Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

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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On Great Writing

Posted: February 6, 2009 in Pedagogy, Readings, Review, School, writing

I have more to say about my own stuff, but first I wanted to talk about a nice little book that I just read. It’s called On Great Writing (On the Sublime) and is by this guy named Longinus. No, not the Roman soldier who supposedly stabbed Jesus on the cross. I mean Longinus, the writing teacher. I’m pretty sure they’re different people.

I’m being a bit flippant here. On Great Writing is an incredible book, and fantastically important. So much so that I’m amazed it has taken me this long to be exposed to it.  (Though I suppose if I’d ever had a copy of Rhetorical Tradition I would’ve seen it). This book, short as it is (58 pages of text, the Grube translation) very quickly establishes itself and shows why it has been so influential for so many thinkers. (more…)

The semester is thankfully nearly over. While I do have about 150 pages of grading to do, I get to start that on Friday, giving me plenty of time to work it all out. And while I do have two major papers, drafts for both are finished (thanks to me forgoing Thanksgiving). There will also be a take home exam, but I’ve seen the questions and they are interesting and thought provoking. Plus I have time to gather quotations and write outline before I know which question I’m answering.

So semester break is rapidly approaching. Only it won’t be a break. Yeah, I’ll take a few days off, and take it pretty easy most of the rest of the time, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. (more…)

For those keeping score, I spent Thanksgiving break writing. I wrote a solid draft of both a paper on Artificial Authors (mainly on BRUTUS, the storytelling machine) and a research proposal. It is the latter that I want to talk about, because I will be doing a short presentation on it in a little more than an hour or so.

All semester, I’ve been trying to focus, to narrow down my topic as much as I possibly could. A few weeks ago, with the last presentation, I came up with something. The idea I am looking at, from the large view, is how new technologies are brought into the classroom. So I decided to take a single case and look at it. Specifically, I decided to take a technology that is used in classrooms, but hasn’t been for very long: PowerPoint.

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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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As I read through Copyrights and Copywrongs, I found myself having a debate about the argument being presented. On the one hand, I had my academic side talking about the value of a citation culture, about the importance of fair use and the interesting developments of Open Source etc. On the other, I had my creative side talking about getting credit for my work, about controlling how someone else uses the ideas that I present. That part of me feels that copyright needs to be strong, and weakening it weakens the creative endeavor.

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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…)

I have officially begun the long and arduous road towards a PhD. Arguably, I began it long ago, and now have just started at the last institution. Whatever the case, classes started last week, and I’ve been reading like a maniac.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that keeping up is falling behind, which seems strange. But if I’m not ahead of the curve, I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up. So I need to get ahead, so that feeling like I’m falling behind really just makes me fall right to where I should be.

I’m intending to use this blog much more frequently now that scholastic time is all the time. Partially, I’ll be using it to ruminate on the readings I do for class. One of my classes, Research Methods, requires a kind of journal, and I’ll keep that here as well. But this is not one of those entries. (more…)