January 31, 2005
Retromediation and Novelty
Frankly, as I read "Remediation, Genre, and Motivation: Key Concepts for Teaching with Weblogs," by Brooks, Nichols and Priebe, all of NDSU, I wondered about the consequences of framing weblogs as remediations of older forms--the journal, the notebook and the filter. What results from a setup of weblogs that calibrates their potential in terms of paper-based corollaries? It's difficult to know exactly how this was framed beyond the evidence we find in the article (the framework, the research narrative, the questionnaire, the data-sets, the conclusion) and in the related links (the weblogs themselves, a syllabus, a reading list, adjacent assignments) so I'm reluctant to respond to the essay with firmly resolved skepticism, especially considering that it reflects some of the earliest uses of blogs to teach writing. Yet through this limited lens, I have doubts about why we need to liken blogs to paper counterparts. What's gained? Is it a way to legitimate composition pedagogy adventurously (inventively, imaginatively!) straying from long-recognized forms, forms often occupying the lion's share of weight in the event-oriented syllabus or program-wide curricular design? Is it a way to call up, for students, a sense of the familiar? Although it is, perhaps to a lesser degree than resonates in this article, necessary at times to present students with a grounding in the familiar, when Brooks et. al. tell us, "we wanted to balance the novelty of the activity with a grounding in familiar literate practices," my initial thought is that a high stakes flattening/deadening/adequation is inevitably brought about. And this, I think, must bear on motivation, if only subtly, tacitly.
What do I suggest instead? Well, it depends on the broader aims of the course. For collective course blogs, I'm less and less inclined to model exemplary entries for the whole class, and rather than talking about what blogs enable by connecting them to the written forms they (more or less) resemble, I prefer to introduce blogs to students in terms of their impact on how we think (sure, paper variations impact thought, too), develop and write with/about ideas and so on (more to this, but I'll let it rest here).
One issue that is, literally, ringing in my head right now is blogs and vanity. I blogged today about this article in the NYT where moms (and parents) who blog are considered attention-seeking. I just finished scanning this article over at Learning Circuits by Jay Cross where they discuss why blogging works in learning environments: "Children are vain, just like adults. They desire and require an audience for their thoughts and achievements."
Hm. So, knee-jerk, is, you know, vanity is not necessarily a characteristic or quality that is particularly comely. However, since it keeps coming up, I'm concerned. Do we need to rethink vanity? I mean, I understand that Adam Curry and his cohorts are doing something valuable for kids, and that they don't mean to disparage anyone. But I'm afraid people will make some crooked connection, like blogging requires or fosters self-importance and conceit.
But in a way, it does. These are qualities, then, that are necessary for learning, I guess. Students have to think that they are capable and skilled enough to succeed, or they might not for lack of...conviction? Motivation?
So I need to be less offended by all these people who characterize bloggers as vain and self-preoccupied and more critical of what this ability to be vain and self-interested can afford me. If I think *I* am important, maybe I'll learn that everyone is equally important and can begin to treat others with a mindful courtesy and consideration (in the sense of considering others' opinions and needs--not only in the sense of being 'considerate'). If I accept that I am self-absorbed, I will forgive others for the same absorbtions. This is starting to sound like "12 Steps for Recovering Bloggers," and I don't mean it to. What I mean it to do is say that maybe the technology revolution CAN BRING US BACK to things like a liberal arts, humanist model for education.
Being offended is rather unproductive, anyway.
A couple of quick notes
D'oh! Clancy reminded me (in her comment to Tyra's post) that two of our readings for this week actually exist as blog posts, which means that, when you respond to them, you can ping the URLs, i.e., send trackbacks to the articles themselves. Just click on the trackback link under the title in the TOC, and a window will open with the trackback URL at the top. Paste it into the "URLs to Ping" box towards the bottom of the posting interface...
Also, I thought about adding this to the week's readings, but didn't. Clancy, among many others, wrote a short essay for the special section on Academic Blogging in the latest issue of Lore. All of the pieces there are fairly short, so stop by if you have some time...
January 30, 2005
Unpacking the ramblings
As per Collin's request, I'm going to try to make a bit more sense in regard to my post about the Blog Fiasco.
The main point I think we should consider (in the context of the Mehlenbacher and Carolyn Miller study and my comments as applied to the now infamous Blog Fiasco) is the role and treatment of educational technology in the writing classroom. I don't want to bog down in classic "computers in writing" discussions -- there are a lot of articulate and lengthy discussions about that topic. The point I was trying to stress is that we (as students and teachers) need to be extremely sensitive to the role of technology in the learning process -- particularly across the spectrum of the types of learners we work with (and are).
In a lot of ways this is exactly what CCR 711 is about: What role do technology-based (or enhanced) networks play in how we "design" relationships. I realize I'm starting to get fuzzy here, but let me try to work through this. Consider this question: What theories or practices support your decisions in regard to using technology in a classroom? If you answer that question from an Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation perspective, your thinking is likely to be influenced by learning and instructional psychology. If you answer from a Comp/Rhet/English perspective, you're likely influenced by communication theory. And if you’re answering the question from a Tech Com perspective, you’re most likely struggling with all that and a good dose of systems theory.
There is a wide spectrum of theories and supporting practices that explain why we do certain things as teachers in regard to technology. The reflexive nature of Comp, while encouraging to those of us studying a dramatic range of topics under its banner, should come with the following caveat: No discipline can claim ALL cites in which a single activity occurs (i.e. writing), particularly instructional cites created by the presence and use of multiple technologies (which themselves are created by multiple complex elements). Any educational technology (the blog is only one such technology) is composed of a number of elements. The tool is singular, but the elements that bring the tool into being are many and complex. Unless we as teachers (and users) consider these elements together in our course designs, there is no pedagogical purpose in considering the technology at all – even if we think we know what we’re doing.
In the case of the Blog Fiasco, aspects of “applied” (is that still a four-letter word?) communication theory could have helped identify the implications for using a blog to fulfill the instructional requirements of a resident course. I’m not talking about advanced communication theory here. We were all introduced to Shannon and Weaver in Comm 101. Much of that fundamental theory has found its way into modern instructional design practice; it’s simply been co-opted and merged with concepts of learning theory -- and in regard to the Blog Fiasco – especially in the presentation of information to learners and the use of feedback.
So what’s your point man? Well, I’m saying we need to study and work across a number of disciplines before we can confidently embrace and exploit technologies in the writing classroom. Simply knowing what a certain technology does is not enough. We need to consider it from multiple disciplinary perspectives. When we lack that perspective, we need to seek it out. We need to collaborate with the experts or become experts ourselves. But we should never try to wing it. There’s too much of that being done already in the name of online and distance ed -- and trust me, it’s why Comp’s disciplinary struggles look like a game of Candy Land in comparison to what Distance/Online Education is going through.
the sidebar lengthens
I've made some changes to the sidebar, pulling the participants out of the drop-down menu, adding a "Recent Comments" category that will point you to the most recent action here, adding a comment count to the Recent Entries, and dropping (temporarily) the category listing.
