tfw homework assignments fall 08

About Homework Assignments

The assignments that are listed on this page are to be completed before class starts the day they are due. The latest assignment will be placed at the top to reduce scrolling.

for Tuesday, Dec 9

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” and James Paul Gee’s “Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?” and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Please also watch David Perry’s “Will Video Games Become Better than Real Life?” Readings are linked off the readings page.

We will debrief our online chats and discuss the final assignment in class.

for Thursday, Dec 4

Please read Thompson, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy,” Vaidhyanathan, “Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’” and Howard, “Understanding Internet Plagiarism.” The latter two articles are available on the readings page.

Be prepared to discuss these essays (and the YouTube essays read for Tuesday, Dec 2) in great detail.

Print out, read, and bring to class these chat quotatons (.pdf).

for Tuesday, Dec 2

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use diigo-bookmark-tag-tutorial-f08-mod-3.pdf (handed out in class) to guide you. Begin completing the bookmarking portion of your information ecology.

Please read Dibbell, “A Rape in Cyberspace,” originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, “YouTube vs. Boob Tube” (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, “The Secret World of Lonelygirl” (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 380+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the 142+ that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see “Hey There, LonelyGirl” from the NYTimes Magazine, “LonelyGirl and All Her Friends” (audio and transcript) and “LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore” (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

for Tuesday, Nov 25

Please read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) “>Who Am We?,” Kelly (2005) “We are the Web,” Vogelstein (2007) “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform” and watch a few times Wesch (2007) “The Machine is Us/ing Us.” Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, Jeff the Giant Orange Cat, and Bathroom Graffiti Project.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

back to top

for Thursday, Nov 20

Please read Bush (1945) “As We May Think” and Berners-Lee (1994) “The World Wide Web.” (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts. Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. In class we will watch videos of the first public display of the mouse, word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Thursday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor. Because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 5 posts per week to their group blog, 1 of which must be on the readings. The other 4 can/should be on topics of your own interest as long as they relate to the overall theme of your blog. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the module—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

To get to know your blogs a bit more, please see WordPress.com’s very helpful and intuitive FAQs page. By classtime on Thursday, I would like you to learn how to do the following using the FAQ page linked-to above, and the create a post that contains all three of the below listed items. Use the Topics keywords (also known as ‘tags’) to get you started. The subject of this post should be on a subject that is related to your personal, professional, and/or educational interests:

  • add / write a link
  • add an image
  • emded / post a YouTube video

back to top

for Tuesday, Nov 18

Please read Selfe (1999) “Literacy and Technology Linked,” Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) “A Matter of Metaphor” and “Information Ecologies” and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either of the essays that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Type the passage into your response–include page numbers–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, “So, what do you think?”). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

for Thursday, Nov. 13

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) “Can We Define Technology?” Bolter (2001) “Writing as Technology,” and Bolter and Grusin (1999) “The Double Logic of Remediation” and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

“Writing as Technology” and “The Double Logic of Remediation” introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

To access your blog dashboard, to go http://www.wordpress.com and log in using the username and password set up in class (if you were absent this will be done in class on Thursday; do not create an account from home). At the top op the browser window you will see a gray bar. On the left of the bar, click on Dashboard. From there, click on “Write a New Post.” Add a title, paste in your text, and then click on Publish. You can see what your blog looks like by clicking on the blog name in the right sidebar of this page (and every page of the web site).

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for Tuesday, November 11 (First Assignment for Module 3)

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s “Strategies for Reading Critically” and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) “Why Blog?” and “Blogs as a New Writing Genre.” I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal “interest spheres.” These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, “Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism.” Or, “Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education.”

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas “journalism” and others, like “elementery education” or “law” or “creative writing” are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engines on technorati, google, or ask.com (click the right arrow to get to the blog search) begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss “learning space design.” If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like “education blogs” into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

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for Thursday, Nov 6

No class November 4. Go vote!! Bring other people to the polls to vote!

