Queued up for carrying along to U Louisville’s Watson Conference next week, Thursday.
We invite proposals for the 2016 WIDE-EMU Conference, a free, one-day event on October 15, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Please help us circulate the call widely. The complete call and details about the conference are online at https://sites.google.com/site/wideemu16/.
Phase 1–Propose–has just begun and continues through August 31. We are asking for proposals that will respond to the conference’s framing question: What does writing want?
As you will see on the web site and proposal submission form, we’re asking for titles/ideas for three kinds of presentations:
- Talk: much like a typical conference presentation, only short-form. Propose a brief paper, a roundtable discussion, a panel, etc. Individual talks should not exceed ten minutes.
- Do: a demonstration or a workshop. Propose a session focused on the “how to” related to a software application or pedagogical approach.
- Make: produce something (or the beginning of something). Propose a session in which participants will “make” a web site, a lesson plan, a manifesto, a syllabus, etc.
During Phase 2–Respond–we’ll be asking proposers to expand their proposed ideas with something online to share ahead of the face to face meeting on October 15. What exactly this “something online” looks like is highly flexible: a blog entry, a slidedeck, a podcast, a video, etc. You could also think of this as a teaser or a preview for your session and a few of its key provocations.
The face-to-face conference will be on October 15, 2016 at Eastern Michigan University. We will announce the featured plenary speaker/activity later this summer.
Please visit the site at https://sites.google.com/site/wideemu16/, submit a proposal, and plan to attend. If you have any questions about the proposal process or the conference itself, please reach out to Derek Mueller at email@example.com. We hope to see many of you of this fall.
I jetted into Paris earlier today (a skyroad begun in Detroit and continued after a brief layover in NYC) for the Writing Research Across Borders Conference at Paris Ouest La Défense. Time changes meant six hours evaporated as I arrived in Paris at 1 p.m. local time, what felt like 7 a.m. EST. Factoring in that it was a red-eye spent in Air France coach, my body’s “felt like” time was even earlier and later: WTF Standard Time. And now it is both 6:30 p.m. local time and 12:30 p.m. back home. Time for supperlunch (no, I won’t be asking for supperlunch at a restaurant, unless, maybe that’s a Fr. word?)
The conference is fully underway, but I didn’t make it to the hotel until 2 p.m., and by then it was clear I would arrive late to the conference’s afternoon sessions even if I hoofed (or subwayed…still figuring out how that works) directly to Paris Ouest. Instead I followed what I could on Twitter, unpacked, and figured out the few streets I wanted to follow to go looking for bearings. Fitbit doesn’t know we’re in Paris, France, so we attempted to walk off some of the jet lag along the 8.4 km mapped here.
Here are a few of the things I walked past.
And noticed: so much dog shit on the sidewalks; newsstands selling paper publications; two kids playing on top of plastic garbage bins near the park, one stopping to “pay the water bill” publicly; two different passers-by who politely asked me in French for help or directions or if I was having a good day or, truthfully, I have no idea. I tried to say something like, “Pardon, no francais,” but neither of them waited the ten minutes it would have taken me to figure out such an elaborate response.
Above all, the brief tour on foot reassured me with an orienting sense that I almost always lack when landing in conference city I haven’t been to before. Now that I am clearer about space and direction, I suspect the next several hours will be devoted to re-harmonizing with time.
The WIDE-EMU 2012 countdown widget ticked to single digits earlier today, which means I’m past due–delinquent!–with the Phase II teaser for a session called “Clocking Composition: Exploring Chronography with Timeline JS.” My co-presenters, Joe and Jana, have written smartly about what we have planned, and when we met a couple of weeks ago, we decided the Phase II piece may as well be a timelinear representation of the conference program, which is what we’ve created, since I would be working on the ordinary program, anyway.
I’m more or less pleased with the result. I suppose I’ve tempered my enthusiasm because I’m still learning quite a bit about Timeline JS, figuring out whether it’s better to tune style in-line or adjust it in the CSS files. Earlier today, for example, I asked a colleague to check out the time-lined version of the program and much of the text on the landing page was clipped, unreadable. I adjusted, and the new version should scale more elegantly to smaller screens, but, well, these are the nuances that take more time to get to know. I plan to continue experimenting with Timeline JS this fall in part because we”ll be using it for a project in ENGL505 soon.
