Using Canvas to Teach at Distance

Yesterday, as part of my own anxiety management, I wrote up a document that explains how I teach using the Canvas Conferences Tool when I can’t be in class. I realized that this would probably be useful outside of my own department, so I’ve made it available here for anyone who might be able to use it. It may be just as relevant outside of TCNJ as it is relevant here.

Teaching Online through Canvas

I’ve also finished a document about Canvas, cellphones, and a tiny bit about accessibility.

Options for Using Canvas without a Computer

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Bridgewater-Raritan Professional Development

Here is a link to the materials shared at the Professional Development workshop Shakespeare’s Language: “‘Tis a word too great for any mouth.”

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Sabbatical Series Presentation

Powerpoint for Sigma Tau Delta Sabbatical Series presentation Dictionaries in HEL (The History of the English Language)

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Summer Institute for Language Arts Educators: Day 4

This video was made using Active Presenter to record an Audacity Recording of Stephen Fry  and Waveform

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Playing with Dictionaries: A Model for Teacher Professional Development

DSNA 2019: Session 7B, Engaging Lexicography

Materials produced for October 2019 NJ Poetry Out Loud Professional Development Seminar

Conference Powerpoint Instructional Video for Teachers

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NJ Poetry Out Loud

Today I’m leading a professional development seminar for NJ High School teachers associated with NJ Poetry Out Loud. This is my first time working with the organization, and I’m eager to evangelize for Wordnik, the non-profit online dictionary, and to talk to teachers about how to use Dictionaries as a tool for the reading, performance, and composition of poetry.

Workshop Description:

Word Play: Poetry, Dictionaries, and the Power of Play
Dr. Felicia Jean Steele

play, v. played, play·ing, plays
1. To occupy oneself in an activity for amusement or recreation: children playing with toys.
a. To take part in a sport or game: He’s just a beginner and doesn’t play well.
b. To participate in betting; gamble.
a. To behave in a teasing or joking manner; act in jest or sport: She’s not angry with you; she’s just playing.
b. To deal or behave carelessly or indifferently, especially for one’s own amusement; toy: She isn’t interested in you; she’s just playing with you.
4. To act or conduct oneself in a specified way: play fair; an investor who plays cautiously.
5. To act, especially in a dramatic production.
. . .

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition

We don’t necessarily think about dictionaries as a “playful” literary genre, and our students may not think about dictionaries at all. But just as poetry has various rules of composition—meter, rhyme, specific spacing on the page—dictionaries have formal elements that may be intimidating to our students and may be obstacles to our using them in the classroom to the greatest benefit.

This workshop will explore the possibilities for using dictionaries for poetic play, for encouraging the composition of new poems and for encouraging greater comprehension of existing poems. Teachers will leave the workshop with greater knowledge about how lexicographers (dictionary writers) do their work, about how different kinds of dictionaries work and about what those dictionaries reflect about the language. They will also leave with a set of exercises and open access resources that they can use in the classroom.


I’ve produced a Powerpoint (Word play) and a Lesson Plan for the workshop participants.

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Fall 2016 Update

Alas, I still struggle in my adaptation to WordPress. For those of us dinosaurs who

St. Dunstan hard at work on a project.

From the British Library: Full-page miniature of St Dunstan at work, from Smaragdus of St Mihiel’s Expositio in Reglam S Benedicti, England (Canterbury), c. 1170 – c. 1180, Royal MS 10 A XIII, f. 2v

struggled to learn HTML coding, WordPress conceals more than it reveals. Since I don’t tend to want my website to look like a “blog post,” I don’t exactly know what to do with it still.

But an update: this semester I am teaching two courses, LNG 201 Introduction to the English Language and LIT 370/HON 270 J. R. R. Tolkien in Context. I’ve finally figured out how to make my Canvas courses public without compromising my students’ privacy.

In the winter term, Diane Steinberg and I will be leading a study abroad course, LIT 367 British Theatre. To apply for admission into the course (TCNJ takes visiting students), please see the Center For Global Engagement’s description of the course.

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Summer 2015 Teaching and Research

I’ll start this summer by presenting at the DSNA-20/SHEL-9 combined conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, from June 5-7. Then I’ll be working on one main research project, George Fox’s (the leader of the Quakers) 1670 Primer. Diane Steinberg and I will be working on the organization of the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta Convention. July 20, I’ll begin teaching a graduate course on C. S. Lewis.

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Inspired to try WordPress Again

I went to Wendy Clement and Kathleen Webber’s “Lunch and Learn” session about using technology in the classroom, and I was inspired to try to finish my own WordPress site, since it’s lain dormant for two years. Nonetheless, there are lots of things I don’t understand about this technology, because the connections aren’t made explicit between the mechanisms for “widgets” and pages and how things are displayed. I should also be thinking about the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta convention.

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Well, at least this is a little more interesting…

I’ve discovered I don’t have to follow the college’s template (I’ll keep venom to a minimum–I know it’s bad for my complexion and my soul). I think that this page is slightly prettier. I still don’t exactly know how to control my material or how to establish a different page.

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