I’ve been blogging since my first year at the University of Vermont. I use blogging and Twitter as a way of communicating with people in and outside of my field. Both of these venues allow me to share my thoughts and also to help think through ideas that will later work their way into my more formal research. My personal blog is entitled As Canadian As Possible, Under the Circumstances. As its title suggests, one of my preoccupations over the last seven years has been with my experiences as a Canadian living in the United States and, more broadly, the role that each country plays (or doesn’t play) in the other’s daily life. This connects to my upcoming book project on the depiction of Canadians and Canada in US popular culture.

Blogging is a vital part of my work as a scholar, but also as a teacher. Aside from modeling for my students what it is to be someone who’s curious about the world of literature and ideas outside of the walls of the ivory tower, I also use blogging as a tool that is crucial to my own pedagogy. In every class that I teach, I have students respond to weekly blog prompts. The work that they do on the blog helps them to become more active learners. Everyone who participates in this required assignment, in other words, is asked to share their own reflections on the works we are reading in class.

As you will see if you choose to look through some of my class blogs, the work that students produce through this assignment can be transformative for them as they start to understand the works they are reading in a much different way. The fact that I make my course blogs public spaces rather than the walled-off learning spaces we find in course management systems such as Blackboard or WebCT also seems to prompt them to produce stronger work.

Here are links to the blogs from some of my current and past courses:

English 180: Topics in Canadian Literature
English 005: From Pucks to Parliament: a freshman seminar exploring Canadian culture
English 182: Topics in Colonial/Postcolonial Literatures (my focus in this course is usually on First Nations Writers from Canada)
English 086: Critical Approaches to Literature
English 252: The Canadian Postmodern (senior seminar)

4 thoughts on “Blogging

  1. Nicolas Mayer

    Dear Mr. Martin,
    my name is Nicolas Mayer I am from Beuren, Germany. The next Year I’m writing my A level and for that I must write a seminar work. In a group of 15 pupils we prepared some facts about whole Canada. After that we must decide about on special subject in and around Canada. Because I’m so intrested and fascinated in sports, I decided to write about icehockey in Canada. Although I have seen some NHL games and of course the Olympic Final 2010 in Vancouver, where the Canadian people showed how fascinating this sport can be. During my search in the internet I found your site and want to ask you, if you can send me some informations about Canadians feelings in hockey.
    It would be awesome if you can help me.
    The precise title for my work is: “Hockey in Canada – More than just a game.”

  2. Bryan Smith

    Hello Paul,

    I stumbled across your webpage and immediately connected with NorthWest Passages, a bookstore from which you helped me beef up the Canadian content of College Avenue Secondary School, supply us with lots of good Canadian poetry while it was the League of Canadian poets outlet, and great conversations with you and others, on-line more often than not. I’m glad to see that you are back in Canada, though it is Vermont’s loss.

    I also noticed that we have crossed reading lists again. Randall Maggs, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems and Cara Hedley, Twenty Miles on your reading list are also on the reading choices for kids at CASS. The Sawchuk poems are an extension of John B. Lee’s, “Hockey Player Sonnets” now in the “overtime edition” and still able to evoke smiles of recognition and winces of pain when they read about breaking limbs on ice. Moreover it is great poetry.

    I was not aware of your interest in postcolonial literature, but had I been would surely have talked to you about, among others, Rienzi Crusz, my favourite Sri Lankan-Canadian writer. Okay, I know Ondaatje is more famous, but Rienzi’s a guaranteed hit with students while Michael’s “Skinny Lions” (sic) loses a number of them somewhere on the oak floors or off the Danforth bridge.

    If you follow Joseph Boyden, there is a speech he made to Native kids in a new book from McGraw-Hill that the editor talked him into allowing them to publish in “Struggle and Strength” an anthology of all new Native writing. I was so excited to see it after working with stories about (Native) teen suicides and after reading “Three Day Road” that I bought a stack of the books, regretfully not from NWP. Sigh

    In any case, end of nostalgia. Nice to know you are still doing good work. Cheers and happy new year in 2012

  3. Stef

    Hi there – I came across a picture of a mug “Obama for Prime Minister” which appears to have been posted by your fine self. Please tell me if I can actually purchase this mug somewhere? I’m in the GTA.

    Many thanks!!

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