One thing we discussed on Thursday was the prospect of providing links to each person's collected entries. To that end, as you post, regardless of which other categories you create or assign to your posts, please assign your name or initials as a category. As you do so, I'll add an "entries" link after your name on the participants list. You should also be able to go back and retroactively assign that category to your previous posts.
Recap, week 2
It's not really "sidetracking" if there wasn't a "track" to begin with, right?
On Thursday, our class time went in a very different direction than I'd originally planned, and with good cause. There are two classes that meet on Thursday, and of the 10 local students in the course, 7 of them are taking both mine and Becky Howard's CCR 611. Due to unforeseen and near-tragic circumstance, Becky was unable to hold class Thursday morning, and tried instead to use the course blog to hold class virtually. I don't think I'm spilling any secrets when I note that it didn't go too well. Part of this was simply the fact that there was a minimum of time available on the parts of all involved to think through such a change. Also contributing, I suspect, was the fact that it's so early in the semester as well as the terminological density of the reading assignment for this week. Anyhow...
Most of the students in my class, therefore, had experienced no small amount of frustration that morning. Much as I loathe the phrase "teachable moment," I quickly found it to be one and we spent most of our class considering how and where the morning course broke down, and what this breakdown could tell us about this particular use of a course blog and about weblogs in general. One of the terms that van Dijk uses in her piece is Bolter and Grusin's "remediation," and in many ways, each of our articles for this week were about remediation. But rather than considering them in detail, our overarching question for the week was to what degree a course weblog can remediate the classroom experience.
I won't repeat here all the stuff I say in the document on course rhythm, except to note that this was one of my personal themes. There are specific elements in weblogs (MT doesn't allow rapid posting, for example, in an attempt to discourage auto-spamming) that work against trying to hold a virtual class in one. Nor does it track conversations especially well if they are happening quickly and in several places.
One of the themes I've hammered at for the past couple of weeks is the way that weblogs work against the product-oriented, "binge-and-purge," event model of academia, and in many ways, we benefitted from the concrete example of an attempt to replicate/remediate the event of a class meeting in the context of an environment that is only partially friendly to such an attempt. Many of the issues raised in our discussion (the multiplicity of channels, the difficulty of control, the learning curve both for the technology and the course material, etc.) connected in interesting ways to the question of what a weblog is and does.
I'd love to share more, but I'm working from memory, and my recap is far from exhaustive. Anyone else who'd like to contribute should feel welcome...
January 29, 2005
Serendipity: There's an essay by Steven Johnson in the NYT Sunday Book Review this week that makes for a nice supplement to last week's reading, or perhaps a transition to next week's. As I'll be noting in my weekly recap, the theme word for our class on Thursday was "remediation." On the one hand, it's pretty easy to observe that new media remake old media; on the other, pinning down exactly how that happens is more of a challenge. Johnson's article, "Tool for Thought," promises an early glance into the kinds of remediation we should be thinking about here.
Referencing Vannevar Bush and Howard Rheingold, he observes:
Most of these gurus would be disappointed to find that, decades later, the most sophisticated form of artificial intelligence in our writing tools lies in our grammar checkers.
But 2005 may be the year when tools for thought become a reality for people who manipulate words for a living, thanks to the release of nearly a dozen new programs all aiming to do for your personal information what Google has done for the Internet. These programs all work in slightly different ways, but they share two remarkable properties: the ability to interpret the meaning of text documents; and the ability to filter through thousands of documents in the time it takes to have a sip of coffee. Put those two elements together and you have a tool that will have as significant an impact on the way writers work as the original word processors did.
That's a bold statement.
More important than the NYT piece, though, is the detail that Johnson provides on his own blog, as he explains how DevonThink works for him, complete with illustrations. What I'd point out here is that the kind of bibliographic linking that he demonstrates is something that each of does privately. I may jot a note in the margin of a book, pointing me to a passage in another, establishing a path between the two in my head.
Tools like DevonThink push at the limitations of our personal memories, though, by (a) never forgetting (like I do, frequently), and (b) making connections that we ourselves may not. And perhaps most radically, tools like these may make it possible, as Johnson observes at the end of his post, to start sharing these personal, mental networks which, up to now, exist entirely and imperfectly in our heads.
One of the places where weblogs stand ahead of the curve is in the linking and sharing of information, of course. One of the places where they lag, though, is in interior management. Sure, we can search weblogs for terms, but the kind of "see also" searching that Johnson describes is largely beyond them. Those tools might not be far away, though: check out the BlogTrace project that Anjo Anjewierden and Lilia are working on.
It's with this kind of work that I can really start to imagine how our academic processes and practices might change for the better...
‘scuse me mame, is this horse dead?
Completely loved the last class discussion, i.e. the Blog Fiasco. Real-world examples cannot be beat, especially when so many people have so much invested.
Something Diana said got me thinking about an article that I brush off every once in awhile -- especially when I find myself getting too enamored with the tools and technologies of the online trade. She said something like, “We’re all teachers, we know how to conduct a class.” And that, I think, is what made the incident so frustrating for so many.
As teachers, we all have experience with and knowledge of instructional practices – and we know how to address the wide spectrum of learning styles in our classrooms. Some of our students are holistic learners – give them a topic and example and they run with it. Other students are serialistic learners – they need more declarative and background information before they can apply a topic. And some students fall some where in between those two poles.
In Active and Interactive Learning Online: A Comparison of Web-Based and Conventional Writing Classes (IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 43, NO. 2, JUNE 2000) Brad Mehlenbacher and Carolyn Miller (yes, THAT Carloyn Miller) documented a study that examined how students in online technical writing classes “performed” in comparison to students in resident technical writing courses – same curricula content.
The most important results (at least those that I like to refer to) were not located in the performance assessment data, but in the relationships between prior knowledge and learning styles and the online writing environment.
... global learners performed significantly better online than active, sequential learners, whereas there was no difference between them in the conventional class.
I think studies like this can be used to remind us that teaching with technology (whether in pure online formats or what we call “blended” formats) is a complex exercise. As such, we should constantly monitor our learning activities by asking ourselves if we’re maintaining knowledge transfer and skill development across the learning-types spectrum.
