Weekend Reading: Computers & Writing Edition

Earlier this month, I was at the Computers & Writing conference in Frostburg, which is always an interesting space for thinking about computers and pedagogy. This week’s readings are inspired by some of those ongoing conversations, particularly as we continue to debate MOOCs and consider alternative forms for presenting scholarship.

  • MoMLA: From Panel to Gallery (Eds. Victor Vitanza and Virginia Kuhn) in Kairos 17.2 is an intriguing experiment in form:  it is designed “to show and demonstrate how digital technologies are reshaping our views of conferences, of presentations, and in a wider scope of writings. This Panel to Gallery session set aside the traditional diachronic set of presentations for a synchronic set, in an art e-gallery format, with each writing arranged separately as conceptual art installations.”
  • Herbert Lul on Lifehacker looks at “How Your Brain Perceives Time (and How to Use it to Your Advantage)“, with some good advice for procrastinators like me: “A way to curb procrastination early on would be to take a few minutes and simply lay the groundwork for a project. This process naturally starts putting more details in your head, and you can get over the procrastination hump. In other words, just start somewhere. This is why self-development advisors like Tony Robbins suggest making goals extremely concrete and detailed—it emphasizes the urgency of the goal and makes the milestone feel less distant.”
  • Michael Maune looks at “#CWCon from Afar: Gee’s Affinity Spaces & Situated Learning Interrogated” and demonstrates the value of a conference Twitter backchannel: “I think these questions lead to a more fundamental question of an affinity space approach: What should be the object of affinity in the affinity space? Must it be a game? Could “school culture” be an affinity space? Could “academia” be an affinity space? Could we see the liberal arts as an affinity group whose object of infinity is knowledge for knowledge’s sake?”
  • While I was at C&W, everyone at THATCamp CHNM was busy making awesome things. WordPress fans might like Boone Gorges’s new Digital Public Library of America plug-in: “The DPLA has lots of cool content, and WP DPLA is a way to help your readers discover and explore that content. It takes the tags you’ve assigned to your post – say, cheesehead and Packers or pizzabeer, and nachos – and fetches four random items from DPLA’s partner collections, and displays them at the bottom of the post.”
  • The MOOC debate continues over on Hybrid Pedagogy, where Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel look at “Pedagogies of Scale“: “The point of any pedagogy is not the length of the course, size of the classroom, the headcount, or the completion or attrition rates. Pedagogy is unfazed by numbers; it is never outweighed by scale. Good pedagogy can be enacted in a room with one or two students, or in an online environment with thousands. This is because pedagogy is responsive, able to grow to the space it must inhabit, and its goal is a shift in thinking, which is spreadable by a single learner or by ten or by tens of hundreds.”

Tired of conference sessions with a lot of reading from papers? You might enjoy this week’s video recording of “Performing Rhetoric: Embodying Rhetoric Through Screens and Space” from Computers & Writing, complete with singing:

[Photo taken of a resistance writing machine from "Writing Machines, Writing Bodies"]

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