CFP, AI Costs, OER, & Joy Harjo
SEND A PROPOSAL TO
FOR THE APRIL 12-13 CONFERENCE!
AI’S SLURP ENERGY LIKE SMALL COUNTRIES.
3. OER: NO-COST ONLINE EDUCATIONAL
RESOURCES—WHY, HOW, WHERE
4. Book Review: JOY HARJO’S POET
WARRIOR: A MEMOIR
5. Equity/Diversity Literary Resources
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6. Free Teaching/Learning
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1. SEND A PROPOSAL TO
MnWE.ORG FOR THE APRIL 12-13
The MnWE Committee now is accepting proposals for MnWE 2024 at Normandale
College in the southwest quadrant of the Twin Cities metro area: go to
www.MnWE.org. The annual, two-day conference this year focuses on “New
Visions for College Writing.” With changes from the pandemic, the advent
of AI, and other political and social issues, we live in a world leading
to new teaching paradigms. Send us your thoughtful, brief proposal on our
theme or any other subject related to college writing and English,
tutoring, or related issues, and we’ll be glad to accept your
presentation. The MnWE Committee accepts the great majority of proposals.
The MnWE Conference is notable for emphasizing discussion in
a kind, respectful, pedagogy- and sharing-oriented atmosphere that
participants often discover is the equal of regional or even smaller
national conferences. This year’s conference promises to be lively and
well attended. Normandale is Minnesota’s largest community college. We
will be situated in its beautiful Garden Room for a plenary and lunch each
day with registration and modern breakout rooms nearby. All sessions will
be held simultaneously in the rooms and on Zoom, so you may join us and/or
present either way.
Most attendees come from universities and colleges in
Minnesota, but we also gladly welcome those from other states and nations.
Presenters range from experienced professors to first-time adjuncts,
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MnWE is an especially caring, gentle, and intelligent site for first-time
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before going out into the real world for jobs of all kinds. The conference
also is a dynamic opportunity to learn the latest in person about new
pedagogies—and old ones with new applications—in Minnesota and the nation.
Join us April 12-13 for a relaxing and exciting experience
with your colleagues. Go to
www.MnWE.org to start your proposal.
AI’S SLURP ENERGY LIKE SMALL COUNTRIES.
AI programs could,
by 2027, use as much yearly electricity as smaller countries such as
Argentina, the Netherlands, and Sweden, according to data scientist Alex
de Vries in the peer-reviewed journal Joule. His “moderate”
assessment was reported by Delger Erdenesanaa in an Oct. 10 New York
AI uses specialized
computers that De Vries refers to as “power-hungry beasts” because they
need so much energy. Whole new computer farms are being built to serve AI
interests. The overall estimated amount by 2027 still will be small
compared to all use: about one-half of one percent. However, even bigger
power drains are happening already because of searches, data storage, and
cryptocurrency creation. “In 2022, data centers that power all computers,
including Amazon’s cloud and Google’s search engine, used about 1% to1.3%
of the world’s electricity,” not including cryptocurrency, which used
about 0.4%, says De Vries. He estimates that Google’s search engines
alone, if switched entirely to AI (a distinct possibility), could use as
much energy per year as Ireland. With many companies using AI, and its
popularity increasing in years to come, ir may cause significant global
Much depends on whether AI companies and adopters like Google and
Amazon decide to choose green-powered sources over gas, oil, and coal.
“But that’s a tough sell,” says Erdenesanaa, “when companies are racing to
improve their AI models as quickly as possible.”
Where do faculty and students come into this? As with any
resource, good vs. frivolous use may be important. This may include
training students in when AI is truly useful and when it is mostly a waste
OER: NO-COST ONLINE
EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES—WHY, HOW, & WHERE
By Kelly Donahue and Randi Madisen
Open Educational Resources (OER) are
learning materials that are public domain or licensed to allow free use,
remixing, and redistribution. Faculty often think of OER as an entire
textbook that they use the same way they would use a publisher’s print
textbook in a class. However, open resources allow much more flexibility.
Often the best approach is to use the course modules in the Learning
Management System (LMS) to arrange multiple resources, with one or two
modules for each course goal.
Courses designed with OER often link students to multiple
sites. For example, faculty may use library resources like films,
articles, or even whole e-books for some course content. Other course work
may link students to readings from websites like Gutenberg Project for
past-copyright novels, professional sites like MLA to teach citation, or
how-to explanations from online writing labs to review paragraph
Open resources are licensed under Creative Commons to
allow adaptation and remixing, so they can be creatively reused, adapted,
and made-to-order to fit the requirements of local learners like aligning
to the Minnesota State transfer curriculum or diversifying the voices
represented. Resources can also be remixed. For example, faculty can use
the best chapter from this resource, an article from that resource, and a
video from a third resource. Faculty have the subject knowledge to either
adapt existing resources or even create new ones.