January 28, 2005
blogging (with) students
lowe & williams have--and link to--a lot of really productive ideas for using blogs in, instead of, alongside, etc. classrooms--as teaching tools, as interactive media, as semi-public spaces, as hybrid forms of journaling & peer collaboration...
and i'm really enthusiastic about these ideas. or at least i'm enthusiastic about them as ideas, as terrific ways for other people to engage other students in other blog projects. i don't have any intellectual reservations about class-wide blogs or individual blogs on class-wide aggregators, on closed or open systems... it sounds like an awful lot of play room with huge potential for using new spaces to get new students to do more of the "old" thing--writing--which of course is never really old, because it evolves along with its users and media...
but i have emotional reservations that i don't entirely understand.
i've had a personal blog--one that's not really a diary because i'm too conscious of who's in my audience, but that serves as a space to keep in touch with my far-off friends and talk primarily about things that are not academic--since 2002 (my goodness, i'm almost old school!), and i don't think i had it running for 24 hours before i started thinking about its implications as a classroom tool. so it's not like i was slow to catch on to the idea.
but since 2002 i've held off on implementing any of those ideas, and not because of the technology involved. (like blogger accounts, livejournal accounts are free, incredibly easy to set up, and terrifically user-friendly. they make closed communities easily, or can be left open. they have an array of who-can-view-this posting functions... all push-button accessible.)
i've held off for reasons having more to do (as i think about it now) with those shifting definitions of personal and private space. blogging with my students, when i imagine doing it, feels like an invasion. in both directions, to some degree. my blogspace is my blogspace--sharing it with friends is one thing, sharing it with a faceless, infinte public is another, but sharing it with students... there's a line there, and things change with its crossing. (i could certainly create an alternate "identity" to work with students online in, and never tell them that the ones i've used so far exist. there are ways to both be "out there" and invisible. but it feels like a place to me--too many viewings of tron as a child, perhaps--and unlike the supermarket, it's a place where teachers--as they appear in my head, however against my inclinations to say i don't see them this way at all--and students--in those same constructions--don't mix.) there's also a line the other way--i know most of my students have some kind of online identity, whether it's in a blogging community, through friendster, or just on instant messenger, and although i've started using IM to conference with students in the past few years, i'm still very respectful of the distance i perceive as appropriate. i almost never "ping" them to initiate conversations--if i do, it's to respond to a question i said i'd gather more information before answering.
i want them to have their world without me in it. the fact that it's in many ways an almost entirely textual (with bright pictures) world makes that more important to me as a writing teacher rather than less--i want to interact with them in ways that encourage/foster writing, sure. but (and maybe this is because all of my teacher-training was focused on the teaching of adolescents) i can't help feel that one of the most encouraging things i can do with regards to their writing is to leave them a space where they're alone--or at least alone-with an audience of their choosing & defining--alone away from me--to do it in.
Mathemagenic/Lilia Efimova - an intro: what blogging did to my research?
It took me a while to start writing this post: I was somewhat reserved to write "out of context" and wanted to read others first. It didn't work, so I'd just start somewhere...
I'll start from a quick brainstorm on "what blogging did to my research?"
- finding out that I have something interesting to say even if I'm just a beginner in the field
- finding others studying strange things I want to study and not feeling as an alien
- getting more confident writing in English
- being convinced that PhD could be finished and emotional support at hard times
- shaping my PhD focus
- ideas from other fields (which has a bad side as well - it's difficult to keep focus)
- lots of inspiration, ideas and regular feedback on small things
- bridging hierarchies and borders - blogging brought me into contact with people that a PhD student would only dream talking with
- being invited (to speak, to contribute, to review)
January 27, 2005
Do Non-Bloggers Need an Invitation?
Blogging as Civics Lesson
There is an article in College Teaching, "Employing Civic Participation in College Teaching Designs," by David L. Palmer and Christina Standerfer (vol. 52, no. 4) that makes some good points about how educators should encourage civic participation among students and I couldn't help but think about these points relative to blogging. That is, if I didn't know better, I'd think they were talking about blogging. For example,
Having students act as citizens encourages them to embody--rather than merely wade through--the ideas they study (122).
Civic education accentuates community responsibility and democratic participation (123).
Studies indicate that combining civics and education creates effective forums for applied knowledge, enhances social-issue awareness, and strengthens motivation to learn (Jarosz and Johnson-Bogart 1996) (123).
In light of our question about academic blogging, would more posts and conversations about print sources, and active marketing of such help matters? That is, if we bring other academics who aren't presently bloggers to our blogs by responding to their work in print sources on our blogs, and then they stick (create their own blogs, etc.) because they like the forum? In other words, we invite them to 'embody the ideas we study' and participate in our conversations.
On Edmonds, et al
I want to first say that I think Jen has really nailed the readings in regard to the moving target. I get the sense we’re all circling the same carcass.
I like the Edmonds piece because in some ways it reads like a specification. Less a futurist’s view and more of a practical guide for implementation using technologies readily available today.
As noted, blogging has developed organically -- and this is exactly the reason why it is struggling for legitimacy and recognition. Perhaps analogous to a disciplinary struggle (Comp anyone?), the blog must be defined and examined if it is to sustain itself as a practical tool – academic and otherwise.
Consider the debate that has been raging for years about open source and open standards… Blogging technology is a byproduct of these movements, and as such, blogging elicits a lot of skepticism beyond its primary sites (the academy being one).
In regard to genre, I very much agree with Henry’s comments about how we apply known genres to new “forms” of writing. This has long been a standard practice in and out of the technical writing classroom. What is so unique (and perhaps what complicates the genre discussion) is the act of blogging and the nature of the document. As Edmonds notes:
… using standard Web browsers as the composition, editing and viewing mechanism makes the document itself the interface; an evolving personal information hub augmented in value by its relationships to other hubs on the Web.
It seems to me that regardless of genre, modes, forms, and epistemology, blogs are drawing a lot of attention simply because they are linked (hyperlinked) and multi-perspective. What other genre does that sort of networked self-expression? Chain letters?
I’m still working through this. My thoughts are a bit complicated by an old Robert Kozma article that I just re-read: Will Media Influence Learning: Reframing the debate. I’ll post some comments about this article and my additional thoughts about the Edmonds article over at my joint.
January 26, 2005
blogs and (+"rhetorical") genre
i too have the same problem with calling all "blogs" members of "a genre" as does van dijck below:
Weblogs or ‘blogs’ is a rather general container for a variety of genres; the so-called lifelog seems to come closest to the traditional diary genre. But can lifelogs and blogging be considered the digital counterpart of what used to be a paper diary and diary writing? As the cartoon implies, the answer to this question is a paradoxical ‘yes and no.’ Cultural practices or forms never simply adapt to new technological conditions, but always inherently change along with the technologies and the potentialities of their use.
as van dijck points out, the problem with naming a genre "blog" is that there are many kinds of blogs--people blog in many different genres. (i'd never heard the specific term "lifelog" before--how 'bout the rest of you?) but people talk about them as if they are a genre, or a few genres ("lifelogs" vs. "academic blogs" vs. "poly" (multi-authored) blogs vs. ???)--a move that seems to make at least a little sense because they're clearly something other than the print-genres we're used to--so, the logic goes, they must therefore have a genre of their own.
