Thoughts of an Online Composition Instructor

I have taught courses online since 2007, including freshman composition 101 & 102, American Lit, British Lit, and fiction. At first, I was teaching online and land-based classes, but I had to let the land-based classes go as I was traveling so frequently for my music gigs, author events, and my Songs & Stories programs for schools, libraries, and festivals.  I kept the online classes as they are portable work but still would keep me connected to the colleges and to literature.  I have worked with four colleges so far and currently, work only for the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Delta Community College.

Teaching online has required me to improve my computer skills and to improve my classes so I can best teach my classes of young scholars. This semester I was pleasantly surprised by the great essays I received for an assignment for them to choose a short story to analyze and respond to. Here’s a list of their choices:  (Note that most of these are not the usual stories they encountered in English class. The // marks indicate that more than one person chose that same story. Many of these I have added to my own “to read” list)

Rebekah Jordan, “Unseen”

Ann Hart, “The Friday Everything Changed.”

Kylah Adams, “I Know Better”

Son Bo-mi, “The Cat Thief”

Anton Chekhov, “The Bet”   “Vanka”

Jack London, “To Build a Fire”

Hans Anderson, “The Emperor’s New Suit”/ “The Little Mermaid”

Ray Bradbury, “A Sound of Thunder”  “The Pedestrian”   “There Will Come Soft Rains” // “All Summer in a Day”.  “The Flying Machine” “The Murderer” “The Veldt”, “Kaleidoscope”  “The Last Night of the World”

Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”// “Charles”

Kate Chopin, “Desiree’s Baby” “The Story of an Hour” “The Night Came Slowly” “The Storm”

Ursula le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” //

Liam O’Flaherty, “The Sniper” //

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, “Little Snow White”

Aknier, “The Mountain”

Richard Connell, “The Most Dangerous Game”//

Robert Cormier, “The Moustache”

Louis L’Amour, “The Daybreakers”

Harry Harrison, “The Stainless Steel Rat”

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”//   “The Black Cat”. “The Murders in Rue Morgue,” “MS. Found In A Bottle”

Kaoru Sawada, “Hanging Heads” //

H.K. Lovecraft, “The Outsider”

Stephen King, “Nightshift”.  “I am the Doorway”

Ted Chiang, “Exhalation”

Isaac Asimov “The Fun They Had”.  “Nightfall” “Robbie”

Katy Clements  “Hallucinations”

Ernest Hemingway “Hill Like White Elephants”

O’Henry “Gift of the Magi”

Yann Martel, “We Ate the Children Last”

Gina Berriault, “The Stone Boy”

Stephen Crane, “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”

Philip K. Dick  “The Eyes Have It”

Charles Dickens, “The Child’s Story” “What Christmas Is As We Grow Older”

Roald Dahl, “Lamb to the Slaughter”

Leon Rooke, “A Bolt of White Cloth”

Robert A. Heinlein “All You Zombies”

Katherine Mansfield, ‘A Garden Party”

Jorge Luis Borges “The Library Of Babel”
Raymond Carver “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”

Jamaica Kincaid  “Girl”

Thom Brodkin “Silence” (not a classic, submitted to a contest)

Chris Crutcher, “The Pin”

Thomas Bulfinch “The adventures of Hercules”

Jules Verne, “Year 2889”

Chris Crutcher  “Goin’ Fishin’“

Guy de Maupassant “The Diamond Necklace”

Henry Van Dyke “A Handful of Clay”

Kurt Vonnegut “ 2 B R O 2 B”,

Flannery O’Connor,“Good Country People”

Mary Shelly “The Mortal Immortal,”