Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Catching Up on My Reading

I spent last night reading "Two-Year College Teacher- Scholar." I'd encourage anyone entering the two-year college workplace to read it as it sets out the need for reflective practices (as in time for research)and institutional reinforcement of such practices. Makes sense, doesn't it? We teach our students to think about how they learn and what they've learned, and it behooves us, as professionals and as human beings, to have the time to reflect on what we do when we teach. Not to do so turns teaching into an assembly-line activity, where one uses the same old handouts and worksheets without even updating them.

Another site worth a look is Community College Week. I've recently begun a subscription to it and have appreciated its focus on the CC as its own entity, not as something to be mentioned in paragraph 66 of an article centered on the "university." Because of the CC focus, one is able to read about other institutions and see the variety of campuses, student needs and so on that exist between and among CC's across the country.

Finally, I've begun reading Jeff Rice's book, Writing About Cool: Hypertext and Cultural Studies in the Computer Classroom. Given that I've spent the past year wandering about in a fitful diva-daze trying to think about how I could enhance what I do in the networked classroom, this text is taking me to the next level, where I can begin to conceptualize the changes in writing (process and text)that technology is bringing to our lives. Jeff has agreed to post here about his ideas, and I look forward to his doing that.


At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shout out, Joanna (I missed the "Rosa G" sign in - what's it mean?).

I'd be happy to add to anything you are discussing. My experience in the CC was a one year stint prior to grad school at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville. The first thing I realized when I saw the rows of brand new computers in the open lab was that we weren't using them for writing - only to replicate the same kinds of drills that were in the mandated work book. And the second thing I realized was that the CC students were treated as if they couldn't write anything intelligent. Assignments which asked students to name five reasons why or why not credit cards are good/parking is good/smoking is good received the long yawns and cultural cliches they deserved.

The Cool textbook is meant to provide writing more conducive to online writing - as hypertext may allow for - and to give students something to write about (as opposed to just designing a site for a non-profit or analyzing a site). My overall feeling has been since I started teaching first year writing with hypertext - any content will do. But allow for new kinds of writing experiences to materialize online. Give students complex problems/ideas to work with. And any level of ability will do as well - you only need a little bit of tech knowledge (either how to write HTML or use an editor) to do complex things.


At 1:15 AM, Blogger Rosa G. said...

Thanks for the response, Jeff. I've gotten through the first three chapters and am thinking of a way to modify some of your ideas for the BW classes. I like your use of the concept of "cool" --I think that "coolness" pervades all of us, but may be left unexamined because it's so . . .obvious? That may not be the right word. And I may be wrong, but forgive my scant background in cultural studies.
Here's a question: you wrote "But allow for new kinds of writing experiences to materialize online," and I'd like a concrete (cyberconcrete!) example of what those "writing experiences" are. Specifically, are they the responses to the assignments in your text or are they individual inventions that students create on their own?

"Rosa G," is my grandmother's name: Rosa Giovanna. When I began this blog, I thought I'd be cleverly anonymous, and that lasted for about five minutes. When I have time, I'll change it back to my real name.

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"New kinds of writing experiences" would mean allowing the nature of the medium (the Web) to shape new ways of writing. So the result would not have to be the essay - which is the product of a different medium, print. The essay requires certain types of organizing principles and transitions based on the medium of print (or we might even say "paper"). The Web has those principles, but others as well: icons, patterns, associations, non-linear structures. These are "new" in the sense that they're not taught in first year writing, or writing in general.

The assignments I tried to create might allow for these so-called new experiences. Some (but I think I tired to include throughout the book all kinds of new experiences) are the icon assignment in Chpt 3 (icons are a way of generating expression in digital culture, so let's compose using only icons), or the Autobiography of ___ assignment in Chapt 8 (using patterns to generate a new name - the way Malcolm X or Muhamme Ali did; patterns are a digital way of generating ideas), or the temporal collage assignment in Chapt 14 (a single date serves as invention strategy - find the pattern among a number of events during that year, and write that pattern).


At 1:57 AM, Blogger Rosa G. said...

Do you have any copies of assignments that I (and everyone reading this blog)could look at? I'm thinking of the "Page of Cool" and the Everything2.com work at the end of chapter 2.

By the by, I enjoyed your webbiography and your post on imagination.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll have to put them online - many came down as I switched places of employment over the last few years.
This Writing About Cool course is online now:

This has the Malcolm X assignment:

When I get others online, they'll be at this page:


At 3:50 PM, Blogger Rosa G. said...

Thanks, Jeff. You're, well, cool.


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