates of professional statements, and other items that might be useful to the students. I also printed select timelines from this blog, images, and short entries related to African American literary studies and Black Studies.

The course packet also contains keywords and definitions, partial chronologies from professors and students, and descriptions of critical approaches. So much of what's gathered here emerges from the collected wisdom of working with AALCI for the past six summers.  The presentation of the materials in a single course packet makes it possible bring all the scattered information together in book form.

Printing costs usually prevent me from producing course packets like these during the academic school year. I simply have too many students to afford it. I might have to rethink that approach though. At AALCI, the small number of Fellows means that the costs of printing fit just within my budget.

I began producing course packets during my days as a instructor in graduate school at Pennsylvania State University. There was a system in place, established over the years by the many graduate students, that made the process of producing course packets accessible and exciting. Perhaps the course packets were also a version of book production for all of us.

There was no similar system when I began as a professor at SIUE, though I have worked on a variety of print-based productions over the years. Returning to the production of a course packet this year for AALCI allows me to think, again, about the value of using these kinds of documents in the process of working with students. 

African American Literatures and Cultures Institute 

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