Composition Pedagogy

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More on student blogging and FERPA

Here. I think I'd seen this blog before, but I just noticed that they started it to discuss a 2004 Computers & Writing workshop on Ethno Techno Pedagogies.

Computers & Writing Online 2005

I'm excited. For the first time ever in our field, the online version of the Computers and Writing Conference is going to be held in public, on a blog (Kairosnews). Instead of having a review process with designated reviewers, we're having a public feedback process (I say "we" because I'm on the organizing committee), which will have designated respondents but will allow anyone registered on Kairosnews or another Drupal site to offer comments as well (collaboration, baby!). Here's the call for proposals:

CFP: Computers and Writing Online 2005

When Content Is No Longer King: Social Networking, Community, and Collaboration

David Reed explains that in the early stages of a network's formation and growth, that “content is king,” that there are a “a small number of sources (publishers or makers) of content that every user selects from" (qtd in Rheingold Smart Mobs 61). As the network scales, “group-forming networks” occur, and the value of the network increases exponentially in relationship of the number of users, otherwise known as Reed's Law, privileging the social interaction over content.

We can see this change in network valuation in today's Internet. The increased valuing of social interaction in large scale networks is reflected in the new technologies that place emphasis on social communication and community over content. These technologies, often dubbed “social software” are applications that, as Clay Shirky explains, “support group interaction.”

We invite proposals from scholars, graduate students and others who have an interest in computers and writing and social interactions and are working on projects in gestation, in progress, near completion, or at any stage in between, whether a thesis or dissertation, article, book project, or just want to preview and fine-tune your conference presentation for Computers and Writing Conference hosted by Stanford University. This is a unique opportunity for extended discussion of your ideas before heading to Palo Alto. Conference organizers are particularly interested in presentations that address, but are not limited to, the following concerns:

  • Internet “social software” technologies such as blogs, wikis, RSS, social networks (orkut and friendster), and social bookmarking (del.icio.us).
  • Mobile technologies such as wi-fi and smart phones.
  • More traditional social, community communication spaces of email, discussion forums, newsgroups, listservs, and MOO's.

As an acknowledgment of the value of social networks in creating discourse of and about scholarly work, CWOnline 2005 will follow a submission process using weblogs whereby participants will submit abstract proposals for public review and feedback within the Kairosnews site. Final versions of presentations will be made available online on Kairosnews.

Interested presenters should present a 150-250 word abstract by midnight April 30. Abstracts must be submitted to CW Online 2005 at http://kairosnews.org/cwonline05/home. Not only will presentations receive feedback from conference organizers, but presenters are encouraged to invite colleagues to provide feedback and to expect feedback from people who are responding out of the goodness of their hearts. Presenters are expected to respond to the feedback provided by organizers and "informal" reviewers as a condition of being accepted as presenters. Final presentations should either be posted to the CW Online blog space, or a link to the presentation should be posted in the blog with a brief explanation of what the materials covers.

More specific information about the abstract and presentation submission process is available at

http://kairosnews.org/cwonline05/submissions

Formal registration for the conference will occur when participants sign on to the conference listserv, cwonline05@kairosnews.org, at

http://kairosnews.org/mailman/listinfo/cwonline05_kairosnews.org

Timeline

  • Proposal abstracts accepted until midnight, May 2
  • Reviews completed by midnight May 8
  • Acceptance email sent no later than May 10
  • Presenters will begin posting their presentations on an assigned date, beginning May 31 and ending June 13.
  • Discussion on each submission continues as long as interest warrants.



For support and more information about conference technologies, visit

http://kairosnews.org/cwonline05/support.

Presentation on Blogging in the Classroom

On Monday, 25 April, I'm scheduled to do a presentation at the Academy of Distinguished Teachers' annual conference on using weblogs in the classroom. I've done presentations before on this topic, but I don't want to do the same talk; I'd like to build on it, taking into consideration the feedback I've gotten on assessment and on posting my experience last fall, and the panels from CCCC, including the blogging SIG and Evaluating Academic Weblogs: Using Empirical Data to Assess Pedagogy and Student Achievement.

Also, there's a lively TechRhet discussion going on about FERPA's implications for the use of weblogs in college courses. Maybe I'll speak to those concerns, or just make some notes on the issue in case someone in the audience asks about it. Any suggestions for what I should cover? This group will have an interest in instructional technology but might not have much background with weblogs, which makes me wonder how I'll approach some of the points raised at CCCC, especially the claim that when teachers are not bloggers themselves and don't actively read or comment on other blogs, their use of weblogs in the classroom will likely be less effective and fulfilling than it would have had the teacher engaged at length with the technology beforehand. It's an argument I'm inclined to agree with, to be honest, but I don't want to intimidate or discourage anyone. I'd appreciate any help.

Baby's First Thesis Committee

I've been asked to be on the honors thesis committee of a very sharp student. I'm honored. :-)

Can't Get Enough Parenchyma/April Fool's Regrets

I've been consuming a lot of starchy fruits and vegetables lately. Today, for example, I've had two bananas, two Pink Lady apples, a baked potato, and a ton of steamed sugar snap peas. I have one more apple, one more potato, and three more bananas left, and I'm eyeing them artfully. What's the matter with me? What sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency could possibly account for this?