No-cost OER benefit students by saving them money and
increasing text accessibility. Classes using OER allow students access to
course materials on the first day of classes, regardless of their ability
to pay. And OER improve course grades and lower fail rates more for Pell
recipients and historically underserved populations.[i]
Most college LMS sites and all library databases incorporate accessibility
software that reads content aloud to students. Some colleges’ LMS sites
even have software that translates written material into multiple
languages for students to increase your course accessibility for all
Use the resources below and your institution’s library
resources to leave the constraints of a conventional textbook behind. Your
students will benefit from anything you can do to reduce their costs.
OER for First-Year Comp and Lit Students and Beyond
- Button, Aly, et al.
Writing in College, Open SUNY Textbooks, 19 Jan. 2016. Focuses
on the reason students write
- Glynn, Alexandra, et al.
You, Writing!: A Guide to College Composition. Minnesota
State Opendora. Explores the writing process in a logical order:
finding audience, purpose, and topics; developing a thesis and paragraphs
that support it; writing a first draft; and revising, editing, and
- Jewell, R.
CollegeWriting.org, A College Composition and Writing Textbook.
Basic, first-year and advanced comp and disciplinary writing. Most
chapters have student examples at three levels of difficulty.
- Kashyap, Athena, and Erika Dyquisto.
Writing, Reading, and College Success: A First-Year Composition Course for
All Learners. Humanities LibreTexts, 12 June 2020. Includes
additional materials that support developmental or English language
learners with college success skills, reading, and writing
- Literacy4DS. “Active
Reading.” YouTube, 28 Nov. 2012. Short video to help students
understand if their reading is active or passive, then review strategies
to promote critical reading
Purdue Online Writing Lab. All essential elements of writing
with links to specific readings or exercises.
- Stedman, Kyle D. “Annoying
Ways People Use Sources.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing,
Volume 1, ed. Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky. WAC Clearinghouse. Helps
comp students explore common source-use errors by comparing it to poor
driving. The entire book also is free and aimed at higher-level FYC.
OER Designed for Writing about Literature Students
- Bennett, Tanya Long. “Writing and Literature: Composition as
Inquiry, Learning, Thinking, and Communication.”
GALILEO Open Learning Materials.
Shows students how to read and analyze texts, then write about what
- Jewell, R.
“Response to Literature.” Step-by-step lessons on five typical methods
of writing to and about literature, with clear instructions and student
- Ringo, Heather and Kashyap, Athena. “Writing and Critical
Thinking Through Literature.” City College San Francisco through ASCCC
Open Educational Resources Initiative.”
Humanities LibreTexts, 13 Nov. 2021. A broad landing page
connecting to multiple literature-based writing texts
Other Places to find OER
Mason EER Metafinder. Simultaneously search 16 OER repositories.
OASIS. From SUNY Geneseo, Openly Available Sources Integrated Search
(OASIS). It is a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open
content easier. Try OER by subject label to find materials for a
- Opendora -
Opendora. From Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, a
repository to access, load, and share open educational resources.
UMN Open Text Library. From the University of Minnesota. Find
open-source textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be
freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by
faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their
Colvard, Nicholas, et. al. “The Impact of Open Educational Resources on
Various Student Success Metrics.” International Journal of Teaching and
Learning in Higher Education, 2018, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 262-276.
Kelly Donahue and Randi Madisen are faculty members at Century College in
White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Kelly in English and Randi as a Librarian.
4. Book Review: JOY HARJO’S POET WARRIOR: A MEMOIR.
W.W. Norton, 2021
Review by Steve Wiley
Joy Harjo, born into the Muscogee tribe,
has made art, music, and poetry since childhood. She recently complete
three terms as the U.S. Poet Laureate.
Her original, prolific output has
won her many awards: a Yale Bollingen, PEN/Voelcker, American Book,
Guggen-heim, National Women’s Hall of Fame, National Book Critics Circle
Lifetime Achievement, eight honorary doctorates, a nomination for a
Lambda, and dozens more. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa’s
famed MFA Program.
