Friday, August 31, 2007

This is Donna Strickland, and I'm here to talk about....

Just had a meeting with A, an MA student in rhet/comp. We were talking about his comp class as well as about his thesis, when this idea blossomed: "The making of this paper or project," modeled on the "Making-of" feature on DVDs. Students would narrate the process of creating their papers or media projects for class. I like to do reflective writing in classes, in which students reflect on the choices they've made as they were writing their papers and the potential effects of those choices. The "Making-of" would be a "multimodal" version of the reflective paper, maybe a podcast, maybe a movie.

Has anyone already tried something like that?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On the record

I got an email yesterday, during my day-long writing marathon, asking my opinion about some new plagiarism detection software. And so now I'm online, saying, yeah, I wouldn't use it, but I guess other people would.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm speechless

Got your interest? Here's the video. Available (for a few hundred dollars) from your local Big Box pet store.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Eight things for the eighth month

Sometimes, you know, you just put things off for too long. Last month, for instance, I was tagged. In fact, it was exactly one month ago yesterday that Shehun stopped at this humble blog and announced, "You're it."

In the month that has passed, I've composed some parts of my eight random things list. I was especially inspired by Dan's contribution to the meme. So, although I have no video to accompany it, I shall begin my list with a tribute to Dan's.

1. My senior year in high school, our local chapter of the National Honor Society put on a talent show. Don't ask me why. I can't even remember quite what I did. I think I was in a skit. But I do remember the finale, in which we all paraded out on stage to the tune of "If They Could See Me Now." We were all told to dress as we thought we would look in ten years. So there were doctors, teachers, that sort of thing. I wore a gold lame shirt and plastic pants. I was, I imagined, a punk rocker. My costume was quite the hit. I'm not kidding.

2. Taking up the example of my nabor Jenny, I now have a book blog. (And thanks to my other nabor for making the blog possible. He is not, however, responsible for its horrifically bland look.)

3. My book blog is called "What it all might mean." That was a line from a poem I wrote during my MFA days. I wanted that to be the title of my MFA thesis, but my thesis director wouldn't have it. So now it's the title of my book blog.

4. Now that I'm doing the book blog, I have three support systems for finishing the book. One is a writing group of a few colleagues and the other is an online writing group of folks at various universities. The former is devoted mainly to product, the latter mainly to process. I'm trying to cover all bases, you see.

5. After the success of my "punk rock" costume in high school, I began to slowly accumulate accessories that belonged to an alter ego I called "Blue." I no longer have these accessories, however.

6. Between Thursday and Saturday, I experienced a 40-degree drop in temperature. (Atmospheric temperature, I mean.)

7. There seems to be the beginnings of a rhet/comp network on FaceBook. Do more folks FaceBook than blog?

8. Speaking of the field, aren't we way overdue for another Rhet/Comp reading carnival?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hit and miss

I have an old wiki up from a class I taught in 2006 on the literature of working women. That semester marked my first stab at using a wiki in class, and I found it only somewhat successful. (I think I've made better use of wikis since that time.) What it features now, basically, are pages about authors or specific works we read. You know, sort of like something maybe wikipedia-ish.

At any rate, now and again I'll get an email from the wiki service, indicating that someone has invited me to join their wiki space. I find it odd, since these aren't requests from folks I know. So tonight a request shows up in my inbox, only it's a request to join my wikispace. And I'm thinking, this has to be spam or something. Because who would want to join an inactive course wiki?

But no. It was a request from one of the authors featured on the wiki. She was curious about the class.

So that was cool. I emailed her.

And I noticed one day that over at the Tree of Rhetoric, there's a link to my blogging course, because I had a link over to something on that site on my syllabus. And I got a number of emails while teaching the blogging course from folks whose blog articles I linked to.

Ah, Web 2.0. Connectivity. Just a little Google search, and you can find out who's talking about you.

I'm not knocking it. I like to know who's talking about me, too. But it does still surprise me, I guess. Suddenly, a sighting. From something awhile ago, something almost forgotten. Brought back into the present. Because the web, it is the eternal present. It's always now.

Which could be scary. Connectivity is a little scary in Shaviro's Connected, or What It Means to Live in the Network Society. (And, by the way, don't you prefer the "or" to the colon? Jameson uses it for Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. I always loved that.) The borg--with their "singular goal, namely the consumption of technology" and "hive mind"--are scary on Star Trek.

But it's a strange fear, isn't it? This fear that connectivity leads to the extinction of individuality. We're nodes, sure. I don't have a problem with that. But all nodes exist at unique points of convergence.

I'm just going with the flow, folks. You know, writing for the sake of writing. And I think that's enough of that for tonight.