i see the slippage there coming from two places:
1) new technology seems to easily lead to blurred distinctions between genre and medium--a blurring that would never occur in the standard print-genres of the technology we've gotten used to. one doesn't wonder whether a poem is still a poem or becomes prose if it's on parchment rather than notebook paper. it's possible to say that "blog" is the same thing--just a different kind of "page" on which any type of thing can be written.
in their 1997 "postings on a genre of e-mail," michael spooner and kathleen yancey* have the genre-vs.-medium debate about e-mail (the title is misleading; the designation begins and ends under debate, so they never agree that e-mail is a genre at all). the arguments they present will sound similar: e-mail is a way to convey information, but that information can appear in different forms--so it can be used for many different genres. BUT it also allows for, encourages, even demands textual practices that are different from what print media allow, so it creates (or allows the creation of?) (a) new genre(s). their point (that they can't answer the question?) is underscored by the format of the piece--appearing in a collection of scholarly essays, their contribution appears as an e-mail transcript, a print-out of a conversation going back and forth between correspondants, much like these postings turn into conversations in the comment sections. print genres don't do that. one person speaks. another person might speak later in a rebuttal, but both (many) voices don't appear to challenge and contradict each other. in e-mail, as in the blog (and here i'm getting to madeline's ideas), the audience speaks (strikes? i couldn't help it!) back.
2) genre means very different things in the literary tradition, where it's primarily spoken of as a form-based classifying appellation each particular work carries or a set a work belongs to, and in rhetoric & communication fields, where "genre theory" is theory about & the study of the purposes that drive, demand, and modify form. so while coming out of the literary tradition we might look at a blog to see what properties it has on its page, and compare those properties to the propertires of other pieces of writing on their pages, and from such observations decide what generic category to place it in (or that it needs a new one), a rhetorical genre scholar is more likely to look at what the blog does--what need it was created to fill, how it fills that need, what other ways of filling that need there might be--to answer questions about the uniqueness of that need. are blogs just another, comparable way of doing something old, or do they do something different and new?
*in bishop, wendy; hans ostrom, (eds.), genre and writing: issues, arguments, alternatives; portsmouth, nh: boynton/cook publishers. at comppile, search under "myka."
(xposted to c&a)
Blogging - What is Visible/Invisible
The readings for this week seemed to flow inside/outside each other quite often, so it has been hard for me to fix on one point to ruminate on, but I will start with a quote from Joan Didion about her writing process and computers that I have known about for years and has been haunting me this past week while thinking about technology and writing. She states,
Before I started working on a computer, writing a piece would be like making something up every day, taking the material and never quite knowing where you were going to go next with the material. With a computer it was less like painting and more like sculpture, where you start with a block of something and then start shaping it.
The idea of something being there prior to the invention of writing is interesting to me in light of the readings we have done this week. It seems as if all of the authors are talking about both inventing something new via blogging (genre, information system, epistemology) by using a form of technology (html and the web ) and genre of writing (diary and/or epistolary) that has been there. So it seems as if blogging can be seen as an intervention (?) or perhaps a better term would be intersection between the past/present, public/private, visible/invisible. And therefore, it gives us a way to occupy spaces that have traditionally been kept apart through our beliefs and practices.
Now I may be pushing the epistemic angle of blogging further than the readings, but I don't think that I am being disrespectful to any of the authors we have read because they all seem to be articulating ways in which blogging can challenge and/or change how academics can construct themselves in non-traditional spaces, which follow non-traditional, and perhaps evolving, methods and conventions.
The idea of a blog as a receptacle for ideas and materials that are constantly influx, re-imagined, and circulated is very productive to my thinking about how different stories create images of "people" who then have to choose to accept those images or challenge them. But before I get ahead of myself, I want to share a list that I am attempting to think through and don't quite have a handle on. What it is ... is the charting of "things" that the three articles we read for today discuss as visible or invisible in blogging.
Visible: 1) the process of writing -- through links, chronology, short entries, and daily occurrences blogs show how people think about things when they think about them. Mortensen and Walker discuss this in-terms of the lack of analyzing and systematizing of the product in blogs allows for a freer (?) version of the author's writing process. 2) private thoughts -- seemingly insignificant details of the everyday, discussions between friends via comments, and personal reflections on a variety of topics on blogs make the private become public. van Dijck discusses this at length. 3) the private -- as in the spaces outside of the public realm. For Habermas, this was the essential space (a home and house to protect) needed in order for people to come together in public to debate. Mortensen and Walker discuss Habermas' analysis of the conflation of the public and private spheres, and I am not sure but I think that blogging may disrupt this while codifying it. (Still thinking this one through.)
Invisible: 1) the material text -- pages, paper, the concrete proof of publication. All of the authors for this week touched on these ideas in differing ways. They show how the lack of material can lead to distrusting the information, as well as freeing the writer to be more open with their writing. 2) the Public -- the salon and spaces of interchange described by Habermas have become invisible. They are now links pages and comments made by disembodied people in abstract space. The networks are there, but they cannot be seen. This creates a challenge when trying to think about the blogosphere as a new public realm.
I have not fully fleshed out these concepts, but I will say that I think looking at blogging as a site that can represent our shifting expectations of knowledge and knowledge production is important. Although I am not sure if blogging is merely representative, or if it is affecting the change. Things that make me go hmmmmmm.
I'm digging on the brief history lesson. I used to teach diary and journal writing to adult students, and one of the things that alway came up was audience -- the fact that regardless of when and how we write in our diaries, we are alway imagining some reader. In some cases that reader is the author in some future place. In other cases, the reader is posterity.
What I like about van Dijck's analysis is that blogging (unlike diary or journal writing) IS about creating a social fabric -- about generating new networks (I knew I could squeeze that in somewhere) by exploiting available technologies:
Weblogs or digital diaries are perhaps primarily about synchronising one’s experience with others, about testing one’s evaluations against the outside world. Blogging, besides being an act of self-disclosure, is also a ritual of exchange: bloggers expect to be signalled and perhaps to be responded to. If not, why would they publish their musings on the internet instead of letting them sit in their personal files?
The requirement to be heard. A new forum. Another vehicle. The potential to be heard and be anonymous. Now that's attractive.
Blogging and academic life
I'm back with a couple of thoughts about the Mortensen and Walker article.
First, the notion of brevity. I've seen blog posts that are really brief, and I've seen some that are short essays. Moving from the quote by Evan Williams on the first page, Mortensen and Walker later discuss the ways blogging has changed for them, in part acknowledging that they make longer posts than they once did. So as they also discuss the way blogging changes the way they write, I wonder if that phenomenon changes the nature of blogging in return.
I was also really interested in the attention they draw to the notion of the academic researcher as disinterested observer/recorder. Can blogging actually change this dynamic in academic research? Can we find a place for publication and acceptance of research projects in which we as researcher are also we are active interested participant? This seems to be what they do in this article, and it seems to work. Which is to say, I enjoyed reading it and I found them credible.
