Please bring digital pictures with you for Monday, Feb. 4

January 30, 2008 at 1:22 pm (Announcements-MWZ)

Hi all,

We’ll be experimenting with video on Monday. Please bring a few pictures with you on a pen-drive for Monday’s tutorial. I think you’ll enjoy the lesson even more if you’re working with your own files. If you don’t have any digital pics, no worries. We’ll make due either way.

Best,

mwz

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Please revisit categories

January 29, 2008 at 9:16 am (Announcements-MWZ)

Hi all,

There’s still some confusion with the blog categories. I’ve added an MWZ to categories that are for me (mostly). Please check out the descriptions I’ve added to help clarify their functions. Feel free to recategorize your older posts.

Best,

Mwz

         
         
         
         
         
         
   

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Reading response prompts for Week 5: Distance education

January 29, 2008 at 9:13 am (Reading Response Prompts-MWZ)

Prompt 1:
Does the integration of distance education into college offerings threaten to de-skill the writing teacher? Please explicitly reference at least two of the readings to back your position.

Prompt 2:
Who is best served by distance education technologies? (Certain) writing students? (Some) Writing teachers? The institution? Professional interests? Someone else? What does that mean for composition? Please explicitly reference at least two of the readings to back your position.

Thanks,

mwz

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Summary assignments for Week 5

January 29, 2008 at 8:30 am (Summary assignments--MWZ)

Pedagogy lens: Distance education

Bryant: Seely Brown, John, and Dugid, Paul. (2000). Re-education. In The social life of information (pp.207-241). Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Crawford: Anson, Chris M. (1999). Distant voices: Teaching writing in a culture of technology. College English, 61 (3), 261-80.

Markham: Sullivan, Patricia (2007). Literacy work in e-learning factories: How stories in popular business imagine our future. In Pam Takayoshi and Pat Sullivan (eds) Labor, writing technologies, and the shaping of composition in the academy (pp. 229-257). Cresskill: Hampton Press.

Martell: Kynard, Carmen (2007). “Wanted: Some Black long distance [writers]”: Blackboard Flava-Flavin and other AfroDigital experiences in the classroom. Computers and Composition 24(3), 329-345.

Thanks,

mwz

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Please claim your Non-Designer’s Web Book

January 29, 2008 at 8:22 am (Announcements-MWZ)

Hi all,

If you forgot your book in class last night, please drop me a line so you can arrange to pick it up before I fly out on Thursday.

Best,

mwz

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Technological dramas, Jackson Pollock, and the wisdom of teachers

January 28, 2008 at 10:20 pm (Summaries)

In his retrospective narrative of the FYC writing program, Joe Moxley gives us the Writing Program Administrator’s view of the technologies USF professors, adjuncts and graduate assistants are trying to master. The intention behind these commons-based peer production tools such as Sharepoint and the collegewriting website is to develop a shared, standardized curriculum while still respecting academic freedom and the personalities, talents and interests of individual instructors.

The greatest change in how writing programs are administered, he says, is decentralization– moving away from top-down, hierarchical structures to collaboration. These new structures emphasize community and reflect what seems to be a global trend “to democratize the academy and the construction of knowledge” (3). Sharepoint and the various Wikis used in the FYC program use features of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, where interaction is the operative word. We can freely share resources, ideas, rubrics, syllabi, articles and student papers to facilitate teaching our courses. Since most composition classes are now taught in hybrid classrooms, these resources are readily available for use or reference while teaching a class. While many faculty members resisted technology when the initiative began in 2003, most now find it routine, and are even unhappy if not assigned a hybrid classroom (5).

Moxley describes himself as an optimist who believed that composition teachers would embrace this technology of collaboration, particularly because there is an increasing awareness in the field of “the social nature of composing and meaning making” (8). He found a paradox in that empowering instructors to contribute to the curriculum required taking away their power to construct their own syllabi and course materials. Another problem was that teachers needed to be trained in these technologies, yet there was no funding for training. He found himself imposing his values and his interpretation of composition pedagogies on the department, even while his intention was to empower USF’s community of scholars. Yet, overall, this new model is designed to incorporate criticism, dialogue, and continual revision, giving all participants a voice in its construction and implementation.

In reviewing the various instructor responses to using these collaborative technologies, Moxley found eleven categories that individuals sort themselves into, subsets of the traditional five categories introduced in 1995 by Everett Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards (14). Moxley found that two relatively small groups, which he calls Authors and Advocates & Technicians, embrace the technology wholeheartedly and are responsible for a large part of curriculum content. Everyone else participates tentatively, and a few, the Terrorists, actually destroy content, either intentionally or due to error.

Moxley concludes by wondering if he is perhaps too optimistic. His hope and belief is that technology will afford teachers the ability “to work collaboratively to develop a curriculum that is wiser than the curriculum an individual writing program administrator could develop.” At this point, it is still too early to tell.

 Kate Zephyrhawke

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KZ: Summary of Moxley?

January 28, 2008 at 2:55 pm (General Questions)

Hi KZ,

I’m not seeing your summary. Are you having trouble publishing it?

Thanks,

mwz

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KZ response to Moxley, Boyle, etc.