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” and James Paul Gee’s “Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?” and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Please also watch David Perry’s “Will Video Games Become Better than Real Life?” Readings are linked off the readings page.

We will debrief our online chats and discuss the final assignment in class.

for Thursday, Oct 30

Please read Thompson, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy,” Vaidhyanathan, “Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’” and Howard, “Understanding Internet Plagiarism.” The latter two articles are available on the readings page.

Be prepared to discuss these essays (and the YouTube essays read for Tuesday, Oct 28) in great detail.

Print out, read, and bring to class these chat quotatons (.pdf).

for Tuesday, Oct 28

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use the diigo-tutorial-mod-2.pdf (updated to include correct urls) to guide you. Begin completing the bookmarking portion of your information ecology.

Please read Dibbell, “A Rape in Cyberspace,” originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, “YouTube vs. Boob Tube” (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, “The Secret World of Lonelygirl” (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 380+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the 142+ that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see “Hey There, LonelyGirl” from the NYTimes Magazine, “LonelyGirl and All Her Friends” (audio and transcript) and “LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore” (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

for Thursday, Oct 23

Please read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) “Who Am We?,” Kelly (2005) “We are the Web,” Carr (2008) “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and watch a few times Wesch (2007) “The Machine is Us/ing Us.” Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, Jeff the Giant Orange Cat, and A Food Coma.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

back to top

for Tuesday, Oct 21

Please read Bush (1945) “As We May Think” and Berners-Lee (1994) “The World Wide Web.” (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts. Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. In class we will watch videos of the first public display of the mouse, word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Thursday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor. Because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 5 posts per week to their group blog, 1 of which must be on the readings. The other 4 can/should be on topics of your own interest as long as they relate to the overall theme of your blog. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the module—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

To get to know your blogs a bit more, please see WordPress.com’s very helpful and intuitive FAQs page. By classtime on Thursday, I would like you to learn how to do the following using the FAQ page linked-to above, and the create a post that contains all three of the below listed items. Use the Topics keywords (also known as ‘tags’) to get you started. The subject of this post should be on a subject that is related to your personal, professional, and/or educational interests:

  • add / write a link
  • add an image
  • emded / post a YouTube video

back to top

for Tuesday, Oct. 14

Please read Selfe (1999) “Literacy and Technology Linked,” Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) “A Matter of Metaphor” and “Information Ecologies” and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either of the essays that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Type the passage into your response–include page numbers–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, “So, what do you think?”). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

for Thursday, Oct. 9

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) “Can We Define Technology?” Bolter (2001) “Writing as Technology,” and Bolter and Grusin (1999) “The Double Logic of Remediation” and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

“Writing as Technology” and “The Double Logic of Remediation” introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

back to top

for Tuesday, October 7 (First Assignment for Module 2)

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s “Strategies for Reading Critically” and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) “Why Blog?” and “Blogs as a New Writing Genre.” I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal “interest spheres.” These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, “Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism.” Or, “Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education.”

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas “journalism” and others, like “elementery education” or “law” or “creative writing” are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engines on technorati, google, or ask.com (click the right arrow to get to the blog search) begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss “learning space design.” If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like “education blogs” into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

back to top

for Thursday, Oct 2

Please read (in this order) Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics” and James Paul Gee’s “Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a ‘Waste of Time’?” and come to class prepared to discuss them in some detail. They are important pieces that should, I suspect, alter our understanding of many of the essays we have read thus far in the module. Readings are linked off the readings page.

We will debrief our online chats and discuss the final assignment in class.

for Tuesday, Sept 30

Please read Thompson, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy,” Vaidhyanathan, “Naked in the ‘Nonopticon’” and Howard, “Understanding Internet Plagiarism.” The latter two articles are available on the readings page.

Be prepared to discuss these essays (and the YouTube essays read for Thursday, Sept 25) in great detail.