Before next Saturday’s conference, I need to duplicate enough copies of the Timeline JS sandbox files (basically create about 10-12 .html pages and create the openly editable Google spreadsheets that will feed into each of them) and figure out the best way to make these accessible during the session. I doubt we’ll dig too deeply into how to set this up on a server or why to consider abandoning Google spreadsheets for JSON, but I suppose we can drift in these or other directions as suits all who attend next week.
Nothing against St. Louis, Mo., but when–around Friday afternoon–light rain made the streets smell like sweatsock-funk, a few of us speculated that the arch really is a giant’s clipped toenail. No, no, it’s marvelous beyond that: a giant’s clipped toenail fitted with an elevator inside. Blame the odor on the pollen, on the trees being in full bloom fall-veg-detritus-rotting, or on the mighty Mississippi’s effervescence. Credit it to whatever you want and in the meantime plug your nose. No need to plug it forever; it’s fine to breathe again when you come to the ten story cross in Effingham made of blessed and corrugated aluminum sheeting.
I had a great CCCC. So many friends to catch up with, so many great conversations. Proud of how EMU students represented. Proud of the smarts and investment shown by the EM-Journal team. Proud of how Ivo Baltic and his Bobcats went toe-to-toe with basketball giant UNC on Friday evening. I damn close to wept with joy when Ohio surged late in the game and I got to see all the UNC fans next to me in Section 138 Row 22 biting their nails, holding each other’s sweaty hands, looking like they’d encountered a real bobcat in the wild.
The ticket would’ve allowed me to stick around, but I skipped the NC State-KU game and instead walked to Bridge with a few colleagues, enjoyed a sour and an IPA, hummus and tapenade, smoked paprika popcorn that was too salty but ate it anyway.
Went to more sessions than I expected to this week:
- *Wed. evening, Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
- *Thur., A. Digital Pedagogy Posters
- *B.20 Technology and Histories of Composition Studies
- D.29 Gateways into the Disciplines: Navigating Different Disciplinary Contexts to Support Writing Across Campus
- E.Feat. Gateways to Leadership: A Reflective Roundtable on Opportunities within NCTE and CCCC
- TSIG.1 Retired Faculty in Rhetoric/Composition/Writing Studies
- Fri., G.Feat. Technologizing Funk/Funkin Technology: Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book as a Gateway to a Black Digital Rhetoric
- H.13 Latour and Rhetoric: Kairos, Contingency, Techne
- I.Feat. “This Stuff Hasn’t Changed Much in 2500 Years, Has It?”: Rhetorical Terms in an Attention Economy
- J.03 MA Programs in Rhetoric and Writing as Sites of Transition and (Trans)Formation
- *K.31 Think-tank for Newcomers: Developing Papers and Sessions for 2013
- L.18 Everyone Knows This is Nowhere: Writing in the Musical Age
- M.7 Computational Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
Stars mark the sessions where I had some sort of speaking or leadership role. I have quite a bit more to say about several of the sessions, but I also face the inevitable workswell–a sheer ccccliff–that follows from several days of being online less than usual because who can afford in-room internet: advising emails, an online course to get caught up in, a batch of deep definition essays from graduate students, an article revision due 3/30. Plus, I drove both to and from St. Louis and the Element suffered an effed windshield wiper late last night, so I feel a bit road-weary today and also need to get over to Advanced Auto Parts for a replacement blade. Maybe around the mid-late part of the week I’ll crawl back through my notes and elaborate on some of what I learned at the various sessions, or maybe not. I left St. Louis both exhausted and energized, which is in my eight or ten trips to the conference as much as one can hope for.
Here’s my brief teaser for phase two of the upcoming WIDE-EMU Conference. I’ve titled my short talk, “The Hyper-Circumference of Effectiveness in 3..2..1.. FTL Jumps.” Since the teaser-trailer is right here for viewing, there’s no need for me to say much more about it. I was impressed that Google’s auto-transcript (beta) process translated “hyper-circumference” as “high pressure conference,” though, as if it’s some kind of auto-complete algorithm tapped straightaway into the deep recesses of my WIDE-EMU subconscious. Or, maybe I was never really thinking about hyper-circumference in the first place. Jump!
Added: Just noticed the translation calls Burke’s 1978 essay something like “Questions and Answers about the Pant Ad.”
