Collaborative and Integrated Composition Classes (with New Media Support)

Introduction

Scholastic writing used to be disconnected. From research: reading and writing took place in different spaces at different times. From other writers: writing was a solitary activity. From previous steps of the process: each piece of writing produced along the way was discarded. From a real audience: students wrote to prove something to a professor who claimed they were engaged in an imaginary “academic discourse.” From authentic purpose: writing ended up in the garbage can and all the student’s hard work, knowledge, insights and craftsmanship were wasted.

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“Putting 2.0 and Two Together”: An Article — and a Response! — by Chris Gerben

I wrote this annotated bibliography for a class on using new media in composition classes, then posted it on my blog. To my surprise, Chris Gerben responded to the partial criticism in the last line, that he does not offer concrete techniques for the classroom. I contacted him and he gave me some very good ideas for using Facebook and blogs in the classroom. I urge you to look into other articles he has written and even to contact him for more ideas on using new media in the classroom. (Since I am moving this post to my teaching blog, I have copied and pasted those comments below.)

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Consider Your Audience

Recently a professor told me to consider my audience. She said that my style was far too informal for a grad paper. I needed to consider what writing was appropriate for academic discourse. Academic discourse? Who did she think I was writing to? She was my only reader. I felt, then, that I could play around a bit with the essay form, experiment a little. I even included a couple of allusions that only she would understand. It did not work. She wanted me, I realized, to speak into an imaginary space where scholars speak, not to each other, but into an imaginary library.

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Who is Writing This?

I am not writing this. This blog is writing me.

I did not want — nor was I able — to write this myself. I will create a persona as I go along, let’s call him Ronosaurus, that will do the work for me, someone simpler, who does not get pimples nor have a crick in his neck (such things will not be mentioned). Not only will I simplify, I will fictionalize myself and make myself seem smarter, more well-read, wittier, and, while I am at it, better looking. But this is not a story about me, it is a story about stories. To tell it, I must invent a speaker, which I will call, for convenience, myself. The needs of the blog will determine the voice I use. If you know it is a lie and I know it is a lie, then I will be telling the truth.

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