Dependence

"While teachers may desire to describe themselves as 'expressivist' or 'post-process' or even 'traditionalist,' the pedagogies we actually deploy should depend not only on our own deeply held beliefs, theories, and philosophies, but also on those of our students" (738-739).

--Paul Lynch, "Composition as a Thermostatic Activity"

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Dependence

"While teachers may desire to describe themselves as 'expressivist' or 'post-process' or even 'traditionalist,' the pedagogies we actually deploy should depend not only on our own deeply held beliefs, theories, and philosophies, but also on those of our students" (738-739).

--Paul Lynch, "Composition as a Thermostatic Activity"

Hospitality

"Hospitality therefore encourages a changed view of the teacher: not essentially as an expert offering wisdom to nescients, nor a coach training students to play a game, nor an adept helping students through the gates of the academic or discourse community, nor a proponent or advocate of a postion such as men's or women's rights. The teacher may or may not be any of these things, but will always be a co-sharer with unknown arrivants of an ad-hoc community in which the teacher, as host, offers ease--ease with the unique lives and beliefs of strangers" (716).

--Janis Haswell, Richard Haswell, and Glenn Blalock, "Hospitality in College Composition Courses"

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Responsibility

"Those of us who argue for improving access to higher education must take seriously the research on who persists and who does not. Even those composition scholars who do not count access as a priority should consider their responsibilities to the students in their classroom who will not graduate" (679).

--Pegeen Reichert Powell, "Retention and Writing Instruction: Implications for Access and Pedagogy"

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inviting adoxography

One of the three new courses I'm responsible for guiding this fall is ENG 298 Analysis & Criticism of Video Games. With equal focus on playing and research as reading and writing, and Frans Mayra's Introduction to Game Studies as a primary text, I intend the course to be an introduction to the myriad kinds of writing about video games, including commentary, history, news and reviews. An exploration of past, present and future issues within video games, I envision 298 as a course engaging students on multiple levels and one such offering is in the form of achievements.

Academic courses and video games share a similarity here in that rewards and success were once marked by very few, namely the instructor/designer and the student/player. The introduction of achievements, though, with the next-gen consoles made for an enhanced gaming experience, one that could be better acknowledged by and made public to others. Given the focus of 298, I thought it appropriate to create achievements complementary to the course. In no way are these tied to extra credit or anything like that. Just like video-game achievements, ENG 298 achievements are for the purposes of personal pride. All students will earn some achievements, but I'm curious to see if any go the distance.

I should also mention that I cannot take credit for every achievement listed. Those marked with an asterisk were either lifted from here or were suggested by a colleague or friend. With the start of the semester about six weeks away, I welcome any/all additional suggestions, too.

Achievement is My Middle Name: Earn all achievements.

Bloggery: Set up a Blogger account.

Bloggorhea: Make 100 or more quality posts and/or comments on other people's blogs.*

By Any Other Name: Refer to Dr. Schirmer by his gamertag in three different class sessions.

Citation Mastery: Submit a Works Cited page that is 100% correct in MLA format.*

Console Commando: Log at least 20 hours of playtime on at least three current consoles (DS, PS3, PSP, Wii and/or Xbox 360).*

Extremes Annoy Me: Avoid fanatical discourse in all work.

Finish Them!: Complete all assignments on time.

Googly-Eyed: Set up a Google Docs account, including a "Share with Others" invitation.

Plays Well With Others: Log at least 20 hours of playtime with a classmate outside of class.

Rave Reviewer: Make 100 or more helpful comments on a classmate's work.*

Research Renegade: Submit a draft referencing at least 6 peer-reviewed, academic journal articles.*

Seriously Good At This: Earn highest marks for the course.

Sesquipedalian: Write a piece using at least 30 words from this list. Must be used in context and make sense.*

Speaking Centered: Make and keep at least two speaking appointments at the Marian E. Wright Writing Center.

Speedrun!: Submit three pieces at least 24 hours prior to ultimate deadline.

Still Alive: Earn a passing mark for the course.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen: Work with at least one other student on a project.*

The Meatbag Speaks Without Clarity: Submit an incomplete piece for review.