On Tuesday we are not meeting in the classroom. We are meeting in the Blackboard Chat space for Intro to Writing Arts. Please be on time and log in to the “Module 1 Full Chat” link as soon as you arrive. (If you are having trouble opening the chat, make sure you are clicking on the Voice Bubble icon. If that doesn’t work, perform a Browser Check by following the link on the Blackboard home page. Do this ahead of time.) Print out and read these chat quotatons (.pdf) prior to class. See you online!

for Thursday, Sept 25

On your home/personal computer, log in to Diigo and install the Diigo toolbar as we did in class (you do not need to re-join the group). Please use the Diigo tutorial (.pdf) to guide you. Begin completing the bookmarking portion of your information ecology.

Please read Dibbell, “A Rape in Cyberspace,” originally published in the Village Voice (available on the Readings page); Garfield, “YouTube vs. Boob Tube” (some of the videos on this page may no longer be available, but they can be seen if you go to YouTube and search for them); Davis, “The Secret World of Lonelygirl” (be sure to watch the three videos on page 1—they are the first two of Bree and a latter one about Daniel). I also suggest you watch some of Bree’s video blogs (all 244+). Start in the bottom right and move left and up as you go. The first two that were added are quite different than the 142+ that follow, so stick with it, as they are fascinating introductions to the series. For more on LonelyGirl15, see “Hey There, LonelyGirl” from the NYTimes Magazine, “LonelyGirl and All Her Friends” (audio and transcript) and “LonelyGirl Just Not Herself Anymore” (audio and transcript) from NPR’s On the Media radio program.

for Tuesday, Sept 23

Please read Wired articles: Turkle (1995) “Who Am We?,” Kelly (2005) “We are the Web,” Vogelstein (2007) “How Mark Zuckerberg Turned Facebook Into the Web’s Hottest Platform” and watch a few times Wesch (2007) “The Machine is Us/ing Us.” Please also look at the following blogs: PostSecret, The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks, Literally-A Web Log, Why That Plate, Lowercase L, Jeff the Giant Orange Cat, and Bathroom Graffiti Project.

Last semester students expressed wonder over older computers, so I thought I would post these two links which offer timelines of computer history: Computer History Museum Timelime, An Illustrated History of Computers. These are just FYI—not required reading at all.

back to top

for Thursday, Sept 18

Please read Bush (1945) “As We May Think” and Berners-Lee (1994) “The World Wide Web.” (Readings available for download on the Readings page.) These texts are all firsts. Bush’s Memex was the first discussion of something the resembled the Internet; Berners-Lee’s essay was the first description of the World Wide Web. In class we will watch videos of the first public display of the mouse, word processing, cut, paste, bulleted lists, and hypertext, among other technologies. Bush’s and Berners-Lee’s essays can be technical at times, so please grasp what you can and just move past what you can’t. The overall ideas are what we are going to look at, not the technical aspects.

Please post a response to your blog by the start of class on Thursday. There is no formal prompt—and there will be no formal prompt for the rest of the semester, only the suggestion that your responses to assigned texts be about the equivalent of 1/2 page, single space, Times New Roman, font 12. When composing your posts, write them as if you are writing for the whole WWW audience—not just for this class and these students and this professor. Because, in fact, anyone in the world can read your responses if they find the blog in a search or stumble upon it through this or other web sites. Discuss, critique, cite—whatever you wish to do; just remember that blogging is all about authority. I also encourage you to comment on each other’s posts. Blogs are also about feedback, so let’s start giving ourselves some feedback.

Remember that each student is responsible for posting a total of 5 posts per week to their group blog, 1 of which must be on the readings. The other 4 can/should be on topics of your own interest as long as they relate to the overall theme of your blog. Dr. Wolff is also responsible for posting to his own blog: 3 per week, at least one of which is pedagogical. Don’t leave these blog posts until the end of the module—be diligent and stay with it. Once you get rolling, it will be hard to stop.

