Computers and Writing 2008: Krause’s Big Wrap-Up

First off, let me back-track a bit and fill in a few more details on what I’ve already mentioned about C&W and this trip:

  • The “very good session” I went to on Friday morning before Jay David Bolter’s talk featured Rik Hunter, Dan Anderson, and Alex Reid. Follow the links for more info on the presentations. Actually, in Rik’s and Dan’s case, you can literally see what they did: both of them had everything pre-recorded and just “delivered” it by cranking up the computer and pushing play. Alex did his the old fashioned way– just talking. All were very good, but it was kind of strange to see the presenter standing there while his movie plays his presentation.
  • Speaking of Alex Reid, congratulations on the John Lovas Memorial Academic Weblog Award for Digital Digs!
  • I wish Jay David Bolter’s talk was online someplace, and maybe it will be at some point– they videotaped it. I thought it would be a really interesting teaching tool because he made a bridge/connection between the hypertext experiments of the early 90’s (remember StorySpace?) with gaming experiments (, for example), poetry that plays on your iPod or your cell phone when you are in certain points of the Atlanta subway, a podcast tour of a cemetery, etc. It reminds me that I need to work gaming back into English 516 the next time I teach it.

Now on to the “part 3” or concluding episode of Computers and Writing 2008 from my pov:

  • My session was at 10 AM on Saturday, and the “prime time” seemed to help us draw a pretty decent-sized crowd. Before me was Gian Pugnucci with a talk called “The WikiBib Project: Exploring the nature of Teaching Collaborative Scholarships in a Wiki.” Basically, he was talking about using a wiki as a means of facilitating collaboration on an annotated bibliography assignment in a graduate class. I’ve talked with Gian about this before and I think we’re going to try and work something out together on this for his and my grad courses next year.

    I was second, and I’ll pretty much let my presentation speak (or not) for itself:

    A slight tangent here: I actually managed to forget the do-hickey for hooking up my laptop, so I spent a few moments thinking I was screwed. But it turns out I was doubly covered. Since this was the computers and writing conference after all, someone in the audience (Carl Whithaus, actually) immediately volunteered his adapter. But besides that, the fine folks in Georgia were completely prepared for this, too. The guy doing tech support for UGa told me he had a whole bag full of the adapters I needed and was very confident that he could get the projector set-up to work. Quite a contrast to the way the projectors often work (or not) in Pray-Harrold.Anyway, I got some great feedback from folks on what to do with the whole “finished blogger” issue, and as we discussed during the session, my use of the word “failure” in my talk is probably not right. “Not finished,” “abandoned, or and as often as not, “ended at the appropriate time” are probably better terms. In any event, helpful ideas from attendees.

    The third presenter was Natalie Szymanski from Florida State with a talk titled “Wikis and Composition Pedagogy: Avoiding the Bandwagon.” Basically, she was suggesting that maybe we ought to slow down a bit on all of this stuff like wikis. While I didn’t agree with many of the things she had to say, I had to give her credit because it’s nice to see someone at this conference have the guts to point out that we’re in the “writing business” and not the “isn’t this software I just learned about cool business.”

  • And then it was time for golf. I was part of a foursome with Steve Benninghoff, Gian, and Nick Carbone out at the University of Georgia Golf Course. In hind-sight, I think we should have picked a more “accessible” course since Benninghoff and I could have used a bit of a “palate cleanser” after the challenges of that course in Kentucky, and Gian and Nick, neither of whom had swung a club in over a year, could have just used something easier. This was one bad-assed hard hard course, certainly in the top 2 or 3 in difficulty that I’ve played, and a course that made me wish for an easy one like Pierce Lake or Eagle Crest.

    But hey, it was a friendly game, and a good time was had by one and all even if the play wasn’t great. Actually, it got a lot more fun when we started the back nine and we played a cart versus cart scramble, but Nick had to leave a little early, so it just kind of degenerated into some sloppy play at the end of a long death march of a round.

  • Steve B. and Gian and I had some BBQ that I thought was pretty so-so, and then we went off to Kingpins Bowl and Brew for the ritual of the bowling night. I managed to catch up with a few folks who I didn’t get a chance to talk to much during the conference itself (including Courtney, who is doing great), had a few more Terapins, and even managed a little bowling (I scored 100– I had forgotten that real bowling isn’t as easy as Wii bowling).
  • And then Sunday was the long drive home. I managed to prod my more leisurely traveling companion onto the road by 6:30 and we were back in Ypsilanti in less than 12 hours, which, when I think about the expense and general pain in the butt of flying, makes me think that driving was a good idea, with or without the golf.

So an excellent conference/roadtrip. Well done, UGa, folks! Here are some pictures of the whole things– eventually, I’ll add some info about all these pictures.

Next year, C&W is going to be at UC-Davis and it is going to be toward the end of June. I don’t know if I’ll be going yet or not, to tell the truth. On the down-side, the CCCCs is in San Francisco this year, and I don’t think I can afford 2 trips to California just to conference. On the other hand, Annette and Will and I might want to make this part of a west coast “pilgrimage” back to Ashland. We shall see….

3 thoughts on “Computers and Writing 2008: Krause’s Big Wrap-Up”

  1. It was great to finally meet you, Steve, after knowing you only through your blog.

    I really like the way you talked about community and blogging as side-by-side play (I know I wish I had more time or just did more interacting on other folks’ blogs, but I end up scanning what people are saying via a feed reader). I’d like to hear more about why you may or may not have a chapter on teaching. It’s something I’m still unsure about for my dissertation.

    And thanks for the shout-out!

  2. About the side-by-side play reference: one of the things I’m discovering with my research is that bloggers don’t typically see their blog in and of itself as a community, but rather they see their blog fitting into a a larger group/community of blogs– so, for example, my blog fits into the communities of comp/rhet bloggers, EMU bloggers, and Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor bloggers. This is what I mean by side-by-side play; it’s not unlike the way that especially young children interact. It’s not so much that they play together as it is that they play next to each other.

    As for the teaching chapter: I’m still trying to figure out what kind of book I’m writing– or, perhaps more accurately, supposed to be writing. I haven’t really had much in the way of research in this project about what blogging means for teaching; it’s so far been more about what is blogging as a phenomenon. Still, if I write a book that is going to be “marketable” to writing and other teachers, having a section in there on teaching would just make some sense.

    I don’t know if that helps you out on your dissertation Rik, but there you have it.

  3. I also thought the “side by side” playing was a very interesting description of blogging. This comparison to young children who play that way–really due to lack of social skills and a sense of “I” as the whole world–brings up some interesting questions of what type of people blog. It makes me wonder how much community plays into blog types rather than simply categories of bloggers. Would the difference be in the level of interaction between blogs? And along that line, how do feed readers interrupt that sense of community–I know personally I have noticed a reduced level of connectivity due to feed readers. I think in part because you then have the ability to track so many blogs that it becomes overwhelming to really do much commenting–and it is so much easier to just skim rather than read. It makes me think I should do some vigorous weeding of my reader.

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