In this page, I have collected some syllabi that either I designed myself or substantially contributed to.
The University of Chicago 2020-
Indiana University Bloomington 2013-2020
ITAL204: Corso di perfezionamento
In this course, students have the chance to explore fundamental themes related to our society, such as immigration and racial issues, non-normative sexual and gender identities, youth and future, inclusive language. Through focused readings of very recent essays, novels, songs, social media posts, etc., and lively class conversations, I motivate students to constantly identify and challenge their world views and beliefs, engaging in cultural diversity with an open mind.
Italian 204 is a bridge course that allows students to transition from core language classes into literature classes. The course meets three days a week in which both culture and grammar are explored and reviewed. In this course, students have the chance to explores fundamental themes related to our society, such as immigration and racial issues, non-normative sexual and gender identities, youth and future, inclusive language. Through focused readings of very recent essays, novels, songs, social media posts, etc., and lively class conversations, I motivate students to constantly identify and challenge their world views and beliefs, engaging in cultural diversity with an open mind.
In terms of assignments, I designed a variety of activities, such as written and oral Canvas discussions – all written discussions present a different format (i.e. blog post, opinion article, letter to the editor, etc.); grammar tests that pair written production with the practice of specific grammar structures; Canvas quizzes to review grammar; at-home reading comprehension tasks; a multi-step final project culminating with the composition of a paper. The goal of all written assignments is to prepare students for the production of an original final research paper, an opinion article, or a creative text. I give students the option to choose the format they feel most drawn to, because I believe these types of courses should give them the opportunity to practice skills they might not practice in other literature courses. Moreover, in this course students are able to complete the reading of an entire graphic novel, Non stancarti di andare, by Teresa Radice and Stefano Turconi.
Finally, the digital platform Canvas has a huge role in the success of the course. Since the course is based on materials I select and make available to students every week, students’ main interface for the course is the Module component on Canvas, which at the same time present updated day-to-day class activities and homework.
Sample week – Homework and assignments on Canvas™
I learned so much about social/political topics in Italy like religion, immigration, race, gender, sexuality, etc., my grammar skills improved significantly, and we spent all of class in discussion so I got a lot of speaking practice.
I appreciated the emphasis on contemporary Italy. I feel like I was able to engage more deeply with Italian culture and politics than I have in previous courses and move beyond generalities and stereotypes.
Honing my writing and grammatical skills, as well as learning about how contemporary, global problems are being grappled with in Italy.
Homework assignments contributed the most to my learning. The balance of reading, writing, listening, and talking was great, so I feel like I strengthened each of those skills.
Lectures were really interactive, which helped develop our communication skills. Some assignments involved writing a little bit, which helped develop our writing skills.
M301: Italian Reading & Expression
I developed a new syllabus that pairs the study of Twentieth century Italian history with the history of Italian comics, in order to have students familiarize themselves with less conventional materials such as fumetti and graphic novels. The association of pictorial and linguistic elements in comics helped students develop complex analytical skills in both verbal and visual literacy.
M301 is a bridge course that allows students to transition from core language classes into literature classes. The course meets five days a week: MWF are devoted to culture, while TTr are devoted to reviewing and practicing new grammar. As lead instructor, I designed this course from scratch, collecting materials on history and on comics from a variety of sources. For the historical overview, my main source has been Bartelesi-Graf’s Italia dal Fascismo a Oggi, whose texts I adapted to facilitate students’ understanding. For explaining comics and artists, I compiled several scholarly sources, some of which I had to re-write according to students’ reading proficiency.
I also paired secondary sources with primary sources, both in terms of digital reproductions of comic strips and comic pages, and of material objects (my own comic books and comics magazines). Thanks to Professor Arnaudo’s generous donation of comics to the Lilly Library of Manuscripts and Rare Books, I was able to provide my students with the opportunity to observe and analyze comics works dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.
As far as assignments, my colleague was in charge of grammar quizzes, while I took care of the remaining tasks. The main goal of the course was to enable students to write a successful critical paper in which they contextualized and historically situated a comic work or an artist; therefore, I designed all main cultural assignments as steps to accomplish this final task. Finally, the digital platform Canvas had a huge role in the success of the course. Since materials were selected and made available to students every week, students’ main interface for the course was the Module option on Canvas, which at the same time presented updated day-to-day class activities and homework.
M250: Intermediate Italian II
Each section of the course analyzes different topics through the lenses of history, literature, art, comics and cinema. Structured with the goal of easing the transition from language-based to content-based courses, this course provides the opportunity to craft multilayered, all-encompassing activities. This way, I encourage students to identify meaningful aspects of Italian culture and make significant comparisons with their own culture.
This fourth-semester language course has been developed by a group of instructors and lecturers at Indiana University (including me) with the aim of offering students the opportunity to practice vocabulary and grammar in context. Each contributor compiled materials and created activities in the fields of history, literature, art, comics, and cinema, with topics ranging from war to love and friendship, from adventures and everyday life to migration. In addition to creating the chapter on comics and congiuntivo imperfetto and trapassato, I helped the lead researcher turn the course into a digital Canvas platform for online courses, and I innovated the structure of the in-person course. The result is a multi-faceted course, which includes a variety of in-class and out-of-class activities and allows a good degree of freedom to the instructors that teach it.
M300: Italian Conversation & Diction – Italian culture through Films (co-taught)
In my Advanced Conversation class we tackle questions of religion, gender identity, political views and disability. As I am aware that controversies might arise in dealing with such sensitive topics, I seek to assign material that shows a variety of angles and stimulates a flexible and open-minded approach.