We’ve concluded the first phase of the WIDE-EMU Conference—Propose, which yielded 38 proposals from 56 conference participants. Proposals arrived from four states (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky), fourteen colleges or universities, two high schools, and three National Writing Project sites. The planning team met via Google Hangout yesterday afternoon to discuss Phase Two and delegate various tasks to prepare for the October 15 unconference. For example, we will contact all participants soon with an explanation of Phase Two, provide examples of the online pieces due between now and Oct. 1, and draft a schedule for the day of the event.
We also looked at the summary data from the form-fed Google Spreadsheet. The automatic tallies helped us quickly plot the number of rooms we will need. The spreadsheet summary isn’t as of yet especially easy to share online, but here are cropped sections representative of the graphic elements.
The last graph shows when the proposals arrived. I speculated that the graph probably follows a law of calls (for conferences or CFPs), and Bill pointed out that in the final 36 hours we received the same number of proposals we’d received since we opened the call. So that would suggest the number of proposals in the final x days equals the number of proposals in the final x hours (there are barriers operating here, e.g., the number of proposals received in the last 1 day are not equal to the number received in the final 1 hour; the function remains murky). I don’t know of any other public datasets on proposal submission distributions in time, though, so somebody will either have to point me to those or we’ll have to wait until the next WIDE-EMU Conference to run the experiment. Come to think of it, for how much is made of acceptance rates, it would be interesting to see acceptance rates cross-referenced with the proposal influx, wouldn’t it?
Law of calls or not, that’s the latest.
I saw the announcement about Google Calendar’s appointment slots feature a little more than a week ago, and the various reports of its availability reassured me it was being rolled out gradually. Until yesterday’s CNET report, though, I didn’t realize the reason I wasn’t seeing the feature had to do with viewing my calendar as four weeks at a time. The appointment slots feature showed up when I switched to the weekly view.
The spring term is winding down such that I don’t have much occasion right now to use this for scheduling office hours, but I will definitely give it a try in the fall. Just in tinkering around with it for a few minutes yesterday, I learned that the appointments are exceedingly easy to schedule, that the notifications are prompt, and that appointments, once scheduled, show up on the Mozilla calendar I use offline (and for keeping multiple calendars in one place). That it’s built into a system I already use for my calendar makes it a better option than Tungle.me, which I tried this spring term. Trouble with Tungle.me is that I don’t think to update it, and I don’t do enough to push students in its direction for appointment-making. Selecting one of Google’s appointment slots requires the scheduler to have a Google account, though, whereas Tungle.me’s appointments can be booked without signing up for an account. I remain undecided about the magnitude of this difference and will have to watch whether it makes any difference in the fall.
The appointment slots feature also gets me thinking about integrations for our University Writing Center, which has not yet adopted a booking system for writing consultations. We’re not there yet, but it would be ideal if we could create a scheduling system built on the Google Calendar API that would rival WCOnline.
My first CCCC was in Atlanta, 1999. I was an MA student at the time, and UMKC provided a generous, competitive stipend to two students who would attend the conference and return to lead a colloquium of sorts on the experience. Thus, traveling to Atlanta for the first time in over a decade lent to this go-round a strongly felt personal call for reflection, blinks of memory, and quite a bit of thought about the living I’ve done during that interval (from adoption, marriage, and parenting to a PhD, cross-country moves, and settling into EMU). Last week’s conference, while all Atlanta, was mostly 2011, but it was also a little bit 1999. (This would be a fine place for a complaint about the hotel wifi, no?)
- the Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists
- enough of Opening General Session to hear Gwen Pough’s address
- my own share of the A/B poster session
- a Marriott lunch with several friends and colleagues
- D.38 The Future Anterior of Rhetoric: Potentials For Rhetorics Built on Material Relations
- a Syracuse faculty/alumni/student event
- I.04 Texas Topoi and the other Common-Places: The Importance of Writing Geographies
- J.37 Contesting Methodological Boundaries in Rhetoric and Writing Research
- as an information technologies area facilitator, L.21 Think-Tank for Newcomers Developing Papers and Sessions for CCCC 2012
- M.34 Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students
- and the roundtable I was a part of: N.30 A Department in Exile: The Challenges of Contested Spaces and Roles
I was present at something for eight of the fourteen alphabetized session slots, and I was involved with presenting or taking a leaderly role in half of those (as poster presenter, roundtabler, and think tank facilitator). This means I was a member of the audience in just four out of the approximately 450 sessions, or 1% of them. A tiny slice, as samples go.
