Extreme Makeover: Discourse

I didn’t intend to post this morning, but the latest entry at datacloud
jogged my thoughts about EN106, which is winding to conclusion.  Winding.

EN106ers commandeered the course two weeks ago; they organized, mobilized,
demanded an opportunity to take the PowerPoint sequence one step farther by siphoning
two speeches of historical import into slideshows.  It wasn’t my plan; I
was thinking our last bit of work would be a research plan: a research question
or prospectus, a five-source annotated bibliography, and a critical review of
one source.  But, like so many good Pirates, they accepted my early-term
insistence that they make the course their own, took over, put their plans for
the last coursework ahead of my own. 

We switched into groups for the speech conversion activity; they worked in
clusters to remake Ursula LeGuin’s "A Left-Handed Commencement
Address," and Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech
into PowerPoint shows (admitting, along the way, that such gross reductions felt
irresponsible).  Their essays–due Tuesday–are framed loosely as critiques
of the process, critiques of the other group’s work at identifying key bits in
the speeches.  Here are their shows, if you’re interested. 

Ursula LeGuin, "A Left-Handed Commencement Address
| Full

Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream"
| Full

If I did this again, I would build in a round of peer response–some kind of
interchange and revision for polishing the shows (this part of the process was
left off due to time constraints in the semester).  The best part of the
sequence was our class session the other day when we started to talk about the
process by borrowing the premise of the extreme makeover programs on television
lately.  We had a good time working through the transformation in light of
the mad-dash grab-n-fix that is so popular on the tube. The Extreme makeover:
trope was fun and seemed to be an incredibly rich pop culture
pass-card toward theorizing what PowerPoint does–and in ways we didn’t
appreciate as fully when we worked from the smattering
of articles

Students are in their last
week of compulsory blogging
.  I told them they could turn a critical
eye on the semester if they wanted to, contemplate what’s happened since
January, open up about forced blogging, our pace, workload and focus for the
semester of study. Many of the students are doing just that.