Friday, December 1, 2006

New Wine

A couple of days ago I resolved--silently--to postpone blogging until the end of qualifying exams (Dec. 21). Consider this entry a hiatus from my postponement. I've been condensing notes for the last two days, paring 24k words down to 8k, the amount I can smunch decently onto four sides of 8.5"x11" paper with a seven point font. I could drop to a 6 pt. font, but I figure there's no real need for more than the equivalent of twenty-four pages of notes when the answers I'm trying to write will each be 10-12 pages long. If all goes as planned, that is. Twelve pages spread across three hours: three...1...2...seconds...1...2...per...1...2... word. I probably shouldn't write the beats per word on the actual exam, should I? For today my notes seem adequate.

Where was I? I really only wanted to return a gratitude link to "New Media and New Literacies: Perspectives on Change," Carol Holder's New Horizons review in the latest Educause. The brief article opens with the following question: "What's it going to take to see new media, multimodal literacies, and curriculum and instructional change at colleges and universities?":

Fortunately, faculty who teach writing and are writing specialists, who help students become "literate," are in a discipline that has a long tradition of focusing research on curriculum, instruction, and the processes that lead to the development of literacy. Composition, rhetoric, and writing teachers were among the earliest adopters of computer- and Internet-based technologies in instruction, sharing results of experimental programs at conferences and in professional journals. (para. 5)

This definitely strikes a Concord given that I've been revisiting the C&W histories lately, polishing notes about Lisa Gerrard and Hugh Burns just yesterday. Generally, Holder has written an upbeat piece on change and diffusion, which also suggests some of the ways digital writing practices might productively alter the engrained patterns of conversations across disciplines. Plus, EWM gets an approving nod in the "New Wine" section. Cheers to that.

And now back to postponement, back to juicing the grapemash that is my brains six days from sitting the exams.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at December 1, 2006 5:50 PM to Academe

I've seen people use notes only sparingly in all the exams I proctored when grad. director. It was mostly to recall a name or page refs. I do remember some folks feeling sheepish about how much they tried to fit on one page and finding the small stuff almost unreadable. So I hope you won't go down to 6 point font!

Good luck--you'll do very well!

Posted by: Eileen Schell at December 3, 2006 4:19 PM

Thanks, Eileen. I'm beginning to see what you mean, that the usefulness of the notes while writing is somewhat limited. The notes are worthwhile in that producing them forces me to sift once again through all of the materials. I just went through a pair of one-hour sprints (writing toward the questions I anticipate getting on Thursday), and found that the notes were helpful only for names, dates, and titles. So I'll stick with the seven-point font and rest assured that will be good enough.

Posted by: Derek at December 3, 2006 4:34 PM