But as they point out, academic writing, or "writing for our peers" carries certain expectations with it (and I might add I found this little list immensely succinct and helpful as a guide for what to "do" in an academic article....): references to theory (preferably current), references to empirical data with justification of its important, and a "spirited" discussion of the relationship between the first two. Nicely put!
Then there's the point about cultural capital - I'm not a big fan of Bourdieu but I find myself quoting or paraphrasing him more and more. So this point about cultural capital being the reward of the academic is really intriguing. If citation is part of the requirement of publication (as we've discussed in various classes), and blogging is the new wave of research, thoughts, and sources of information, then how can we forsee shifting "credit" for publication from these sources? What would it take to have that paradigm shift move throughout the academic publishing world? I understand their idea about challenging that system by simply self-publishing through blogging, but that doesn't bring tenure and promotion, does it? And can we change that system by simply subverting it?
Finally, I find myself very interested by the quote excerpted from Rebecca Blood (20), particularly the part about gaining confidence in her own opinions, ideas and perspective. I think that's what's still missing from my own academic work. I have a hard time believing that blogging can make that difference, but at the same time, putting ideas out there and getting feedback is the workshopping backbone of writing, right? I really do understand the idea of thinking better when I write, but I still have the very kinetic connection to writing with pen and paper.
It may come as a surprise to my classmates, but I made a career out of being a change agent. So it would be like me to embrace this different way of writing and thinking. Hmmmm.
Blogs and old school
To understand one dimension of blogs, I'm reminded of Peter Elbow’s work. Both the diary and the researcher’s notebook are forms of free writing, but a honing of self and knowledge, and almost calligraphic in the sense that they are penned in one stroke, so to speak, and typically added to rather than erased and revised. The diary is traditionally a stronghold of the expressivist self, but in free-writing and process pedagogy it found a counterpart in process and learning journals, cousins to researchers’ and artists’ notebooks, where the intellectual self engaged with public knowledge and experience and cooked up emergent ideas. This all took place privately in one’s own spiral-bound pages. On the other hand, the second pillar of Elbow’s program was the airing of ideas in the process of seeking feedback, but those giving feedback were often seen as a sort of focus group to help the writer/thinker/artist clarify thoughts and achieve better effects.
On the other side of the fence, I think of the social theorists who found the center of gravity of writing in the community rather than the self: theorists of discourse communities, genre studies, and so forth. This gang was concerned with the public forces that constrained writing in various ways and the pedagogies that arose were concerned with writers’ adapting to the conventions of the disciplines and the academy. They called for a more public voice. But for here, let's just say they're the community informing one’s writing and interjecting its purposes.
The character of the times in which both of these paradigms were working themselves out forced them to stand in opposition to one another.
What I’m struggling to get a grip on about blogs is that, here in the Age of Connectivity, they allow the two strains above—the private, process journal/research notebook and the oversight of the community—to merge in a strange place. (Is it a good place, or just the place technology allows?) Via the blog, the community is already present with, and audience to, ideas in their first notation, and the process journal can become dialogic in a critical way at the point of inception. It can become a publication even while it seeks to publish. Feedback would seem to move toward poly-authorship. Was there an importance to private contemplation in the spinning out of one’s ideas? What happens when an audience has already consumed, or even contributed to, material before it is fully elaborated? Does the need to elaborate fade? Will the future of a text depend on a difference between the blogging community and its "audience"? Or has this sort of process always been going on and is it the textuality and archival functions that blogs make possible that thicken the implications? I think of a finished text, for instance, containing citations of experts, but which are in fact feedback and responses to earlier blogged drafts of the text. Should “we allow ourselves to write half-thought, naked ideas and show them to others rather than saving them for fully fleshed out carefully thought through papers”(Mortenson and Walker)? Could this give rise to a sort of minute-rice or lightning chess form of scholarship? Or would that even be a bad thing?
January 25, 2005
a quick side-note
I don't want to break the continuity of a series of good posts here, but oh well. I'll keep it short. I've invited a couple of guest bloggers to join us here for a few days, Clancy Ratliff and Lilia Efimova. Clancy is ABD at Minnesota, and easily one of the most experienced people in rhet/comp at using, researching, and teaching with blogs. Lilia works in learning and knowledge management at the Telematica Instituut in the Netherlands, and just returned from a whirlwind tour of the U.S., including a stop in Chicago to host the latest incarnation of the BlogWalk conferences. I've asked each of them to post quick introductions (in more detail than I can provide) and to post as the mood strikes them.
They're the first two of several people that I've invited to join us for a spell on this site to ask questions, add perspective, comment, etc.
I got a weblog-as-ramped-up-diary-with-(potentially)-big-audience
OK, let's do the genre thing. I'm sitting here trying to work up a way in, and there are too many places to begin. Too many things! So, we'll do the genre thing for now (who's it for? what's it do?).
I'm wary, like I think Derek's wary (correct me!), of the weblog-as-ramped-up-diary-with-(potentially)-big-audience. However, I don't want to be wary. I mean, I want to take this whole thing back a step and confess: I WISH I WROTE COLLIN'S BLOG. Or Derek's. [I say this with respect and admiration, guys.] They both tend to keep things, I'll say 75% or more, "safe-for-public-viewing." Some "unsafe" entries? Oh, Derek talked about his crisper-cleaner-out soup once; Colllin took a picture of his Mom's house this fall. But mostly these guys are taking smart things and making smart ideas and schooling us all.
Me? I got a weblog-as-ramped-up-diary-with-(potentially)-big-audience. I didn't mean for it to be so. But as I posted, the evolution of an audience nearly constructed the blog itself. I'm serious. The people who were leaving comments, for the most part, were other moms, mostly those in school (as student or teacher or both). And so when I would sit down to post, I would write *to* these people, who I didn't really know. Ideas for entries moved away from, you know, smart stuff I was reading to stuff about Halloween candy and the kids being able to smell chocolate from across the house.
I think that Van Dijck's got something going on. But I think what might be up for reconsideration is the audience factor. Blog, as rhetorical action, as genre, really REALLY make a writer aware of the communication triangle. Who's reading? What do they want to read? How can I get them to read, respond?
And while I am wary that blogs are "just journals," what I hope will happen is this: the electronification (like it?) of the "just journal" will retroactively remake our thinking about diaries and journals. That we will find value (hey, possibly academic value) in the discipline of a daily entry that reflects on the (sometimes) mundane.
Interesting article by Van Dijck. I like his histories and comparisons about and between diaries and blogs. I haven't thought of diaries in a long time. The last time i journaled steadily was when my life was a mess and my therapist insisted that I write to collect my thoughts and record my healing process (so I could see life improvments and be encouraged, I might add.) Because I have been introduced to blogs by academic peers and professors, it really hadn't occurred to me to think of blogs as digital replacements for those treasured hand-written volumes I keep in a box in the closet.
