Teaching Literature in the Online Classroom

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
John Miller
contact email: 

Call for Chapter Proposals: Teaching Literature in the Online Classroom

We are soliciting proposals for a collection of essays to be published by the Modern Language Association offering practical advice for teaching college-level literature online, written by experienced instructors, and incorporating current scholarship on the topic. Of the many books published on online pedagogy, very few have focused on the specific challenges and opportunities of teaching literature online. Discussion, close textual analysis, the consideration of competing theoretical approaches, and even writing play unique roles in literature instruction. And more than most disciplines, the study of literature asks students to reflect collaboratively on questions that bear directly on the way they conduct their lives and situate themselves in the world beyond the classroom. We hope that this collection will challenge what Kristine Blair has called the “presumption of loss” in online learning, to move past the is-it-better/is-it-worse impasse of conversations about distance learning to explore how online learning might respond to some of the perennial challenges of literature instruction.

We invite proposals for essays of approximately 3,000-5,000 words that describe approaches to teaching literature online. Though descriptions of assignments and practices may refer to specific learning platforms, essays should be relevant to literature teachers using various learning management systems.

Given the practical aims of the volume, we are particularly interested in essays addressing the following topics, though we welcome essays on topics not listed as well:

  • Teaching and Designing Instruction in a Distance Environment
    • Fostering Teacher and Student Presence
    • Establishing a Community of Learners
    • Teaching Close Reading and Textual Analysis
    • Promoting Creativity and Spontaneity
    • Opportunities and Challenges of Asynchronous Interactions
  • Using Online Tools to Teach Literature
    • Synchronous and Asynchronous Discussions
    • Presenting “Content”: i.e., Forms of the Lecture
    • Creating and Managing Online Collaborative Work: e.g., Wikis, etc.
    • Writing in the Online Literature Class: Workshops, Peer Revision, and Beyond
    • Using Video and Other Media
  • Approaches to teaching specific works, authors, periods, literary theory, or other topics
  • How online learning may transform literary studies

Authors are invited to submit proposals of 250-500 words on one or more topics, along with a brief bio, by January 15, 2019. Please email proposals or questions to John Miller (jmiller@nu.edu) and Julie Wilhelm (jwilhelm@nu.edu).