Archive for October, 2007

Brief place holder

Posted: October 29, 2007 in AI, iteration, List, meta

I wrote the paper mentioned in the previous post, and decided that it is essentially <edit>worthless. not usable</edit>It’s not so much that the paper isn’t good, it’s that it’s too big. I bit off way more than I have time to chew.

So the next step is to take a walk. I’m heading out of the forest for a minute so that I can get a good look at it. I’m going to identify trees as I go, but I need to look at the big picture. Wow, that’s an awkward metaphor.

The next step for me is to make a list of everything. Everything I’m interested in, all the questions I want to someday investigate. This is the research equivalent of “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I can’t answer these questions yet. If I could, then I wouldn’t need to do the research (alternately, if I could, I would likely be wrong).

Someone, I don’t know who, once said “Of course I think I’m right. If I thought I was wrong I’d change my mind.” Not really relevant, but funny.

The list is not yet finished, if it ever will be. It’s still ruminating in my brain. I will attempt to make a semi-final form over the next few days. I say semi-final because something like this is never finished. A research list is like living a happy life. As Socrates said, we can’t tell that a man led a happy life until he is dead. (hence “count no man happy till he’s dead”).

Anyway, the list:

  • Iteration
  • Writing Studies
  • Writing History
  • Philosophy
  • Logic
  • User Centering
  • Ease
  • Accessibility
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • New Media
  • Usability
  • History of writing
  • Methods of writing
  • Audience

More will come. I guess I could say that there will be further iterations to come.

Current research

Posted: October 17, 2007 in iteration, Pedagogy, writing

Currently, I am working on a paper about Iterative Pedagogy, a combination of the user-centered Iterative Development model and the Process Theory model. As such, most of my research follows those two areas.

I am rehashing several works by Elbow, Horvath, Lauer, and Sommers including “A Method For Teaching Writing,” “Components of Written Response…” and “Responding to Student Writing.”

I am also working on a very interesting article about Open Source and Academia by Taylor & Riley.

Also on my plate are articles about Teaching Doctoral Students (Caffarelle & Darnett), Technologizing Pedagogy (Peters) , and how things have changed for teaching and composition given new technologies (Taras, Weinstock, Dreyfus etc).

Further, in an effort to give myself better grounding, I’m plugging through Ong’s “Orality and Literacy,” Crowley’s “Methodical Memory,” and Norman’s “The Psychology of Everyday Things.”

In the meantime, I’ve been having some thoughts about iterative pedagogy. My main thought is this: Could it work with a form of contract grading? That is, if I let my students choose what grade they wanted, and then made them rewrite papers until they received at least that grade (but no further), would that teach them the iterative method as it can apply to paper writing?

Purpose and intentionality

Posted: October 16, 2007 in AI, iteration, meta

It only seems right that one should start off any blog with effectively a statement of purpose. Why did I make this blog?

Primarily, I made this blog in order to post my thoughts on texts that I read and to share where my research interests take me. I have a website of my own that does a very good job of showing my interests as a teacher. This will likely be shifting more towards research in the near future, as I shift my focus in that direction. Regardless, here on this blog I intend to focus entirely on research.

My research right now can be separated into two main categories: current and overarching.

My current research is in the field of iteration. That is, web accessibility, development, and how both of these things can be applied to pedagogy. I’m very interested in the role that changing technology will have on teaching, studying, and scholarship. To this end I am reading several things and trying to write a paper merging Process Theory of composition with the iterative development model of web 2.0.

My overarching research also contains iteration, but also pedagogy. I am interested in Artificial Intelligence as well, as I think that will have a great deal to do with changes in ideas such as authorship and user centering.

So I ask myself several questions.

  • What will it take for a computer to really be intelligent? The Turing test seems to me to be a poor standard, as it will only show that a computer is sufficiently clever to fool a human being into thinking that it is human; this seems to be neither sufficient nor necessary for intelligence.
  • Are computer languages real languages?
  • In relation to the things Ong suggests in Orality and Literature: is literacy actually necessary for the development of science, history, philosophy, and explanation in general, or is it a sufficient condition instead? Socrates would certainly argue against the idea that literacy is needed for the development of philosophy. He thought that writing was a bad thing. (for more on this, check out the Phaedrus)
  • Is Pedagogy truly user-centered? If not, what would user-centered pedagogy look like? More specifically, in pedagogy, who is the user?
  • Is the internet really ‘deskilling’ people (as Johnson suggests in “User-Centered Technology”) or is it true that “everything bad is good for you”? (a different Johnson)
  • How does non-linear text (hyperlinks, browsing, etc) change the field of composition? How do we need to change with it?
  • With hypertext, wiki, and other such things, what position does the author hold now? Who is the author? Is there an author any more, or is the author finally dead?

So those are a number of the things I am interested in. I will post more as I continue to consider and to read. Please, I am open to comments.