Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bringing Legibility Back

For the first time in '07, I am writing by hand on student work. In the spring and summer, I taught exclusively online. Today, after penning notes on a short stack of two-paragraph summaries, I feel like Mark Cuban (fine, Cuban as a broke grad student)--able only to scratch together an unreadable Rorschach blot when I put the pen to the paper. My handwriting is embarrassing! I already knew I couldn't draw; now I can't even draw letters. When committee members at Prospective U. (it's the season of market preparations) say something like, "I noticed that all of your materials are typewritten. How is your handwriting?," I will resort to an end-around, by-passing the subject of handwriting (as a basic literacy andprequalifier for the professoriate?) altogether, and getting right to an answer that begins, "I can qwerty like the breeze...."

Bookmark and Share Posted by at September 5, 2007 3:20 PM to Dry Ogre Chalking

Whenever I hand back stuff with my writing on it, I have to circulate while students reading my comments, interpreting my scratching...

Posted by: susansinclair at September 5, 2007 5:51 PM

A few of the students from the course you taught this summer gave me a hard time last night because my chalking of "ranked" looked to them something more like "rawked."

Posted by: Derek at September 5, 2007 9:56 PM

Susan, word.

I just got a tablet pc and spent the evening a few nights ago writing 50 sentences that would give the computer a taste of what my writing meant. Electronic writing has "miles to go" before it catches up with me, let's just say. "EN 001/Prof. Howard" came out as "Indians / Prot. Homrd" with lots o' redlining.

Posted by: joanna at September 6, 2007 12:30 PM

V. funny, Prot. Is it a graphic tablet or one of the laptops that lets you handwrite on it? I've been eyeing a graphic tablet for a few months. Pricey and impractical (which, in part, explains the temptation). It'd be a good excuse to practice drawing every so often.

Posted by: Derek at September 7, 2007 9:45 PM

Uhhhhhh. I believe it's a graphic tablet, and yeah, pricey, but after lugging my fifteen pounder to NY, I realized that I needed something lighter if I plan (and I do plan)to bring it to school and use it as my main computer for inputting grades, etc. Not to mention traveling to New Orleans. And, like you, I'm drawn (oh, the wit of it all)to using graphic applications along with written ones.

Posted by: joanna at September 9, 2007 2:25 PM

I've never tested this response on a committee, but I always tell my students, "My bad penmanship is one of my greatest gifts to you because when you don't understand it, we'll finally have a thoughtful conversation about your writing."
Students politely laugh each time.

Posted by: Richard at September 11, 2007 2:22 PM