Archive for the ‘Brainstorm’ Category

This summer, I will be teaching technical and professional writing. I teach this course differently than most, and I think my method works pretty well. Some people involve the students directly with real companies, which I appreciate. But my method involves on the one hand much less direct involvement but on the other much more flexibility.

What I do is give the students a simulation of a company, give them problems to solve, and teach them to communicate while solving these problems. Once they have a grip on that, they write something that I am confident all of them going into the business field will eventually have to write: a business plan.

This semester, I’m making some minor changes. (more…)

Tomorrow at a god awful hour of the morning, I board a plane that, through a series of other destinations, will eventually get me to San Francisco. At least, that’s the plan-there’s a chance the snow will decide otherwise. But most likely, I’m off to the C’s.

This is not my first conference, but it is one of the scariest. It’s without a doubt the biggest conference I’ve ever been to. So I’ve done more preparation for this than I have for any other conference. I may even have a power point presentation (though I am limiting myself to 7 slides, including a title screen).

In the meantime, though, I wanted to get back to my ‘class planning’ project.

Last time around, I came up with course goals. The next step is reading lists. (more…)

I had a meeting on Friday where I described my thesis and my idea of discount peer response. At first, the person I was talking to thought it was a fine name, but when I started going through my ideas and hit Peer Response 2.0, she said that was perfect and that the idea was ‘newsworthy.’

She thinks that the real place to focus is the use of Google Docs with peer response, and to both address how the students use it and how the teachers use it. Showing that it makes revision an active part of the process is a great step. It’s very exciting, and now I have a myriad of sources to investigate before I turn two pages of my thesis into an article length paper.

In about 10 minutes, I’m going to a meeting to discuss my theory of discount peer response. In a few months, assuming I can still get a plane ticket, I’ll present it at CCCC (which was iffy for a bit, until I found I had departmental funding). Somewhere between now and the beginning of the fall semester, I’m going to try to rewrite my thesis into a solid article, and try to publish it in CCC. I’ve already been advised on three major issues: the tone (less as an experienced teacher, more as an exploring one), the references (need more cutting edge stuff), and the name.

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Okay. Let’s talk course goals.

The way I figure it, the first step to designing a course is to figure out what the course is about. What it’s teaching. Once I know what I want to impart, what I want to talk about, I can start working up a reading list and group of assignments to ensure that the message gets across.

For the sake of ease, I’m going to try to come up with three main goals for each of my potential classes. Once again, those potential classes are:

  1. Rhetoric of Evil
  2. Rhetoric of Science Fiction
  3. Rules and Loopholes
  4. Future technology in the classroom

Starting from the top then: (more…)

The semester has begun, and while I have not yet actually been to any classes, I am doing my best to dive into work regardless. This semester, I am doing research rather than teaching. This is a definite change of pace for me. Over the next day or so, I intend to sequester myself in a library and begin discovering everything anyone has ever said about the topic I am researching.

In the meantime, since I’m not teaching, I have been thinking about it.

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What I’ve been doing

Posted: January 13, 2009 in Brainstorm, School

I feel I should put some kind of prep entry. The new semester starts a week from today, after all. There are a few things I need to talk about from last semester, and then I need to berate myself for not working harder over break.

First things first. While I presented on the idea of using PowerPoint in the composition classroom, and did so without actually using powerpoint (I was the only person not to, and I wore a shirt that said ‘irony’ for my own edification), the advice of my professor led me to a complete overhaul and a change of focus for my proposal.

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Plans for preparation

Posted: November 17, 2008 in Brainstorm, Pedagogy, School, writing

My exams are coming up. Slowly. In fact, very slowly. I will have to take them around this time two years from now. But it’s not too early to start planning.

I bring this up because I’ve been working on annotated bibliographies lately. Which was difficult, because I don’t feel like I’ve ever really learned how to write them. What goes in the annotations?

This is a question answered during an undergraduate career, normally. So once in graduate school, it’s expected (fairly) that one would know how to do this. The problem is that annotations are different field to field. So I’ve had to essentially work blindly, hoping to get things right.

While doing so, I’ve talked to a lot of people about the purpose of annotations. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels uncertain about what goes in them. (more…)

At the start of the semester, I had a research question planned out. It was basically asking what the future holds for technology, and how we can prepare for using that technology in the classroom. Since then, I’ve refined things a bit. And in the interest of clarity, I’ve broken it down into a list of more specific questions:

  1. What methods can be developed to shorten the time it takes to incorporate new technologies into the classroom?
  2. How can we make sure that the way we incorporate a new technology is the best way to go about it?
  3. What technology should we prepare for?
  4. What potential paradigm shifts are coming, and what do they mean for pedagogy?
  5. How do we prepare for those shifts?

All good questions, I think. And all focusing on a common theme. Which brings me to a brief presentation I’ll be doing later today.

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The Burning Question

Posted: September 9, 2008 in Brainstorm, Futurism, meta, Methods, writing

When I was in college, I came to the conclusion that the only way to really go through with a PhD was to have a burning question, something that kept me up at night, that demanded my constant consideration. I should say that by ‘came to this conclusion,’ I mostly mean that I was told this by people who I trusted, and it rang true to me.

Thankfully, at that time I had a burning question: Does personal identity depend on outside forces? This leads to questions about downloading the brain into a computer, about virtual persons, about cloning, and all the other great sci-fi geek questions. That question kept me going through my BA, and, though I wasn’t cut out for the Philosophy PhD program at the research university where I was at the time, the question still burned bright enough to get me an MA.

Yesterday, I was asked what my research question was. What do I want to research about? It was in class for Research Methods, so it makes total sense that I would be asked. I wrote something down, the first question that came to my head.

Last night, it kept me up. (more…)