The Plaid Avenger!

A recent class discussion centered on how to engage students in the educational process.  It seems that one professor from Virginia Tech has come up with an interesting twist on engagement by employing a multi-pronged approach to learning the topic of international relations through the lens of “The Plaid Avenger!”

Front Cover

The project began as a textbook designed as a graphic novel, and has expanded into a series of such novels covering a variety of topics within the genre of international relations and an extensive array of on-line content including interviews, live interactive video office hours, profiles of international leaders, interactive forums and video instruction conducted by none other than the Plaid Avenger himself

In his own words, the Plaid Avenger describes himself as a “masked alter ego who can cunningly chameleon himself into any culture with his stylish use of retro 1970’s menswear, find out the facts, and then devise devilishly clever ways to captivate his students with the in-depth knowledge they need to understand the world when he returns to the classroom…Educating and illuminating students about what is happening out in the world, getting them fully engaged in the globalized 21st century,  and instilling a lifelong curiosity to keep up with planetary happenings. In this pursuit, the Plaid Team has experimented with radical new concepts in education, and the delivery mechanisms for material itself.   The Plaid Avenger’s World is a radical departure from the boring, painful to read,  encyclopedic-style tripe that students have come to accept as the only option for textbooks….”

In a recent interview, John Boyer (the Plaid Avenger’s alter ego) described the genesis of this innovative project as the answer to a simple question: “Why does all education have to be confined to classroom spaces?”, and noted that “education is something you should be doing your whole life.”

Hear! Hear!


About greybeardprof

Accounting Professor
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2 Responses to The Plaid Avenger!

  1. I’ve never heard of a professor taking this kind of approach before, but as an academic and avid comics/graphic novels fan I think this is an awesome idea especially for topics that might not immediately appeal to every student. If I wasn’t already stretched to the limit with buying textbooks, I’d pick up one of the “Plaid Avenger” books to look through it myself.

    • I really found his approach to be unique. The “textbook” link above provides a pdf of a sample chapter. A quick perusal of this chapter shows that while the style follows that of a graphic novel, the content is substantive.

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