Composition Pedagogy

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The Blogging SIG

The discussion at the CCCC Blogging SIG was, I thought, fairly productive. I didn't attend the one last year, but I'm told that a lot of the people who attended didn't know much about weblogs, so much of the time was spent on basics. This time, we split up into small groups and reported back to the larger group. Here are my notes from the small group presentations:

The first group discussed institution-wide blogging initiatives. UThink wasn't discussed, but I'm sure people will be talking about it next year, as researchers are compiling data about the uses of the UThink weblogs. Someone brought up possible connections with service learning and getting the community involved. Also, the group talked about the ways weblogs are being used in writing classrooms. The group concluded that we shouldn't just transfer what we already know about notebooks, listservs, etc. and think weblogs will make it better.

Transnational Feminisms: Rhetorical and Pedagogical Practices

"Transnational Feminisms: Rhetorical and Pedagogical Practices" was another panel I attended at CCCC (yes, I'm slowly but surely blogging them all!). As always, anything that sounds strange or wrong should probably be attributed to my misunderstanding, not their presentations. Because of a coffee craving, I got there late and only caught the tail end of Susan Jarratt's presentation, "Pathos Effects: Gender and the Regulation of Emotion in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Hearings." She was discussing trauma, loss, mourning, and psychological narrative among South Africans, and at the end, she said that rhetoricians have work to do; we must engage with the "emotional, juridical, symbolic, ethical, and political" aspects of this trauma, this "laboring in the realm of memory." The theme of the new issue of JAC is trauma, so it looks like the work is underway. Geographers and literary critics have been studying trauma and loss for a long time now, so rhetoricians would do well to look to the existing work (though I'm sure those who are studying trauma, loss, and mourning are already doing that). While I didn't catch much of Jarratt's presentation, what I did see prompted me to search for sources on the TRC and bookmark a few articles to read later:

Feminist Music Mix

Jenny needs some feminist tunes for a class tomorrow. This was the best I could do in a pinch...interpret these loosely.

Ani DiFranco, Not a Pretty Girl

Barbra Streisand, On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) (this live version especially. It's great.)

Joni Mitchell, You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio

Dolly Parton, 9 to 5

Joni Mitchell, Woman of Heart and Mind

Aretha Franklin, A Deeper Love

Luscious Jackson, Energy Sucker

Aretha Franklin, Respect

And just for fun: Sandra Bernhard, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Songs I wish I had that I'd put on this list: Video by India Arie and Unpretty by TLC.

I hope this helps, Jenny!

UPDATE: How could I forget Are My Hands Clean? by Sweet Honey in the Rock?

Owning Knowledge

I chaired a session at CCCC titled "Owning Knowledge: New Intersections of Intellectual Property, Technology, and Academia," with Mike Edwards, Krista Kennedy (whose paper was read by John Logie), and Charlie Lowe presenting. I didn't take notes at this one, as I was watching my cell phone's clock to make sure no one went over time. I do want to point to Charlie's presentation, Open Source-Open Access as Social Constructionist Epistemology, and Mike's, titled How Much Should You Pay for a C+ Paper? The Production, Circulation, and Ownership of Student Writing. Luckily, they've provided their presentations, so those of you looking for that feeling of being there will hopefully find some of that. Maybe next year I'll have enough money for the necessary gadgetry (and hosting space) to podcast the whole thing...

Writing Not Allowed? Lessig's Address at CCCC

UPDATE: Janine has audio of Lessig's talk!

Everyone's been raving about Lawrence Lessig's featured address, and I'd like to chime in and do the same. When the IP committee announced that they were able to get him to come and speak, I was thrilled; one of my serious convictions about IP scholarship in the field of rhetoric and composition is that we need to do a better job communicating with other R&C scholars about how the current copyright system affects them, and how alternatives to the default copyright would benefit them. We haven't adequately explained what the stakes are. I wish someone who has more expertise in this area than I do would make a good, clear bulleted list that contains specific things composition instructors get to do now, no problem, that an unfavorable decision in the Grokster case or some proposed change in legislation would change. Something like, "If the Grokster case is decided in favor of MGM, this affects you because the decision's precedent will make it so that you are no longer allowed to..." Or, maybe a list of possibilities: "If the Digital Millenium Copyright Act had not passed, you (as a composition instructor) would be able to..." "If the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act had not passed, you would be able to..."

The Aftermath of Access

Collin Brooke and Jennifer Bay kicked off their panel, "The Aftermath of Access: From Critical to Creative Computer Literacies" by showing theses from the Creative Computing Manifesto. I thought their approach -- two presentations that were sort of networked together -- was excellent; composing my notes now, I'm struck by how nonlinear the presentation was (in a good way!). I'll do my best to summarize the panel here, and hopefully contribute something to the conversation. Maybe the fact that I'm linking to the sources they mentioned will be helpful for some of you.

Bay (someone I don't know, so I'll use the last name) started off by problematizing a concept one encounters in writing courses. She said, "'The writing public' is already out there. People are already in it; they don't have to 'enter' it." She then described three kinds of computer literacies: functional literacy (the ability to use), critical literacy (awareness of values and ideologies embedded in computer culture), and network literacy, to which the panel was devoted.

To historicize and situate network literacy, Bay then reviewed Carolyn Miller's 2004 article Expertise and Agency: Transformations of Ethos in Human-Computer Interaction (PDF). In it, Miller identifies two major kinds of ethos associated with computers: rational reliability and sympathy. An "expert system" is rationally reliable, as opposed to an "intelligent agent," which gets its ethos through its common sense. Its agency emerges through social interaction. The 1990s saw a good deal of analysis of intelligent agents -- AI programs -- bots.

CCCC, Day 1, Session 1

Finally getting around to blogging some notes about sessions I've attended. I don't know if the overall quality of the conference has improved or if I just really know how to pick 'em, but all the sessions I've attended so far have been great. The first session I attended was "Evaluating Academic Weblogs: Using Empirical Data to Assess Pedagogy and Student Achievement."

What Do You Do When Your Mouth Won't Open?

Should I assign this book to my speech students?

Just one of many cool old books I was able to find at a used bookstore around here. More cover art to come. :-)

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