We shared some of our posters in class today. This was the first time we’ve met in a month. On a side note, it was wonderful to finally see everyone in person again and not in blogs! The posters were fantastic. There were some really great ideas! On top of that, I’m really inspired by all of you guys’ (and gals’) work. My own project is finally falling together thanks to discussion I had with the wonderful people in class. And on that note, I’m copying your ideas. I’m using some ideas for courses brought up by various people. I hope you’ll take the side of Girl Talk and not sue me. :p
In all seriousness though, I just wanted to say that you people are fantastic and (as much as we’ve all been struggling) I think it’s really all coming together so well! We made a learning community, and we’re taking it with us. Isn’t that wonderful? 😀
My case study (that I’m behind in finishing; aren’t we all?) is on Brooklyn College’s WAC program. They have some -fantastic- things going on up there. I just wanted to share a few of those things that I’ve found really great. Feel free to check out their own wordpress site too. :p
- Writing Fellows – From my understanding, you could call these guys WAC ambassadors. They are a small team within the program that help various schools/courses/professors with projects. More below.
- Writing Fellows help professors develop writing assignments for classes. They also help develop rubrics and teach ways to grade writing. It’s like tutoring professors. And anyone of you that’s teaching knows how daunting it is to figure out how you’re supposed to grade work.
- Tutors at their learning center (and Writing Fellows) – they help individuals and groups. Groups! Think of a whole group from a class coming into the LC with the same paper. The tutor can help them all in a mass tutoring session. This sounds so nice as opposed to tutoring 6 people back-to-back with the same problems. Think of this like a small class workshop that offsets the professors in class lessons. Writing Fellows also offer customizable workshops for classes with topics like thesis statements, citation, and style. Soooo cool. 😀
- The LC also has FAQs on their webpage for various things. I looked through some of the pages and found things like walkthrough of certain math problems, devising thesis statements, and even ways to summarize an article. This is so great. If I just wanted a simple question answered, I’d much rather just look it up on the LC website from my own home than making an appointment at the LC and going to campus. Fan-tastic idea.
There are so many things to be learned and picked up. I have to say the biggest thing I like about WAC is collaboration. I believe that at the very core of WAC lies simply the genuine love for writing and the simple genuine desire, passion, and love of sharing that with others. Hey, sharing is caring. (Cheeeesy, I know! :P) Just wanted to share some of this with you guys since I’ve still not finished writing up my case study.
**This is a draft that I thought I had published from much earlier in the semester!**
We’re reading essays for class, and the essay my group read was “Finding the Good Argument OR Why Bother With Logic” by Rebecca Jones. The article excellently gives an overview of rhetorical devices and concepts that is understandable for anyone. Jones uses current examples to explain classic rhetorical concepts such as logos, pathos, and ethos. Her article also contains examples of activities that can be done in class to illustrate and reinforce the concepts discussed. I particularly found her thoughts on the “war metaphor” of argument intriguing. What Jones is talking about is how many people think of rhetorical argument as a war: you must beat the opponent down, destroy their ideals, and conquer them. However, rhetorical argument such as the kind taught in schools is far different from this. Teachers attempt to get students to see the opposite side of a argument, evaluate opposing statements as well as their own, and overall simply make an effective and compelling (without being offensive or degrading) argument. The war metaphor that gets tossed around really seems to muddy the waters for rhetorical argument. Give Jones’ article a read HERE and see what you think. I really enjoyed it!
Recently this summer I talked to a friend, who is enrolled in a math course. He was talking about the kinds of group work they do in class. This struck me as odd; I know I never did group work when I was taking math classes (though that was many moons ago in this English major’s life). What the professor did was go over a particular kind of problem to explain it. Then he would put the class in groups and let them work through an example problem together. Afterward, he polled the class to see how the different groups did the problems and the students could comment on each others’ work and offer how to better work the problem, or just talk their way through it together.
This was so cool! If you stretch your brain and consider math problems as a kind of sentence writing for math, then these students were doing group writing and revision. In a math class! How cool is that? I’ve never considered that peer revision could be used outside of a writing class certainly not math. WAC and WID are everywhere even when we don’t know it. This professor was having his students collaboratively learn their way through the problems and in the process also made it fun for them because they were in groups and could try to outdo the other groups. Things I’ve always considered as “englishy” things being used to effectively teach a math course. I was shocked and awed.
A fellow classmate of mine (wacrant2011) made an intriguing post a few days ago. He was shining some light on plagiarism, the dreaded enemy of academia it seems. We in academia have preached about plagiarism for years. “You will fail if you plagiarize”, “Do not copy others works without citing”, and “Plagiarism will result in an immediate ‘F’ or a ‘0’ ” are all common things heard on campuses. Here’s the problem though: most great poets are plagiarists. For example, many of Shakespeare’s plays are based on other authors works or older legends For example, have a look at the plot sections of these articles on Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and King Leer. They’re all based on someone’s work. That’s right people. If William Shakespeare were in college today, he would fail Creative Writing for plagiarizing.
However, we don’t discredit Shakespeare for this. We herald him for the way he took older texts and revamped them; he made them true masterpieces. So, if Shakespeare took older works and added to them, he remixed them. Much the way music artists today remix music. Though I don’t think any of the Italian poets Shakespeare copied would have been ready to sue him into submission. You see, traditional poetry has a history of copying, adding to, and recycling texts. Traditional poets were expected to write their own version of classical stories. How well the poet remixed it displayed his skill. We’ve lost that kind of sharing in our culture today. We make a song and it is ours. No one elses. Not even the song notes. RiP: A Remix Manifesto discusses this issue of copyrighting and legal rights among the movie/music industry. Have a look at the film (you can watch it for free) and see what you think. I think Shakespeare had the right idea. If William Shakespeare can remix a story into a time-honored masterpiece then why can’t musicians. It’s the same thing. I’m going to leave you all with some songs to listen to and consider if it’s plagiarism or creating anew from old.
Plagiarism? Reinvention? Rock and Hiphop!?