To get to know your blogs a bit more, please see WordPress.com’s very helpful and intuitive FAQs page. By classtime on Thursday, I would like you to learn how to do the following using the FAQ page linked-to above, and the create a post that contains all three of the below listed items. Use the Topics keywords (also known as ‘tags’) to get you started. The subject of this post should be on a subject that is related to your personal, professional, and/or educational interests:

  • add / write a link
  • add an image
  • emded / post a YouTube video

back to top

for Tuesday, Sept 16

Please read Selfe (1999) “Literacy and Technology Linked,” Nardi and O’Day’s (1999) “A Matter of Metaphor” and “Information Ecologies” and post a response on your blog:

The essays we are reading this week are filled with an amazing amount of dense prose and fascinating insights into the nature of technology. For this posting, I would you like to select a passage from either of the essays that you found particularly insightful and thought-provoking, particularly confusing, or that you are skeptical of. Type the passage into your response–include page numbers–and then include your response. At the end of your discussion, pose a question to your classmates (avoid questions like, “So, what do you think?”). I encourage your blog-mates to comment on your post using the blog comment field.

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the response field. Your initial response should be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

for Thursday, Sept. 11

By classtime, please read Nye (2006) “Can We Define Technology?” Bolter (2001) “Writing as Technology,” and Bolter and Grusin (1999) “The Double Logic of Remediation” and post a response to the following on your brand new, super-exciting collaborative blog:

“Writing as Technology” and “The Double Logic of Remediation” introduce two of the key terms we will be discussing this module: writing spaces and remediation. For this post, please identify three of the writing spaces you use most frequently, discuss their characteristics, and what makes them unique. Then, choose two of those spaces, and using Bolter’s and Grusin’s definition of remediation, discuss how one remediates the other (or how they remediate themselves).

Please draft your response using Microsoft Word (or other word processor), check it for spelling, and then paste it in the blog post field. Have your response be at least 1/2 page, single space, using Times New Roman font size 12, on a page with 1″ margins.

Essays are available for download on the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

back to top

for Tuesday, Sept. 9

Please first read Axelrod and Cooper’s “Strategies for Reading Critically” and use the annotation techniques they describe when you read: Penrod (2007) “Why Blog?” and “Blogs as a New Writing Genre.” I will check the copies of your readings in class to see how you have annotated the texts. These, and all readings, are linked off the readings page, which is password protected. Please email me if you forgot the password.

For the first part of this assignment, I’d like you to identify your personal, educational, and professonal “interest spheres.” These spheres are the subjects, ideas, communities, etc., that you are interested in and/or curious about on a personal level. Often, when we think about our personal, educational, and professional interests we say, “Oh, I’m a Writing Arts major and I’m interested in journalism.” Or, “Oh, I’m an Education/Writing Arts double major and I’m interested in elementary education.”

Those statements are quite useful, but the areas “journalism” and others, like “elementery education” or “law” or “creative writing” are quite broad. For example, what specific area of journalism are you interested in: op/ed, sports, politics, environmental, journalist ethics, etc.? These are subclasses of the larger field of journalism. We can do the same with elementary education: No Child Left Behind, funding of education, politics and education, special needs students, art in education, technology in the el ed classroom, and so forth. Each of these areas offers a very specific community wherein people are exchanging ideas, best practices, and proposals for future changes. Similar things can be done with personal and educational interests. Here, for example, is a breakdown of my professional and personal:

  • higher education (professional)
    • technology and education
    • learning space design
    • classification systems
  • photography (personal)
    • black and white
    • Holga
    • infrared

I would like you to locate 3 or 4 specific areas of professional, educational, and personal interests. Create a hierarchy as above, and bring it with you to class. Then, using the blog search engine technorati or google begin searching for blogs in that particular specific area. So, for example, I might look for blogs that discuss “learning space design.” If you have trouble with the subareas, try the overall subject area and then narrow based on what you see. You might also try putting a phrase like “education blogs” into Google and see what you get. By doing that, the first result is to a page that discusses the Top 100 Education Blogs, which itself contains a link to edublogs.org, a site that hosts more than 30,000 blogs.

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