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Becoming someone else’s assigned reading

Today I had a strange experience. I learned that one of my musings is required reading for Lighting the Page, Erik Simpson’s innovative course on literature and literary analysis in the digital age [1].

I’m used to having students read what I write. After all, I’ve written large portions of the readings for Grinnell’s CSC 151. And the musing that Erik assigned is essentially a form of one of the readings for that course.

I also assign Erik’s work in my own classes, particularly the oft-cited Five ways of looking at a thesis [2]. So it seems only fair that Erik assigns my work [3].

But it’s still strange to be assigned in a non-CS course. I’m not even sure how Erik plans to use the piece. Fortunately, I have a conflicting engagement the day that piece is due.

Postscript: When I followed the link from Erik’s site, I immediately noticed a typo. I fixed that one. I wonder how many more there are.

[1] One of the privileges of my position is that I can sometimes sit in on colleagues’ classes. I don’t often have time to do so, but when I can, it’s a great experience. I’ll write more about that privilege in a future musing.

[2] HTML version available at

[3] I doubt that A computer scientist’s perspective on introductory data science will ever be linked as much as Five Ways. I certainly didn’t put as much Goldmanesque creativity into my piece. Perhaps I need a sequel that builds on The Princess Bride; maybe I could write about a distant reading of that text [4,5].

[4] Or the missing chapter(s).

[5] That seems like an excellent project for my fall fellowship.

Version 1.0 of 2018-02-06.