My aim here is to explore her most recent
memoir, Poet Warrior, its recursive density, and the lyrical beauty
of its language and design. It mixes memoir with poems, dreams, and songs,
with each telling becoming another layer of her deepening spiritual and
We encounter people and places Joy has known, a
network that grows with her. Her charismatic father, from an oil-rich
Creek family, and her beautiful mother fall in love and marry young. A
cook and waitress who keeps a “spotless” kitchen, she loves talking with
her friends. But his infidelity, alcoholism, and verbal and physical
violence with her and Joy worsen, ending when he leaves for good. Without
his airplane mechanic salary but four children to raise, her mother’s
health erodes. Her second husband is white and provides economic
stability, but he mercilessly oppresses his wife and the stepchildren he
loathes. A brutal predator, he beats Joy with his belt, toys with her teen
sexual vulnerability, and terrifies her. Joy seeks relief and connection
with alcohol and sex, without solace. Her enervated mother submits,
powerless and exhausted. When he dies, she’s institutionalized by the
state and put on Thorazine for decades.
Joy’s close connection with the Old Ones, her
council of ancestors, helps her not only survive all this pain but become
increasingly aware of herself, other people, and nature (snakes, rivers,
trees) as all being alive and related. The Old Ones live on the other side
and visit her in mind, bidden or unbidden, always at need. They name her
Girl Warrior in childhood and, throughout her life, show her the endlessly
elaborate, vibrant connectedness of the whole living world. The girl
intuits this easily. At puberty, she receives a song from the Old Ones:
“The Life of Beauty” traces her from incarnation; to “tendrils of fire
longing,” sexual and spiritual, in adolescence; to a retrospective on
adversities she will overcome and connections that will strengthen; to the
future when “she left this story behind her.”
And after she turns fourteen, the
Old Ones name her Poet Warrior. She now can survive her stepfather; she
even credits him with compelling her to strengthen her imagination to live
introduces several dozen other influences on
Harjo’s creative life, some famous, some obscure, all of whom she is
grateful for. Among them: Santa Fe’s American Indian Art Institute opens
her full artistic breadth in high school and for decades afterward; Leslie
Silko, Simon Ortiz, Galway Kinnell, and Walt Whitman influence her poetry;
the Lascaux cave painters, Marc Chagall, and Native artists inform her
art; African, African American, and Native jazz musicians are the impetus
behind teaching herself sax in her late thirties and forming two jazz
bands (one still touring). And Joy has had countless teaching and
At nearly thirty, the Old Ones
tell her she has a choice to commit to the path of poetry. She’s been
publishing poetry since 1975 and writing it longer, but overwhelmed by
years of being a single mother, she refuses the call and tries to escape
her responsibilities. After seven aimless years in denial, Joy returns to
her family in time to see her daughter’s daughter arrive. The Old Ones
welcome her back, but her daughter disappears, and her tender genius
boyfriend develops schizophrenia and dies, homeless, in a hit-and-run.
and successes have made Joy Harjo strong. “Everyone is a teacher” to her,
and she honors some of the mentors who have helped her resist “the
multicorporate glut.” She corresponds with Meridel le Sueur from her
college days until Meridel’s death in 2011, encouraged by her persistence
against adversity. Scott Momaday’s poems show Joy anew how to craft. Audre
Lorde’s live readings engage the power of speech to connect intimately
with the listener and confirm that the personal and political are
connected. Lorde says that mother, lover, and poet are all warrior roles.
Hawaii, the Amazon’s pink dolphins and rainforest, and the reviving effect
of a gift of pure coca leaves—all of them taught her.
Her mother is an especially powerful teacher.
Free of Thorazine and the mental hospital, she comes home to die. Joy’s
care becomes “midwifing [her] through to her next life.” She and her
sister and her niece are with her mother at the end. Joy writes a poem
envisioning washing her mother’s body, sadly poignant because she is not
there to do it. Now, happily married and living on the Creek reservation,
Joy looks forward to seeing her friends and family on the other side and
joining the Old Ones. In her final vision, she holds her fifth great
granddaughter, sings a song into her for ancestral strength, and walks her
into her time to deliver her to this world. The recursive movement here
comes full circle to the first pages of Poet Warrior.
Most students likely will find her story hard to stop
reading. The topics are dramatic and easily set up for discussions and
responses on multiple levels—artistic, political, social, historical.
Harjo is an American literary treasure, and this book is but one more in a
string of her “Memory Sack[s]” of people, beings, and forces of nature
that she immortalizes in her several forms of art.
Wikipedia on Joy Harjo
What might you or your students enjoy reading and researching?
Graphic Novels Offering Diversity:
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