Feb
2012

#tools4teach

As my previous posts have indicated, February has been a busy month. Thankfully, I did get a chance to put committee work on the back-burner and make it to the Tools for Teaching Northwest Regional Showcase at UW-Eau Claire this past Friday. Looking at the schedule, nearly all of the presenters had the entire hour to themselves to share their ideas, but [and I think it’s because Twitter is so cool] I was notified that my “Teaching with Twitter: 2008-2011” would share a time slot with “The Twitter Project: Twitter & First-Year Seminars” presenter from UW-Superior.

And rather than just split the presentation into a half hour each, Mickey Fitch approached me about organizing things in a way so we could play off the commonalities in our experiences. We emailed and tweeted back and forth, with most of my content coming from the info you can read on the Twitter tab of this website, and she created the Prezi below, something I’ve been wanting to play with for a long time now.

Needless to say, this was a lot of fun and it pushed me to 1) reflect on my use of Twitter for reader responses and 2) reconsider bringing Twitter back into my online courses to create greater “virtual classroom” community. I’m going to try and write up more about this for the launch of Writing Commons, so watch this space for an announcement about that next month.

Til then, I look forward to future collaborations with Mickey and other UW tweetybirds!

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Feb
2012

stress relievers

Amidst all of the stress I just mentioned, these videos have brought me down off the email ledge & made me smile this week:

I’ve been a MIKA fan since 2007 and cannot wait for his new album!

Here’s another favorite so you can actually see him:

Oh, and very appropriate for this post, a new video for “Relax, Take it Easy”

 

And now for the best academic + 80s thing I’ve ever seen EVER:

Take the 10 minutes and go watch it NOW.

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Feb
2012

spring semester stress

When the emails started taking over my life 2 weeks before the Spring semester started, I knew this one was going to be a doozy.

I’m teaching 2 online sections of ENGL 102, 2 sections of ENGL 371 [a rhetoric course to the Tech Comm majors], and 1 online graduate course in Rhetorical Theory, also online. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention I’m directing two thesis projects.

I’m sure there are people who will read this and think that it’s a piece of cake to only have 1 face-to-face class that meets twice a week, but the reality is the more online students you have, the more prep work you have to do and the more emails you get.

But this post really isn’t about teaching. I’m doing a good job replying to discussion board posts and blog posts and grading papers in a timely manner, but I wish I had more time to focus on my teaching, not to mention my research.

The service component of this tenure track job is eating into my time more than I would like. I’m on the department Hiring Committee, chair of the Advanced Writing Committee, member of the Race, Ethnic Studies, & Global Perspectives committee as well as one of two consultants from this committee who helps approves new course proposals regarding our criteria, member of the Program Review Committee, and on the editorial board of two journals. I also have weekly meetings with the Tech Comm program faculty to discuss our growing number of undergrad majors and graduate students who are nearing the end of their program & need thesis or field project directors.

As I write this, I know that I enjoy doing all of these things, due mostly in part to liking everyone I work with, but given that I was passed over for promotion this year, I worry that I need to do even more when I’m pretty much at my breaking point!

 

 

And for some reason what causes me the most anxiety is email. Seeing the number of messages coming in every day gets my heart racing, and not in the good way. Because so many of our online students are working professionals with families, I can’t simply turn off my email at the end of the traditional business day. That’s when they are working on their course work–evenings and weekends. Well, I can turn it off but I feel bad doing so.

But when I was so exhausted on Monday afternoon that I couldn’t even make it out of bed to go to my beloved Zumba & Turbokick classes, I knew I HAD to step away from the laptop, iphone, and ipad. [I’m on my desktop writing this.]

I have a policy in all of my syllabi stating students need to reply to my emails within 48 hours so starting March 1, that’s what I’ll adhere to as well. So that’s that.

Now let me go email all of my students to tell them this…

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Feb
2012

lmfao

I know the Superbowl was nearly a week ago, but after much consideration and consulting of the AdBlitz channel on YouTube, I can now announce my favorite commercial to be…

I think it’s the “wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle yeah” that gets me! Also, is that Bebe Neuwirth voicing the brown M&M?

My other LMFAO-related point here is that while I didn’t feel they served much of a purpose during Madonna’s halftime show, their remix of her new song is fun!

 

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Feb
2012

pathos, nostalgia, and don draper

My latest post on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog:

 

You will hear more about Aristotle’s appeals in future chapters, but if you notice I’ve uploaded a document in D2L that outlines the three nicely. Regarding pathos, or the appeal to our emotions, it states,

Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.  Indeed, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb ‘to suffer’–to feel pain imaginatively….Perhaps the most common way of conveying a pathetic appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the writer are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to the reader.  Pathos thus refers to both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message on an audience, the power with which the writer’s message moves the audience to decision or action.

An example that comes to mind immediately is from Mad Men. I shared the link to this video in my comment to Jodee’s post, but wanted to create a separate space for it just in case you miss it there: http://youtu.be/suRDUFpsHus

Don’s entire presentation relies on pathos, beginning with his narrative about working for Teddy and his defining of nostalgia as “the pain from an old wound,” all the while showing slides of his own family and the memories they can now relive via the Kodak Carousel. Rather than distancing himself from a product, he’s thrown his heart into it and it works!

I’ve created a new category called “advertising” since we’re bound to make a number of references to commercials, print, and online ads this semester!

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Feb
2012

Is Blogging Dead?

Cross-posted on the Rhetorical Theory Course Blog

I started to leave a comment to respond to the final statement in Tim’s post, “Blogs have really moved beyond the mindless posts by vain teenagers, and maybe we have Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (is that even still active anymore?) to thank for that,” but then remembered that at the most recent Computers and Writing conference there was an entire session devoted to this. In essence, the panel, entitled “Is Blogging Dead? Yes, No, Other,” asked if, compared to other social media that have character limits, blogs are now the places for “the longer thoughts,” does anyone post those longer thoughts to blogs anymore since they aren’t likely to receive a response? Implied, too, is does anyone even have longer thoughts anymore? 🙂

It also helps that I’ve had the backchannel Dennis Jerz posted from it open in a Google Chrome tab since last May. I’ll talk more about backchannels and how academics use Twitter or IRC both in the classroom and at conferences another time, but it’s pretty obvious from what you see below that lots of opinions were voiced both in the room and via Twitter and I’m so glad Dennis used Storify to archive that:

Since the conference audience was made up of both bloggers and teachers who ask their students to blog, another point raised was if we assign blogs in a course, is that really blogging since it’s usually for a grade, has assigned word counts, etc. The point being, that’s not organic blogging. It’s not livejournal-esque or diary style.

Here’s my take on what we’re doing in this course blog space: Yes, your posts will receive a grade, but as MSTPC students, I hope you see blogging as an exercise that combines critical thinking with document design since, unlike the discussion forums, you  have more opportunities to react to the readings in a visually appealing way. And if you’re ever confused, please refer to the Blogging 101 handout I’ve created and ask questions!

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