I’ve created a new page here to showcase your multimodal composition projects. I’ve sent you all the password by email, but if you don’t have it, let me know.

Here’s an article from the NY Times about the new battery of tests that are being developed with New York State’s Race to the Top funds. I thought you all might be interested in view of our discussion a couple of weeks ago, especially given the effect this will have on teacher job security.

I know you are probably occupied with your position papers right now, but I wanted to remind you to let me know if you have a proposal for a multimodal composition that you’d like to do in a group, or if you’d like to work in a group but don’t have a proposal. So far, we have one proposal looking for volunteers: it would involve interviewing people (students, professors, etc.) on camera about their own changing relationship to writing and then editing the video. If you’re interested in being a part of the team that does that, send me an email. It will certainly involve less work for you if you are part of a group, although you will have to be willing to work collaboratively.

Meanwhile, the links below might inspire you if you’re still looking for ideas.

You might think of the following as audio-visually enhanced text: letters that move in sync with speech. You’ll see a how-to video posted in the comments. This example might be relevant to some of your position papers, too, because in it Stephen Fry talks about his impatience with people who insist on grammar “correctness.”

This story is not directly about teaching composition, but it touches on the issue of what writing is today. It hinges on the question of whether print journalists, whose expected role is to observe and then convey what they observe through writing, should also use video or audio as part of their information-gathering (hand-held devices like iPhones make this increasingly easy to do). What are the ramifications of these devices for the role of writers?

Finally, here’s a story about cursive handwriting that appeared in the New York Times a couple of days ago. Do you still use cursive when you write something by hand? Is it worthwhile for this skill to be taught in school?

Here are the instructions for your multimodal composition, which will be due on the last day of class. This is mostly what we discussed already in our last class, but I wanted to give it to you in writing. The results of the survey about the assignment show that most of you would prefer to have the option to do the project individually, which is fine. If some of you would like to work in groups, that’s okay too. You are of course welcome to form your own group (just let me know), or if you have an idea for a project you’d like to do with other students, let me know about it or simply ask for volunteers in class.

Multimodal Composition

A number of you have asked for more time to work on your position paper, and I don’t want everyone to be focusing on that over the next few days instead of doing the readings for class, so I’ve decided to extend the deadline and give you an extra weekend. You will have until midnight, Monday May 2 to get your papers to me (the day after May Day, that is). This is a firm deadline. I chose this date because you will also have another (small) homework assignment that week, and then the final project, so I don’t want anyone working on the position paper past May 2. After I grade and comment on your position papers I will expect each of you to submit a revision, so the May 2 version does not have to be definitive.

The other benefit of this extension is that we can spend some time in class this week discussing your papers. I want each of you to bring at least your bibliography or works cited (bring your draft if you have one as well), and we will split into affinity groups (many of you are working on similar topics) so you can talk about your progress.

This article that recently appeared in Inside Higher Ed is by Mike Rose, whom we’ve read already. It might be helpful to those of you who are writing papers on basic writing, and also those of you writing about the teaching of grammar via “skills and drills” vs. a more contextual approach.

Here’s an article from Inside Higher Ed about Basic Writing being marginalized within the broader field of Composition and Rhetoric. I thought it was interesting in light of our discussion last week about the political import of Basic Writing pedagogy.

Here are the instructions for your position paper (outline due 4/14, paper due 4/28).

ENG 703 Position Paper

A reminder

Hi. Just to remind those of you who haven’t done it: please send me an email so I have your email address! My address is on the syllabus I gave you. In class on Thursday I’ll show you how to sign up for qwriting and the blog if you want to.

In the meantime, the readings for Thursday are posted — just click on the date to the left. Once you’ve read them, here’s some ideas for comments: what is one thing you learned about the history of literacy from the articles? Do you feel optimism, pessimism, or a detached neutrality about the future of literacy in the US? Why?

Don’t forget to post a comment on last week’s readings too if you haven’t. We’ll start Thursday with a continued discussion of process pedagogy before we move on to this week’s topic.

I hope that none of you went to campus Thursday night for our class, unaware that our first class had been postponed, but I fear that perhaps a few of you did, because although I tried to contact you all by email, certain addresses bounced back. So, let me apologize for that. Next Thursday, however, we will be meeting, at 6:30 pm, in Kiely 321, and I look forward to seeing you all there.

In preparation for that, please look to the left and click on the date of our first meeting: 2/10. You will find three articles that I’d like you to read before that class, all concerned with “process pedagogy” and how it came about. One of them is in a book that you will have to buy, borrow, or Google. The other two can be downloaded in pdf form by clicking on their titles.

Once you have obtained and read and mulled over these articles, I’d like you to write your thoughts as a comment on the same page (we will do this every week). Your comment can be an observation or a question or an objection or a anecdote related to the subject of the readings, it can be a response to one of your colleagues’ comments, or it can be an expression of your feelings with regards to the readings themselves. Did you find them interesting, difficult, out of date, boring, or marvelous? Two of the readings are very much out of date, by the way, since they were a part of the origins of a movement within composition pedagogy that has been going on for several decades. So let’s also talk about why it might be useful (or not) to read them now.

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