Thursday, April 15, 2004

How will I know when I'm blogging?

I'm posting my first lil' write-up on the Braddocks.  And I should beg your pardon for not asking whether anyone cares if I turn this weblog toward self-serving notes on some days (wait...nevermind...I do that every day).  Periodically, over the next few weeks, I hope to register a series of scrappy notes like this.  They're not wonderfully critical or connected; they're not aimed at any research project.  They're rather more like the solid (squiggly?) paint-lines along the highway to Syracuse's CCR program in the fall.  With that, I also confess to testing out Scribe--a free note-organizing app.  These few notes are shaping up in Scribe as a way to see how it works, whether it's worth the price.  Well, it will be.  The program works.  How well, I just can't be sure yet. One of the best parts is how it fits conveniently on my 64MB jump drive and runs from there via a USB port, making it easy to switch from home to work and back again.

I had to smile at myself more than once, chuckle, grin inside about my sense of humor in this whole experiment.  A lot of behind-the-blog antics.  A lot of tongue-in-cheek and silliness over the idea of taking myself seriously here.  It's not official, but I prefer to play around at Earth Wide Moth.  For now, I'm resistant  to poisoning my blog with responsibility; responsibility is everywhere else. 

Most of the way through Richard Braddock's essay, I decided to mix it up.  Avoid a linear reading of the honorary essays.  I pasted the table of contents into Excel, inserted a random integer formula, and sorted by the RAND() column.  Spice it up, you know? Before long, I'll create a list of my plan over in the sidebar (along with the 'About' note I've been mentioning).  And one more thing: I'm not applying a tidy, syntopical format to the essays, covering them only as Mo Adler would want me to.  Just jotting loose notes, free-associating, reacquainting with the Braddocks I've read and getting to know the ones I haven't.  That pretty well covers the who, what and why

Bookmark and Share Posted by at April 15, 2004 11:07 PM to Orange,Reading Notes

I'll be interested to see how this goes for you--obviously, my interest is vested in a couple of ways... I'm 90% sure that I'll be asking the students in my course next spring to blog in lieu of other, more traditional forms of seminar writing, and I've only started to think through how to introduce it, how heavy a hand to have with respect to format, frequency, etc. I've tried doing listservs, collective websites, etc., but never have had what I'd describe as unqualified success...


Posted by: collin at April 17, 2004 2:10 AM

I've never used listservs, but this is the first semester with a weblog in FY comp, and it's gone okay. I required two-250 word entries each week along with two comments to the posts of others. One of the entries was supposed to respond to our coursework (play through the reading and so on), while the other was set up as a sustained inquiry centered on a theme of each student's choice. The idea was that students would undertake research that they'd report to the class weblog, week by week.

I wouldn't describe this semester's weblog as an unqualified success, either. I haven't concluded what I would change, but I might shift toward a model like the double-entry journal where students respond to a brief passage they select from the assigned reading. From there, I would probably propose more frequent comments--one entry and three comments per week, perhaps, so that students are interacting more. The 2:2 ratio left us with so many entries in the course weblog that it's been hard to keep up with the posts and the comments often felt buried. I'd like to see the comments used more for discussion in the future.

As for the Braddocks, the project already feels a bit sloppy. It's more a matter of pacing versus polish; I want to read the essay, get down some notes, and move on. But the essay on revision really deserved to be read again before slapping up these notes. Of course, it's that nagging compulsion toward perfection and completion that I'm trying to avoid.

Posted by: Derek at April 18, 2004 10:55 PM