Happy New Year

I started the year with a plea to preserve the college essay in the face of artificial intelligence. As the year ends, I’m still more resolved, if you will, to defend the genre as the touchstone of academic competence. In May, I suggested a course design that alternates between take-home and in-class essays to incentivize our students to develop their prose style. After the summer break, I wrote a few posts as time permitted — one about language models, two about Calvino, and one for undergraduates — and then decided to experiment with different daily writing routines. First, I spent four weeks writing a daily post in a very informal, unstructured way. Then I spent four weeks writing a formally composed paragraph every morning whose key sentence I had chosen the day before. I rounded out the semester by working every morning on my book and writing a weekly blogpost about the experience.

In my last post, I indicated the broad outlines of my plan for next semester. January will be very slow here, though I may post if the feeling strikes me. Something more rigorous will begin in early February.

In any case, I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year! I, for one, am looking forward to it.

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