Friday, April 23, 2004

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
HTML version | PPS version | Full Speech

Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream"
HTML version | PPS version | Full Speech

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: discourse 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.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at April 23, 2004 7:28 AM to Dry Ogre Chalking