I understand, intellectually, the draw to blogs for personal journaling, but I am much more interested, and see much more potential for them than that. I think the list of uses in "Blogging as Breathing" is compelling, especially her suggestion for knowledge parsing and organization. The blog-as-tool seems to me to hold tremendous potential for knowledge making through writing--something compositionist firmly believe in.
Anyway, back to this article...I'm wondering if I understand what Dijck means by mediated communication. He seems to imply communication that technology has materially altered--like with telephone lines, typwriters, e-mail, and now blogs....but it seems to me that language has always been mediated--by cultural norms and rules, priveleged discourses, etc. So do digital scholars use mediation to specifically refer to advances in communications technology? Just curious and trying to get the lingo on board.
Van Dijck suggests that we might think of a weblog as a journal or diary nouveau--the result of digital media and the internet blending to enable linked writing spaces. I like the genealogy she traces: the long (papery) tradition of daily record-keeping from the confessional, lock-n-keyed entries of a teenager to the "communal means of expressing and remembering" we find in the nautical records of S. Pole explorers. And yet I'm uneasy with the correlation between blogs and diaries, perhaps because "that's just journaling, right?" often comes with a sneer meant to infantilize/trivialize the medium of weblogs (or perhaps that's just my own sensitivity to such suggestions, which I have, at times, thought to be pejorative, aimed at demeaning that which bloggers claim to find so meaningful).
I don't want to go blog-wild with this entry, but I do want to register one half-formed idea: the label genre, while it might be appropriate for the "varied and heterogeneous" category of diaries, seems to work less well when applied to blogs. Half formed...perhaps less...that idea. Genre, as I think of it, imposes a kind of hard edge to the scope of what's being defined. And, because blog, as Mortensen and Walker point out, can be understood as an action (verb), I like to think of blogs as considerably more varied and blog as infused with doing/performance more than any genre (genera/kind) designation affords. So that's all: differentiating blogs by genre always makes me pause, as it did in Van Dijck's article. As well, on the correlations of weblog types to "link-logging" and "life-logging," I find the clusters to overlap, rather than to function discretely. (I'd have to review again whether Van Dijck is explicit about this point, too). I only mean to say that weblogs consisting primarily of entries reporting on links and weblogs consisting primarily of entries reporting on life rarely deny the encroachment or interference of the other. As guiding definitions, they quickly deteriorate or blur, I think. For such rules (and rule-minded blogs), there are as many exceptions, and exceptionality is--for me--one of the more fascinating dimensions of the blogosphere.
I want to put this entry to rest, but before I do so, here are two more gems from Mortensen and Walker's article (which is, I think, full of simple, glowing bits). First, they say, "I think better when I write" (269). I really like what this says, mostly for what it does to remind me about my own habits of reading, writing and thinking. I think I think better when I write, too, and it's been especially engaging to write in a blogspace where various folks can read into my writing to whatever extent their own interests compel them. Second, they note that blogs have a discrete topoi: memory and meta-reflection (270)--another interesting piece I'd like to return to, explore, etc.
Cross-posted to EWM.
Reading Response - Dicjk
So if I'm right about this we're supposed to be posting discussion responses to this blog for the readings we're doing, right? So here goes a try:
van Dicjk write about blogs as a kind of extension of the diary or journal. I see what he means. I used to write long reflective e-mails to a friend of mine, in part because life made more sense when I wrote to that individual than any other time or in any other medium. Then one day the friend said to me that what I was really after was an "accountable journal." That changed my thinking about what I was writing -
for several reasons, but the one most relevant here being that it had never occurred to me that I was sending out my thoughts and reflections to be validated by someone else. I've kept a journal for years and years. When I was little I had a "diary" with the lock and key and everything. I don't have any of those anymore, but I do have journals going back about 15 years, although they have been purged considerably. I never really thought that I was writing to anyone except myself in those spaces - certainly I never intended for others to see my journals and when once that happened, it stopped me from writing openly for myself for years. Yet I do see that writing in any medium almost has to presuppose some "other," even if the other is just another part of me. That's a whole "other" conversation...
I'm intrigued about the notion of posting thoughts to the public space of the blogosphere. It seems to me to take a bit of arrogance wo assume that anything I would have to say would be of interest to anyone else in the world, and to put those thoughts in a public medium such as a weblog seems to declare tham as important. I never think I have that much of interest to say in a general environment. Who would care what I thought about anything?
So then van Dijck writes about rewriting log entries, with a corresponding reference to Anne Frank's interest in rewriting her diary. This reminded me of Louise Weatherbee Phelps's article in Composition in Four Keys about rewriting her daybook entires and rewriting thoughts about writing again and again. I see the value of that, but I wonder about doing it in a public space. Maybe I'm not ready to have my thoughts and development be that transparent. Maybe I feel the separation from thought to keyboard that van Dijck wrote about with the coming of the typewriter.
I like my pens, and papers. I have brand new spiral bound notebooks in varying sizes that have cool sheer plastic covers, colorful top inside covers, and paper that is either colored (pastel) or contains an embedded colorful background. I use a wide variety of pens, as anyone who's ever been in a class with me knows (and that doesn't include the round of 100 gel pens I recently acquired and keep at home, nor does it include my extensive crayon collection, nor my fountain pens.....). I have handmade paper, as assortment of note cards, narrow lined tablets, wide lined tablets and plain notebook paper. I guess to some degree, those items are part of my signature.
For all those tools, you would assume I have a lot to say to a great many people. I don't. And that's a paradox to me, because the "easier" is becomes with technology to produce, archive and retrieve text, the more difficult I find it to write.
January 24, 2005
One of the questions that I want to raise this week is a deceptively simple one, and it's one that has been asked plenty of times in blogspace: what's the relationship between blogging and academic writing? Or, to put it another way, is there room for blogging in academia as more than a hobby or a distraction? Eszter Hargittai (re)raised this question a few months ago over at Crooked Timber, and collected a nice set of links that are worth exploring in this regard.
One emerging theme seems to be that there are definite benefits to blogging for many academics, but these are often not very tangible. In addition to the general intellectual exchange many of us likely find of value (or hopefully we would not be spending so much time on it) is the feedback we receive on specific research related posts that has the potential to influence our thinking and writing. This has certainly happened to me and I consider it a somewhat tangible benefit although one that only shows up indirectly on my CV.
On the one hand, questions like these echo similar concerns raised on behalf of listservs--at one point in time, some people included discussion list membership on their CVs, and they may still do so. On the other, I think that there's a case to be made that blogging is a different sort of activity. For one thing, list membership isn't particularly measurable, while blogging is quite so, in terms of posts, comments, traffic, links, etc. Those of you who have read Peg Syverson's The Wealth of Reality may remember her chapter on list culture--my argument here is that blogging involves a much different ecology of writing.
While I wouldn't go so far as to argue that academic credit is the only measure of value for blogging, it may still be worth asking what kinds of value it might represent for us. It's no accident that we're starting the semester by focusing on two of the three core elements of academia, research and teaching.
