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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 (
  • 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 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

Formal registration for the conference will occur when participants sign on to the conference listserv,, at


  • 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

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.

Hiatus (for about a week)

I have to cut out as many extracurricular activities as possible and try to rest. I've never thought of blogging as expendable before, but I'm tired, depressed, full of self-doubt, in the throes of career crisis, you name it. Some stuff has to go so that I can put my self-soothing skills to use by going to the park and knitting in the sun, watching movies, and reminding myself that the semester is almost over, really it is. But until then, may I have one of each of these -- and these? My supply of 5-HT is nil.

Reminder, to self

Read The Rude Pundit when you're depressed.

Celebrity Weblogs

Is anyone in a popular culture graduate program writing a dissertation about celebrities' weblogs? I hope so. I just found the LJ of Elyse Sewell, who was on the first season of America's Next Top Model, and then there's Zach Braff, of course, and Margaret Cho. Al Roker's is underwhelming. Makes me think of Miller and Shepherd's observations about the "democratization of celebrity."

UPDATE: I forgot about Rosie O'Donnell's blog (linked from here, but there is some doubt as to its veracity. Also Wil Wheaton, but he's so much more real than the others and takes blogging so much more seriously; I tend not to categorize him as a "celebrity blogger."

Publication, the Public University, and the Public Interest

I'm really excited about -- and plan to blog -- this conference, the Daily's announcement of which one of my students pointed out to me (thanks, if you're reading this!).

Blogging Conference Presentations, Permission, Ethics

I've been thinking lately about ethical disagreements regarding posting notes from conference presentations. Some bloggers feel guilty or slightly uneasy about posting their notes. Some scholars, citing copyright and/or privacy concerns, might not want responses to their conference presentations online. Fair enough, and I sometimes ask permission to blog conference presentations. I don't ask bloggers for their permission though, usually; I harbor an assumption that they are more comfortable with having their ideas made public. When I do ask, though, you'd think I'd said something like: "May I have permission to give you $100.00?" or "With your permission, I'd like to give you an award for Best Scholar Ever." Point is, the response I've gotten has been overwhelmingly positive. Presenters have said they'd be honored if I posted my notes on their presentations. People have said thanks in comments and over email, and -- I love this -- Shani Orgad even cited my notes on her panel on her professional homepage (under "Research Interests"). I think it's great that people can write reviews of research presented at conferences, and that scholars can, if they choose, include those reviews in dossiers. I hope Orgad will start a trend. Skeptics might argue that reviews of conference presentations on blogs are too cheerleader-y and not critical enough, and sometimes that is the case, but for my part, I wouldn't waste my time composing a blog post from my notes if I didn't think the session was good. It's like letters of recommendation.

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