I have no idea whether this snapshot is typical, or even whether it is useful to think of the CCCC experience as potentially typical. In 1999 I was in the audience for twice as many sessions and I enjoyed far fewer unplanned conversations than I had last week. In 1999 I ate alone a few times; I ate alone just twice this time (both breakfasts, waxed bags of some Starbucks pastry on the go). I didn’t experience the conference as cliquish in 1999, exactly, but neither did I grasp what I was missing out on or feel all that deeply concerned for whether I was missing out on something. That was true this time, as well. I missed a handful of sessions I would have liked to attend. I missed connecting with several friends and former colleagues I would have liked to visit with for a few minutes. Maybe next year.
On the drive home from Atlanta to Ypsilanti, I read Alex’s “#cccc11 Conference Thoughts,” and I share some of his concerns related to sustainability, especially along the lines of what’s worth keeping (or attending to yet again), what’s worth shedding, and how can a conference with a singular (if too heavily played) theme each year achieve a balance suited to such a vast range of attendee interests and motives. In other words, for the conference to have something for everyone, the program must anticipate demographic segments that are not-me (by institution type, history at the conference, teaching-research balance, research agenda, etc.). That is, most of the CCCC–true, too, of any comprehensive national conference–will not on paper appear to be a fit with any individual’s interests. Add to this the banding together that operates both in paneling up and in audience migration according to schools of thought, favorite theorists, and other varieties of kinship (e.g., friendship, graduate cohorts, home institution), and the result is an unavoidably segmented conference experience. I’m not sure whether there is an easy solution for this, but neither have I ever followed through on the thought I’ve had a time or two to randomly generate a personal conference itinerary. Maybe next year.
What can I say about the panels I attended? I heard some papers I found thoughtful and incisive and others that left me deeply dissatisfied (that said, I count myself productively dissatisfied in such cases). The N.30 roundtable was the only session I attended in which everyone involved used some sort of projectable (i.e., a movie or slidedeck). A couple of panels stretched time’s seams to the limit, but that is not altogether uncommon. Of the entire conference experience, the poster session is the one that left me reeling the most: I probably had 30 conversations with all variety of faculty and graduate students from a great range of programs. Even more: many of these were with people I was meeting for the first time; people I might not have encountered otherwise. I’ve never experienced this degree of engagement in any other conference venue ever, and it leaves me thinking seriously about preparing and carrying in a poster in future years.
A couple of questions I am thinking about now? From D.38, What does new materialism allow us to do (differently)? From I.04, To what extent does school of thought rostering produce territorialization? And, What else implicates (or doesn’t) a city’s rhetoricity? And, What was the name of the play with Shit, the dog? From J.37, What makes surfacing decidable for a researcher? And, How much context is enough (when enlarging contexts)? And, To what extent is correctable black-boxing turning to verbal references for relief from self-evidentiary or natural-appearing visuals? And more.
In anticipation of next year, I don’t have a clear direction yet for a panel. I am considering developing a solo proposal related to an article I am working on. I’ve also taken on certain responsibilities with the Master’s Degree Consortium, and then another poster makes sense considering how this year’s went.
My CCCC talk from last Thursday:
Our panel, D.24, was relatively well attended. I printed 30 handouts, and we probably had an audience with that many people or a few more. Bradley has posted his presentation already. Alex may well do the same soon. We talked on Wednesday afternoon over a late lunch about whether or not we would put them online, and we easily agreed that web traffic for presentations like these generates far more exposure to the ideas than the conference venue alone. Feels like a case of pointing out the nose-on-face obvious (will this video get 30 views?), but there are a couple of different discussions this week on WPA-L, a rhetoric and composition listserv/variety hour, about problems fairly typical at national conventions: crowded, over-attended sessions and their opposite, the one-member-audience (a generous friend or colleague, no doubt). Whether the fire marshal was turning late-comers away at the door or whether the carpet mites were the only audience on hand to listen and ask questions, why not post the talk?
A couple of other points: We remixed our talks, delivering them in turn, three by three. The Q&A was terrific; we took several questions and enjoyed thoughtful conversation for the last 30 minutes of the session. Finally, all questions, ideas, suggestions, and insights are welcome in the comments or via email.