January 23, 2005
Recap, week 1
This is a little later than I'd normally like for a weekly recap, but better late than never. In an attempt to keep the top level of the course blog moving along, I'm going to tuck most of this beneath the fold. Read on.
We spent the vast majority of class time on Thursday with an introduction to the class (from me) and an introduction to the various applications that I want everyone to start using. I'll pick up a thread from my introduction in my next post, but for the moment, I want to offer a little overview of the tech, since I suspect that, for some of you, it came pretty fast and furious.
Here's how I see them fitting together:
Writing: Obviously, the course blogs and your individual blogs are the sites where most of our writing will take place this semester. And again, while I expect entries on the course blog to follow our readings pretty closely, the individual blogs are yours to maintain, both in terms of effort and topic.
Reading: I wholeheartedly believe that it's vital to work with an aggregator, like Bloglines, if you're planning on reading more than a few weblogs with any regularity. Whether you post to your blog on a daily basis, you should get into the habit of visiting Bloglines at least that often, and you should by now have aggregated the feeds of your classmates.
Browsing: Part of the time that I've tried to free up for you by introducing you to Bloglines, and by keeping the weekly reading assignments manageable, is intended to provide you with time to explore, browse, follow up, etc. Again, this is something that you need to get into the habit of doing. If you don't--if you wait until Wednesday nights--you'll miss out on this opportunity.
Bookmarking: del.icio.us is one of the glue apps for us. You can respond to bookmarked sites on your blog (or here), you can use del.icio.us to bookmark entries/sites that you come across in your feeds, and you can build the resources available here on the class site when you do so.
A couple of quick notes about del.icio.us:
I recommend the "pop-up" post, when you add that bookmarklet to your browser. The advantage to this is that it doesn't take you away from the page--it opens up a new window.
Also, when you post a bookmark, you're allowed to "tag" it. Tags can only be single words, though, so if you need to, do multiple words like this: SocialSoftware. Also, every time you bookmark a site, go ahead and add your initials as a tag, so I can keep track of your contributions.
Finally, if you want to tie your bookmark to a particular week, the tag for doing so is wk##. In the interest of keeping it organized, I used a two-digit number for each week, such as "wk02."
That's enough for now. If you're having trouble with any of these tools, let me know.
January 22, 2005
I'm running around trying to figure these things out, and realized that while reading in a preparatory fashion for 711 I skipped ahead, possibly by weeks, on the del.icio.us links. I’m still trying to figure out tags and such to organize that site, and while I believe it might be fitting to begin by skipping like that, there are other things to post as I’m finding my way through this technology.
Mostly I am interested this week in the “connections” that drive blogging. This software, as described in class and through these tips to blogging, RSS, etc, is all about making connections, getting your groove on and out there, and getting feedback. “With great power comes great responsibility,” as the link from the Collin’s ownership” indicates. But it also raises the question of audience and who we are posting to/for. As students of rhetoric, we are often asked to consider the audience (even if tangentially) as a site of meaning in a text. Considering that I’m on here, I have to assume that the range of audience scrapes the bottom of the barrel (where’s my subscript “i” for irony/sarcasm?). Anyway, how do we engage with and present information given the audience? What are our responsibilities to possible audiences? Is it fair for me to ignore someone who is not in my audience?
Also, if you are linked to my blog, does that give me the right to assume that you have read it? Like other communication technologies (call waiting and answering machines come to mind), it seems as though blogs come with assumptions (specifically here the assumption not only that someone somewhere is reading us, but that he/she/it actually cares). Should I care, or just enjoy the space to exercise some ideas?
(is this too long?)
January 21, 2005
a real introduction
(for those of you who actually read the "grr" entry i just deleted: see? i got over it!)
i'm tyra o'bryan, 2nd year ccr student, 3/8 of the way (assuming the semester count works the way it should) to a phd in comprhet w/an emphasis on the comp and a large-scale avoidance plan directed toward the "rhet" part that people keep trying very hard to thwart. really, it's not rhetoric i object to, but Theory-with-a-capital-T, and even that i wouldn't mind if it weren't misused so often. & yes, i'm aware that the rhet = Theory application of the theory/practice split to the rhet/comp track system at syracuse (& in some ways field-wide) is dubious at best, but i didn't invent it, i just observe it. ick.
in any case, i'm here because 1) i'm interested in blogging and its many uses--my personal blog is just that; it's a social venue i mainly use for keeping in touch with long-distance friends & occasionally a little creative writing, but i know there are many more uses for the things out here, and i want to explore/practice them, 2) my technological prowess is mediocre at best, and i'm hoping that by working in the shadows of some much more accomplished bloggers/geeks than myself, some of their genius will osmose (is that a word?) & i'll leave here much more savvy than i came in, 3) my academic interests, while far-ranging (or maybe flung) and not very organized, are currently clustering around authorship and collaboration, both things that no conversation about blogging/net-publishing can HELP but take up, 4) "network theory" may or may not help me do the work i'm going to end up doing, but i won't know until i learn more about it, and 5) this is my LAST graduate course (ever in my entire life?!?) and i wanted to a) use it to do something new & b) get a chance to work with collin, as well as all you other interesting people out there!
p.s. if this lowercase business drives people crazy, please let me know. i am perfectly capable of using capital letters to produce standardized-looking prose, i'm just in the habit of not doing so in the online environments i frequent and/or control. since this is co-authored, though (see, collaboration), i understand and respect the need to cater to others' preferences instead of only my own.
It was great to login today and see all these posts. I'm joining you from MU, or Mizzou if you prefer, in Columbia, Missouri. I am a first-year M.A. student in Literature with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition. My research interests are in, well, rhetoric and composition (go figure), but more specifically in public discourse, critical pedagogy, and technology. As I do more research, I will be interested to see how these intersect.
I look forward to our discussions.
January 20, 2005
*waving from 850 miles west*
I’m Krista Kennedy, and I guess I’m one of the more distributed elements of the course since I’m joining you from Minnesota. I’m a first-year Ph.D. student in the UMN Rhetoric Department, and I usually claim that my research deals with intersections of networked rhetorics and intellectual property law. More specifically, I study blogs and wikis as sites of the information commons. I’m also doing some intellectual property coursework in the UMN Law School. My other interests include rhetorical theory, authorship, history of intellectual property, and online pedagogy.
I just moved to Minnesota in July from Little Rock, which means that I lived slightly below Derek. (I basically moved directly upward in a straight line for 750 miles, and find that I quite like the tundra.) I’ve been reading him and Collin and Becky for a while now, and when I heard about this course I got immensely jealous of all you Syracusans and finagled my way into a spot. My blog, Areté, has been going on for a couple of years. If for some ungodly reason you find that you need to know more about me, there’s an About page on the sidebar. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you!
Halloo. It's the Madeline.
