"Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them; it is for you to seek out this truth and to decide whether any part of it is worth keeping." --Virginia Woolf A Room of One's Own

CW 2005 Session A1: Politics of Digital Literacy: Cases for Institutional Critique

I'm blogging Session A1 live! Woo-hoo!

Mary Hocks; Georgia State

Challenges: students are being compelled to purchase laptops despite cuts in funding and aid. A double pinch for many students, especially with fyc courses going digital. How can the divides be closed given varying SES of students? How are students to deal with and overcome these pressures? How is instituion helping or hindering (which is most often the case) what faculty seek to do to address these concers.

  • At Georgia State (Atlanta), must first define technoloigcal literacy so we know what students need to learn. Are they precise enough? Outcomes often mean everything and nothing, focus on product and form rather than rhetoric, process and action;

Drupal Workshop Pics

Here are a couple of pics from the CW 2005 Drupal preconference workshop in Palo Alto!

Charlie and Tim as they prepare to get started. That's the Nick in the foreground and that's Bob Whipple's ear!

Charlie at the front, along with Tim. Peggy at the side.

Jim is helping Marcia. Nick and Judi are drupaling on their own.

Tim's helping out Kathy. Charlie explains deep things deep in the background, as you can tell by Mike and Anthony's contemplative looks.

Toilet Lids

This likely doesn't much matter to anyone, anywhere, but I found it interesting. Moments ago, I used the faculty bathroom near my office. As I was heading to the door, a young Japanese woman walked out, clearly not a faculty member. I wasn't all that concerned about this breach of etiquette (which I'm not sure I can spell). What was interesting is that as I went to do my business, I found the seat was in the up position! A woman had left the seat in the up position! Imagine my shock.

Earlier today, on a sojourn into the loo, the seat was also up, and I wondered which male colleague could be so thoughtless.

Computers and Writing Online 2005 Announcement and Program

Please forward, post on your blogs and wikis, etc.

On behalf of the conference organizers,

Computers and Writing Online 2005 When Content Is No Longer King: Social Networking, Community, and Collaboration

The 2005 Computers and Writing Online Conference begins on Tuesday, May 31, and runs through Monday, June 13. This is the first-ever online conference in our field to be open-access, Creative Commons-licensed, and hosted on a weblog, and it promises to be innovative and insightful. We set out to perform the concepts and values of the conference theme -- networking, community, and collaboration -- in our

I shoulda known

When classes are over, I left students keep access to their blogs. It seems like a reasonable thing to do, since my hope is to get them connected to the broader world in some way through the use of technology. Of course, sooner or later, and that would be today (actually, yesterday, but no big deal) someone was bound to test what might happen. A student from this term, who recently dropped the class, posted an entry (or someone used his login info to post an entry)about how "herion [sic] saved my life." It's typical of the sort of drug related essays I've gotten in the past, as if I knew nothing about drugs, particularly heroin. Never mind I knew many a folk who died from overdosing, got strung out, screwed their lifes up entrirely, not just on heroin, but cocaine, powder and crack, along with myriad other drugs ranging from marijuana to meth to alcohol to qualudes to you name it. Never mind the gas huffers. So, this sort of things isn't exactly a shock to me.

What's the use of drupal for teaching?

Since I'm part of a workshop at the Computers and Writing 2005 conference being held at Stanford later this spring (June 16-19), I have to come up with a rationale for using this software, at least in part.

What I'm focusing on is the use of the collaborative book, though for the most part I won't be talking about the collaboration. Instead I'll be focusing on how drupal is a useful Content Management System (CMS). In some respects, this notion might be synonomous with a Course Management System, such as a Blackboard or a WebCT or any of the other myriad choices out there. the primary difference,however, is that CMS (I won't be using this for Course Management System abbreviations) are good for more than just teaching. Though no one, or very few, read this, it also works for organzing personal webspaces, in the proverbial blogosphere, that have nothing to do with formal instructional or pedagogical concerns or goals. But enough about that.

Rate Me! (with apologies to what's left of Nirvana)

I was just walking to my office when I saw a flyer on one of the bulletin boards, saying something to the effect "Don't get slammed by incompetent teacher ever again!" At the top if the name of the website, ratemyprofessors.com, and at the bottom are a bunch of tear-strips (or whatever you call those things) with the website's url.

Although it's part of our required evaluation, more so prior to receiving tenure than after it (and maybe even more so when our new contract goes into effect) I've always been suspicious of anonymous student evaluations. While we all know there are incompetent teachers at all levels, and we have all had them, I see a lot more incompetent (really, more like ill-prepared with an inflated sense of their abilities) than I do incompetent teachers.

The Modern Morality

This has been an interesting week and day for thinking about morality. This morning, the Spokane Spokesman-Review's headline screamed of sex and the mayor being wholly outed as a gay/bi-sexual man and possible predophile (you may have to register to read this and other stories. There are quite a few) who may have used his political position in the state senate and as a sheriff's deputy to procure sex from young boys. As one might expect, he denied the allegations of having sex with young boys. But he didn't deny having sex with young men over the age of 18. Since has has been a staunch conservative in moral matters, and I'm sure you can figure out just what that means, some members of the GLBTG community are a bit put off by this public/private discrepency. One could even go so far as to say his public stance has been homophobic. I guess when you are in the closet and a high profile Republican politician with an eye on the governor's mansion, that happens. I suspect more will be put off by the seeming, at least, hypocrisy of his stances than by his being something other than heterosexual.

Still More on Rushdie and Writing

Yesterday I wrote about the old fire in the belly as part of being a writer. This was one of the three things Salman Rushdie touched on as a necessary component for being a writer. I couldn't agree more. The remaining two concerns are the ear and eye. Today I'm going to write about the "eye."

The eye, the view a writer brings to their work, is one of those things Rushdie says can't be taught, and I agree. We all see the world how we see it, through whatever lens, whatever ideology, and there is little we can do to change that. But it's really not so much about whether we can change our view, our outlook, the way we perceive the world and express that perception. Instead it's about whether this perception can add anything to literature and the world.

Anyone who wants to can develop technical competence as a writer. I think I have done that for the most part. I don't think I have developed technical competence as a story teller, commentator or what have you, and certainly not as a poet. But with time and effort (meaning lots of reading and writing with a clear objective for both), it can happen.

More on Rushdie and Writing

I'd been wanting to write more about what Salman Rushdie had to say the other night during his Get Lit! reading and talk. As a writer, a writer who is more of a wannabe, much of what he said struck a chord with me. One of the major points he made actually had been something I had thought for quite some time, but I'll work my way around to that. Rushdie said that there are three things required to be a writer, of quality I should probably add, though he didn't come right out and say it. Those three things are an individual eye, a good ear, and now, all of a sudden, I can't remember the third thing. Well, I'll cover the eye first, because that is probably the most important. Oh yeah, the fire in the belly. The desire to be a writer is the third thing.

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