Out of a discussion on Tech-Rhet the other day came this little tidbit from Bill HD: ScienceDirect (which indexes Computers and Composition) has a “Hottest 25” feature for various journals. So, for example, here’s a link to the “hottest 25” articles (in terms of people accessing them at least, I assume) in Computers and Composition from the October-December 2007 issues.
Since this site also has a handy “blog it” feature and there are some articles I can imagine teaching next year, I think I’ll go ahead and link those below as well: Understanding”Internet plagiarism” • Article Computers and Composition, Volume 24, Issue 1, 1 January 2007, Pages 3-15 Howard, R.M.
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 (newsgaming.com, 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.
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….
I was invited by someone (who knows who?) to join Nofomedia, which is a free and stupid-easy course management system built like a social networking tool. I have spent about 10 minutes looking at this since I have a ton of other things I have to do after the Computers and Writing trip– unpack, mow the lawn, get caught up with my classes, laundry, shopping, etc.– but I have to say this looks pretty compelling to me.
I think the biggest challenge/problem these folks are likely to have is the same problem/challenge that any software that isn’t the “official”software option of an institution is likely to have. But it’s definitely worth checking out.
Steve B. and I are (hopefully) going to be leaving soon for the long and exciting one day haul back to Michigan from the Computers and Writing Conference here in Athens, GA. But before I go, I wanted to post a link to a movie I made of my presentation, as I promised I would during my presentation. So here is:
Interestingly enough, I tried to upload this to Google Video and I was “rejected” for what they said were copyright reasons. I’ll have to figure out what the deal is with that later. I recorded this with KeyNote as I was talking at the conference, so this really is a kind of “Live, from Athens!” sort of deal.
Sure, some folks are at the Rhetoric Society of America conference right now (or soon) instead of at this fine conference, though, as I learned from talking to David Blakesley the other night, there are at least a few people going to both C&W and the every other year RSA in Seattle. David talked about how he was flying from here to there. Yikes! Not my idea of fun….
But so far, here (as in C&W) has been a pretty fun and informative conference. Steve B. and I drove for hours and hours and hours on Thursday, and made it in time for the reception at Tasty World (which was a bar rather than a cake store) and then had subsequent and largely unmentionable evening activities about Athens, GA. I can’t post pictures of anything right now because I forgot the cable to upload picts from my camera (very annoying), but I can tell you a good time was had by one and all.
I went to a good session this morning, went to a very good talk by Jay David Bolter, and a good and kind of heart-warming panel where I am pretty sure most of the speakers were giving their first conference presentation. I thought that was cool because I too gave my first conference talk at a C&W many moons ago….
Anyway, Steve B. and I did some shopping in the afternoon before attending the usual banquet. We left a little the banquet a little early (because we could) and wen heard afterwards that Nick Carbone was recognized this year as the C&W contributor/person of the year. Or whatever that is called. Congrats to him!
So far, UGa has put on a very pleasant comfortable and pleasant C&W, and Athens has been a lot of fun. As far as I can tell, it is as if Ann Arbor, Blacksburg, VA, and Charlottesville had a love-child and named it Athens. I don’t think I’m going to see much of the college music scene that has made this town so famous, but I’ve liked what I have seen.
Tomorrow, Steve B. and I present at different times and then it is off to the UGa golf course.
As I’m stuck in Atlanta traffic while Steve B. Drives and talks on the phone, a few notes from the road so far:
Most amusing statue to date: that big Jesus reaching for the sky at the something (solid?) rock church outside of Cincinnati.
Second most amusing road art: giant decorative bag outside of Chico’s warehouse or something outside of Athens.
We were able to golf yesterday at a place called Old Silo that Steve B had researched as the “best public course in Kentucky,” or some such thing. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it was a nice course and wicked hard. I didn’t break 120 though. There was indeed an “old silo” on the course and now Steve B is noticing them everywhere.
No golf today though, as had been originally planned. First off, we both actually are teaching online right now, so we left quite a bit later and worked at the hotel on their wifi for a couple hours before hitting the road.
Speaking of which, Panera’s come in handy on such trips as a chance to check in on the road. That and Steve B’s iPhone….
The traffic around Atlanta completely and utterly sucks.
And of course, I insist on listening to the new R.E.M. As we approach Athens. It’ll be off to the hotel and then to a reception for the conference at some place called the Tasty World….
I have to get caught up on grading and get geared up for my road-trip/golf trip to the Computers and Writing Conference in Athens, GA (don’t worry, more will be coming soon on that), but I thought I’d take a moment to post on a couple of articles that I’ve been meaning to post on for a couple days now. The first Julie Frechette’s piece in Inside Higher Ed, “Crossing the (Digital) Line,” which points to a NYTimes piece, “The Professor as Open Book.” The short version is that both stories talk about the ever-amusing “Professors Strike Back” web site and show, and they talk about that fuzzy line between a college professor “relating” to students and materials by sharing personal information, versus the professor who shares, um, too much. Frechette sees this as a potential professorial power-play: the professor shares details and expects his students to give up equally (more so?) juicy details. That makes sense to me, but in my own experiences as a student, I guess I was particularly put off by the professor who interprets a class about, say, 18th century British Literature (I didn’t take that class, btw) to be primarily about him, his cats, his wife, and their broken-down Subaru.
But I think what information a professor shares in a teaching/professional environment is different than the information that a professor (who, generally speaking, is also a human) shares about him or herself via a web site or a blog or a Facebook account or whatever. And while there is always some discretion involved in what one does or doesn’t write about online (or at least there should be), I think that most professionals who work in the public sphere (professors, but I would also include lawyers, doctors, journalists, clergy, etc.) have to make a decision about “sharing.”
I used to keep a “professional” blog and a “personal” blog in an effort to draw some separation between those areas of my life. I like Derrida and Spongebob Squarepants, for example. But as I wrote when I started this combined blog, I realized that that separation had broken down a long time ago. Thus one blog.
In any event, students in my students are not likely to hear me go on and on a lot about my wife, son, and dog during class. But they are as likely to read my thoughts on teaching, scholarship, and the upcoming C&W conference as they are about my golf game. Fortunately, this week’s trip will likely combine all of the above.