Thursday, March 01, 2007

Studio thinking

Just a snatch of a thought, after reading Dr. B's "New Media Studio" course description. As many (Jenny, for starters) noted during our recent Carnival, Trimbur argues for a seminar model to replace, or at least exist alongside, the workshop model of teaching writing. And I know that some places already have things called "Writer's Studio," which seems to usually mean a basic writing class taught more like a tutoring session.

But I'm wondering what would happen if we thought about writing as a studio course, something where new ideas are circulated and opportunities to experiment are de rigueur? I've totally not thought this out. I'm just putting this here, to think about later.


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Daniel said...

Donna, I'm glad you pulled the studio model out from the trimbur conversations. I've added similar marginalia to the piece, and thinking about how new media classes normally proceed with lots of hands-on tinkering just reinforces the idea. The difference that springs to mind for me is that the making takes place in the class together, vs the workshop which is a bit artificial in that the students disperse to compose, then reconvene to read. Lots of room for improvement there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,
I read the Trimbur article, and I have some misguided and ill-informed as they may be. Why doesn't the English department divide into sub-departments of interpretation of literature and rhetoric/comp? Both are under the same heading of English, but in reality there are two different curricula. It would eliminate Trimbur's question "Should writing be studied?" because the rhet/comp sub-department would have courses devoted to the study of writing, while workshop classes that teach students how to write would be separate. I would have much rather earned my degree in rhet/comp than English as it is conceived interpretation of literature. I think rhet/comp is more interesting...

There are some major problems with the writing workshop that need to be addressed. In my experience, the writing level varies so much from student to student, that the course has to be "dumbed down" to accomodate those who aren't operating on the same level. Maybe the workshop has become too open-ended to be effective for those writing at a level beyond their peers. I don't mean to imply that certain people shouldn't be allowed in writing courses...but that skill level DOES matter when designing a writing course that maximizes effectiveness to the student.

As an off-topic note, do you know anything about Gary Olson, one of the people mentioned in Trimbur's article? I had a teacher at a journalism camp with the same name...he wrote on my papers I was a natural writer, not a journalist. Wondered if it was the same guy...


Donna said...

Hi Marissa! You're so mysterious--I never see you, but now and again you comment to my blog. You should come by my office sometime!

Oh, as for the Olson mentioned in the article, it's this fellow. Probably not the same as the one who accurately identified your natural writing procilivities.