On an unrelated note, I'm sorry to say I didn't play an April fool's prank on my students. Instead, I just told them about two pranks I was thinking about playing on them, but was too lazy to follow through. You know that Internet Anagram Server? I was thinking about putting all the students' names through it, coming up with choice anagrams, and creating a roll sheet with the anagrams instead of their names. After I decided it would be too much trouble to do that with forty-one students' names, I was going to rummage through some of the CDs I have in my office and select one they might find really annoying, perhaps something by Enya, bring it into the classroom along with a CD player, and be all deadpan (like I'd be able to do that) and say, "Okay, everyone, we're going to listen to Enya's 'Orinoco Flow (Sail Away).' And as you listen to it, think about what Enya's purpose is. What is she trying to do rhetorically?"

Yeah...laziness probably served me well in this case.

CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus

John Logie began the CCCC Intellectual Property Caucus with a tribute to Candace Spigelman, co-chair of the Caucus, who passed away last year. Candace never lost sight of students in the process of talking about rhetoric and intellectual property. Institutions are here for the benefit of students. He set up a Candace Spigelman Memorial Fund, which will benefit the Caucus. Directions on how to contribute to the fund will be on the web site soon. Then he reviewed the MGM v. Grokster case and explained why we, as rhetoricians, should take an interest in it. He held up two sheets of paper, one in each hand, that said, "THE INTERNET IS A PEER-TO-PEER NETWORK." The Grokster case, he argued, represents the threat of suppressing technologies that merely have the potential to be used for copyright infringement. Jeff Galin (I think) posed these questions: Can we engage our students to get active in this as well? Can we imagine ways that free use and fair use might intersect? What roles are we going to play to challenge Congress and the entertainment industry?

Because Charlie ended up not being able to attend the Caucus, I presented on the new CCCC-IP web site (I attached my transparencies to this post). Charlie and I moved the content from the old site to this fancy new Drupal site. Basically, I encouraged everyone to register with the site (looks like three or four people did register since then) and contribute content: posts about IP/copyright news, source annotations for the Resource Guide, etc. After that, I introduced the "Just Ask!" campaign. Prompted by a Kairosnews thread, four journals announced that they'd be offering authors the option to license their articles under Creative Commons licenses:

  1. Computers and Composition Online
  2. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
  3. The Writing Instructor
  4. Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing (not official, but nb the CC license here, granted me because I asked.)

All this happened because people asked. I also have it on good authority that Enculturation would very likely let an author CC license a work if he or she asked, as authors who publish there retain the copyrights anyway. So ask! Remember to ask. I think a lot of people tend to forget that there's another way to do this, and that asking doesn't constitute an ultimatum (do this or I won't sign!!). In fact, I think authors should ask for CC licenses, Founder's Copyrights, etc. especially when they're sure the publishers will say "no." That at least lets the publishers know that scholars want this option. I'd like to emphasize the need for senior scholars, who have a wide variety of choices when it comes to publishing venues, to choose these journals, and to note, either in the body of the article or in an endnote, that they published in this particular journal because they support open access and Creative Commons (Logie has also made this point).

Home Words: City Writing

I'm finally winding this CCCC blogging thing up, getting around to Jeff Rice, Jenny Edbauer, and Geoffrey Sirc's panel. I know several of you who couldn't make it to the session have been waiting to read my notes, and I hope I don't disappoint. If I misunderstood anything the presenters said, I'm sure they'll leave comments here to correct me. :-) Jeff started out with his paper, titled "Writing Detroit." He made several intriguing connections, the first one being the rhetoric of the city's parallel with the rhetoric of digital culture. Both are fragmented (and composition studies dismisses "fragment" as error). City writing embraces fragments, the fragment as place, without resorting to representation, problematizing representation. Writing in digital culture usually means taking snippets of sound, images, text, etc. and remixing them to form something new. He brought in Nigel Thrift's concept of "everyday urbanism," remarking that few cities are as "urban" as Detroit. Jeff defined "pedagogy" as he was talking about it as "generalized teaching," not limited to classroom instruction in particular. He called for the discovery of place as rhetoric: writing the city, writing myth. When we write the city, we're writing our own ideologies, not mimicking or re-presenting the city. Jeff then went into a sustained example using the history of Detroit, especially Henry Ford and Eminem, which was really interesting. I couldn't possibly do justice to it here, but maybe Jeff will post something about it. Anyway, he pointed out that when students are asked to invent the university, they are also being asked to segregate themselves from the city. In city writing, rhetors are like flâneurs, and appropriation is the guiding principle. The assembly line, to use a Detroit metaphor, is like composition: the combination and juxtaposition of elements. Making appropriation the guiding principle encourages ambiguity, a "mood-based grammar," attitude and bravado in writing, a pose of boasting, like one Eminem or Henry Ford might assume. (Let me be careful here. I got the impression that Jeff was saying this kind of writing fosters confidence in students and discourages passivity and timidity in student writing, not that he was making some kind of claim for braggart-as-ideal-rhetor.) He closed by saying that in city writing, you articulate positions, not arguments; you re-invent, rather than re-present. Geography inscribes difference, and difference becomes reinscribed in geography. (I had that last sentence in my notes, but I forgot what the connection between it and the previous sentence was...)

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