A few miscellany

For the first time in what seems like a month, I feel “caught up,” almost.  I think ever since the “National Day O’ Writing” thing, I’ve been bailing water.  Anyway, I haven’t thought through much in terms of anything too interesting to say, but thought I’d post a few links, a few updates:

  • My English 505 class goes well, and it took a somewhat surprising turn the other day:  Richard Vatz, the author of “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation,” contacted me after coming across the class online.  Which is just another one of those examples I suppose of the pros and cons of putting an online class truly online and “out there” for the world to see.
  • Utah State UP will live another day with a different model, as a (mostly?) electronic press.
  • “Are we naked in the cloud?” from the Atlantic. I think the answer is “well, yes,” which is why cloud computing will only go so far, at least until these sorts of ownership/privacy issues are sorted out.
  • Just got on Google wave; we’ll see how it goes….
  • Maybe I haven’t been writing enough lately because I haven’t been feeling grumpy.
  • I tried to comment on this post about imagining an online composition platform at Alex Reid’s blog (and that didn’t work), so I’ll post something here:

    For starters, I don’t think online versions of first year writing is a good idea– at least not entirely online, and at least not at EMU.  We admit a fair number of first year students at EMU who are “at risk” in some fashion, and what I see in my current section of freshman comp is a real mix in levels of responsibility and maturity.  Some students would be fine with a completely online class; many would not.  Hybrid first year writing classes is another issue though.

    Second, the online platform that I imagine is probably something like a wiki.  I’ve been using media wiki for this term and I used a wetpaint wiki for my spring 2009 term class.  Of course, this isn’t an online class, but I like the interface for publishing student work and class materials, and I think that students like it too.  There is a level of “individuality” with this set-up because I have organized the site by having each student have a page, but at the same time, all the stuff is right there together.  The down-sides of these sites are they don’t foster ongoing conversation that well (though I suppose that’s in part because we haven’t tried– it is a face to face class, after all), and there are different technical issues.  Mediawiki is a little unwieldy for students; Wetpaint is super easy to use, but there isn’t much you can do to customize it.

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