January 28, 2008 at 2:49 am (Reading responses)

I wish I had been able to read Moxley’s article during Practicum. It would have provided a much-needed perspective of where the department had come from and where it was intending to go. All semester I felt an ongoing frustration with the tech requirements– blog over here and wiki over there, Flashlight this and Sharepoint that. None of it was even slightly useful and all of it felt like a burden. Yet now I understand the intention. I still have issues with how that class was conducted, even though I accept the reasons for the emphasis on using those “peer production” tools. I see their value as well as their potential. But the problem, as I see it, isn’t with the concept, but the execution. Basically, it’s a Usability issue. Blackboard, in my opinion, is a Usability nightmare, as are the collegewriting and Sharepoint sites. Believe me, I’m no luddite– in fact I’m more of an early adopter. I never had the resistance to technology Boyle expressed (my friends have always teased me about my enthusiasm for “gadgets” ), and I disagree totally that a mixed media environment is bringing Sesame Street to the college classroom. Of course it’s possible to waste hours and hours of your life on YouTube watching inane videos of kids claiming their 15 minutes of fame by singing and dancing in their underwear or turning farts into a torches by lighting a match (called “blowing blue darts,” I’m told). But you’ll also find science, psychology, ballet (such as Maurice Béjart’s Bolero which is fabulous) and interviews with philosophers, Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida for example. Lots of things to illustrate a point or provoke a class discussion. Ok, Derrida would have them asleep in no time, but you see my point. I showed my 1102 classes a video that explained the root cause of all the problems in America today. It was called It’s All Because the Gays are Getting Married. (Perfect to illustrate the red herring fallacy.) Anyway, Boyle overreacted, and Mauriello et al. couldn’t foresee the future of public writing, though they discovered that their students took pride in their work when they had a larger audience. So far my experience has been that the students hate the blogging requirement and feel that it’s busywork. But perhaps that will change. What makes a difference for me (who has also hated it), is knowing (believing?) that it’s permissible to write informally, inventing as I go. I’m over the top with reading turgid, pretentious academic journal articles and being expected to produce similar work. Blogging, now, is a refreshing change. It’s all relative. Kate Z.

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Plagiarism: not so bad after all.

January 28, 2008 at 12:58 am (Summaries)

One wonders how plagiarism and originality can be placed together with similar intentions. Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart Selber make the argument that these can be in the same. The problem is that we are so use to seeing each in one light that there are no exceptions. Plagiarism is “an issue of academic honesty” (Johnson-Eilola and Selber, 2007). That is how people know it and we see it 99% of the time in the classroom policy. However, the authors feel students should be encouraged to take other peoples’ work and use it in their own. Instead of the focus on originality then sources, it should be the other way around. People can come up with new ideas and compositions just by copying, pasting, and rearranging the text. The authors use the terms remixing or assemblage to describe this process. These two terms actually replace the meaning of plagiarism throughout the rest of the article because this is what they are technically doing. The authors then go into examples where remixing takes place. The first is with music. One makes a tape with songs on it to identify themselves even though there is no citations for the music or where it came from. Rap also takes beats from other songs to come up with new ones which isn’t frowned upon. The next area is website design. The authors use the OSWD site which provides 2000 free templets to use. Some of them have restrictions which require users to report when using them but the majority are completely free to anyone. Many users find one they like and make slight adjustments, and call their new creation their own. This sounds just like plagiarism but is described as assemblage. Movies are also being done the same way by authors who just take what they want to create something they call their own. The authors seem to support this because it is a way to improve on the old and learn from what other people have created. They feel we should learn from other people and study how they came to this final piece. In conclusion the authors want to dispose of the plagiarism policy and try to encourage people to find other peoples’ work to create something better. Remixing is something that society needs to improve on material and help teach students. They want the teachers to encourage taking sources over originality, hoping it will improve a person’s thought process.

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Week 4, Prompt 2

January 27, 2008 at 11:43 pm (Reading responses)

With the number of computers per household increasing, teachers must ask themselves if they should avoid the inevitable.  Eventually, with or without the teacher’s consent, computers will make it to the classroom.  When I was in kindergarden our class had two Macs which helped with math equations.  I think they benefitted me because it was more interactive then sitting on the floor listening to a boring lecture.  Now that I am in college, I am seeing more and more classes becoming technologically savvy.   Teachers need to teach technical communications because it is an important component of the modern day person.  Granted we do need the basics which can only be taught through a “talking head” and a blackboard (Boyle, 1993).  A computer can’t teach everything, there are just some concepts which need a human factor.  I do see why Boyle mentions the difference between knowledge and information.  A student uses the computer for two seconds to find information while  knowledge comes from within and isn’t instant.  I don’t think everything should be computer linked otherwise we are just teaching the future generations how to hit buttons.  It’s one thing to press enter and another thing to write it out correctly.  However, i do think computers should be a tool used everyday in classrooms.  I am a Technical Writing major who wishes I had classes which taught HTML, RoboHelp, and Dreamweaver.  If these were provided in my composition classes, I could have gotten the internships which required full knowledge of these applications.   There are both benefits and harm to making the classroom computer powered.  I guess I would be more on the side of the essay “Technological Dreams.”  We shouldn’t force it on everyone, but make it to where anyone can use it and have the means of learning to incorporate it into the classroom.   Teachers should be knowledgeable on the technology in case a student has a question or a problem.  There is a better chance of the teacher being informed if their curriculum included computer language or usage.  It would benefit all if there was a part of the calendar which was devoted to computers and using websites to post essays.  With more teachers providing teaching in this area, more students will be able to leave college ready for a world which is technologically advancing daily. -Chris 

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