Here I be, y'all. I identify myself with these titles: mother, student, teacher, yogi, blogger, runner, and nerd-wanna-be. I've been in Syr for three years, hail from the midwest originally (IA) but did undergrad and MA work in VA.
I'm supposed to be working on exams this semester, but I'm effectively avoiding such work by sitting in on this course. This course, however, will serve me well: I'd like to get a dissertation plan by the time I'm done. It wants to deal with the web log as a genre and the ways in which the genre allows/requires a writer to stripped of objective cloaks. It wants to discuss how the web log, as a genre, conflates public and private writerly spheres. It wants to deal with blogs and time (and how I can find the time to spend several hours a day reading and writing them, but NOT find the time to, uh, do my kids' laundry).
Henry Jankiewicz Introduction
I've been a part-time instructor at S.U. on and off since the 1970s, but have remained since the start of the current program in 1986. I matriculated as a part-time Composition and Cultural Rhetoric doctoral student in 2000 and I'm back to course work after a delay of several years. My past research interests have included writing with technology and WAC. I'm interested now in rhetorical theory and criticism, primarily as it would apply to the discourse of drugs and drug use. I'm thinking this would be a good synthesis of work I have done over the years on several editions of Drugs and Human Behavior, a textbook on psychopharmacology and neuroscience I have co-authored with Tibor Palfai, a professor in the psychology department here. In my fourth life, outside of student, teacher, and writer, I'm a fiddle player and very active in the Syracuse acoustic music community.
Hi Marcia, Hi Krista,
I'm Derek Mueller, a first-year student in the CCR program at SU. Most recently, I hail from Kansas City, which is, I guess, regionally proximate to the places each of you are (or were as recently as a year back). I'm in my second semester of coursework now, refining a range of comp/rhet-related interests from weblogs and new media to a whole bunch of other stuff. Nothing much more to say for now, but I'd be glad to keep an IM open--Collin approving--whilst class is going on, if you'd be interested in attempting such a thing.
here i am
two blog posts in one day...not bad. thank goodness i have loads of work to do for class tomorrow. otherwise, i would be up all night, playing in blog-land. for the first few months, after receiving my gamecube, i would stay up until all hours of the morning just playing and playing and playing. sad to note is that i have only completed one game, ty the tasmanian tiger. resident evil: code veronica x and lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring remain undefeated, along with countless others, even with all the long hours dedicated to the process. currently, i'm playing pikmin 2. i've been playing since Christmas, and i don't see an end in sight. i'm trying to manage my addictive behavior when it comes to my recently acquired playstation 2 by not purchasing too many games. top on the list right now: spongebob squarepants: the battle for bikini bottom.
basically, what i'm trying to say is that i can see the same potential for become addicted to blogging. is that a good or bad thing? we'll see. maybe i'll create a slammin blog...
The initial foray
Writing on the spot and under pressure... Hi, my name is Mike, I'm 17, a vegetarian, and I like to dance (who remembers "Dance Fever"?)
Looking forward to this class. First day and I'm already finding how little I thought I knew about the back-end. Lots of implications for distance ed and online learning... We goofed around with blogs about a year ago, but the functionality was limited. We didn't see much difference from asynchrounous tools like threaded discussions. But some of these new blogging tools look pretty robust.
In regard to the pace at which technology morphs, it'll be interesting to see where blogs and blog-related technologies take us. Who still uses MOOs?
Hello, Hello. Are You Out There?
My name is Jen Wingard and I am a second year student in the CCR program here at SU. My research interests deal with global labor, transnational feminism, rhetorical resistance, and non-traditional approaches to writing and history. Although I have very little experience with technology and writing, I am hoping that this course will stretch my technological know-how in ways that compliment my areas of research. In my sophomore level composition course, I am teaching a feminist text on globalization and technology, and I am hoping that this course will help me find innovative ways to build on the issues in that text through technology based research projects in class. So, any input and/or ideas will be greatly appreciated.
Hello from Dianna
Hi to you remote fellow classmates! I'm Dianna Winslow, a 1st-year comp/rhet grad at S.U. This is my first time using blogs and my main goal is to get familiar and comfortable with yet another level of technology, exploring it's usefulness to my teaching, researching, and writing in composition. My research interests include exploring, understanding and developing theories and practices of democratic access to and civic engagement by universities with the communities where they are established. From what little I know of it, network theory should really inform my thinking on social networks. Looking forward to hanging out in cyberland with you all!
A little about Chris
My name is Chris Geyer. I'm a first year CCR student here at SU. I have many and varied research interests that include online learning and teaching. One of my hopes for this course is to get re-involved in the Computers and Writing arena, and CWOL and stuff like that. Funny, isn't it, how we seem to have time only for the immediate courses and lose track of our other interests until prompted by some new course or project?
Some of this technology stuff works well for me, but some of it takes me a bit to apprehend. Sort of like theory....
Welcome to Blogging Day. We are posting to the class blogs for the first time. This class and CCR 611 are both appearing online. I'm spending some time figuring out the functionality and wondering just how I'm going to use all these cool toys.
Right now I'm somewhat overwhelmed, but that's how I usually feel when I encounter new technologies. I'm wondering how much this might complicate my life as a move platforms from home to work. We shall see.
I'm not sure how I'm going to use all of this knowledge/tech-knowlogy. I'm interested in hypertheory, and I'm sure I'll find some intersections with network theory. I am very curious as to what we will find at the intersection of network theory and rhetoric.
As for myself, my main interests involve piracy, punk, cyberpunk, technology literacy, and technology education. I'm purposefully limiting myself because those are huge, sweeping categories that need defining.
Hopefully, I won't break too many things as we proceed. Part of my fascination with technology is my ability to break it while using it properly. It made me a great software tester.
Who are we?
I'll be adding a list of participants to the sidebar in the next day or so, but since our class is distributed somewhat, it'd be good if each of us would post a quick paragraph about ourselves and our interests. This is probably one of the activities we'll be completing in class tonight, but if you're interested in giving a try before then, please feel free.
Also, I've prepared a quick handout on posting to Movable Type and using HTML that you can access as a .pdf.
January 19, 2005
Which would make me about 15-20% responsible?
It's about time to crank up the engine here with our first class meeting on Thursday. While we will be focusing on specific texts and issues each week, one of our collective responsibilities this semester is to take a "browse and gather" approach to the course. In other words, it will be very rare that I declare a weblog entry out of bounds, as long as you've made some effort to connect it to the course's terrain.
With that in mind, I offer a short entry from Atrios on source credibility in blogspace. It's something we'll talk about in more depth when we consider network literacies--it's not unusual to find writers who describe bibliographies as prototypical link-networks, and we'll do some of that ourselves. But as I read this entry, I couldn't help but think about how this would change the way we teach research (the core focus of SU's 2nd semester, required writing course)--is it enough (or even ethical) to offer the decontextualized advice of "consider both sides"? What might it do to the dominant "he said, she said" model of mass journalism?