The Status Is That It Sucks: Provide constructive criticism on at least five pieces.

Timing is Everything: Complete an oral presentation in an exact 10 minutes.*

Twitterpated: Set up a Twitter account, including a profile picture and mobile phone access.

Wake Up And Smell The Ashes
: Identify at least five achievement titles with their respective games.

We Are Moved To Tears By The Size Of This Thing: Exceed minimum requirement on a piece by at least 800 words.

Word Counter: Turn in a draft with an exact 1000 words, excluding heading/works cited.*

Writing Centered: Make and keep at least four writing appointments at the Marian E. Wright Writing Center.

Hospitality

"Hospitality therefore encourages a changed view of the teacher: not essentially as an expert offering wisdom to nescients, nor a coach training students to play a game, nor an adept helping students through the gates of the academic or discourse community, nor a proponent or advocate of a postion such as men's or women's rights. The teacher may or may not be any of these things, but will always be a co-sharer with unknown arrivants of an ad-hoc community in which the teacher, as host, offers ease--ease with the unique lives and beliefs of strangers" (716).

--Janis Haswell, Richard Haswell, and Glenn Blalock, "Hospitality in College Composition Courses"

Responsibility

"Those of us who argue for improving access to higher education must take seriously the research on who persists and who does not. Even those composition scholars who do not count access as a priority should consider their responsibilities to the students in their classroom who will not graduate" (679).

--Pegeen Reichert Powell, "Retention and Writing Instruction: Implications for Access and Pedagogy"

Potential

"Composition classrooms can provide a context not only for talking about different literacies, but also for practicing different literacies, learning to create texts that combine a range of modalities as communicative resources: exploring their affordances, the special capabilities they offer to authors; identifying what audiences expect of texts that deploy different modalities and how they respond to such texts" (643).

--Cynthia Selfe, "The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing"

music monday: updated fulfillment

A while back, I presented a track list for a five-year-old mixtape, one comprised of artists and bands I had, to that point, experienced live as well as ones missed. Rather self-conscious of how questionable my taste in music was then, the mix I present today is an updated of the 'fulfillment' aspect of that prior offering. As explained below, I waited for years to see some groups live, enduring lost and missed opportunities, having to be content with the latest studio release and my own imagination. I am quite thankful for those years having passed.

Fulfillment

"Venus in Furs" - Devotchka
This was one of two bands included on this mix that I saw at the now-defunct Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small bar/microbrewery/live music venue wholly appropriate for the performance given. The track beginning this mix was one of the newer (and spookier) songs played that night and, given my appreciation for the Velvet Underground, I appreciated the take.

"Squalor Victoria" - the National
This was one of three bands included on this mix that I saw at the stellar Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, Michigan. Having had Boxer on the turntable for many months, it was with great anticipation that my girlfriend and I attended the National's performance. What I found most surprising was Matt Berninger's intensity toward the end of this song. The veins popping out on his forehead and neck were visible even from the balcony as he screamed the song's title, staggering about the stage as if possessed.

"Deep Blue Sea" - Grizzly Bear
Daniel Rossen prefaced this song in concert with a few shy words about how his father never saw the ocean, which inspired Rossen to perform and record it for him. And while the performance of "Deep Blue Sea" did not conclude in a fashion similar to how the studio recording ends, the overall show did.

"Batcat" - Mogwai
Ever since I heard "Christmas Steps" on a three-disc compilation celebrating ten years of Matador Records, I've had a burning desire to experience Mogwai live. Not many bands have such emotional and physical impact upon me, and without lyrics no less. They did not disappoint when performing at the Crofoot earlier this year, including a good offering of new and old songs, though not "Christmas Steps." Still, I am a little closer to dying happy.

"Eddie Vedder" - Local H
Scott Lucas looked at me with bewilderment when I explained that I had been waiting to see Local H live since As Good As Dead. "What took you so long?" he asked. I don't recall my response, but the reasons over the years are myriad, including lack of money, time and transportation. No longer lacking in those areas is perhaps one of the greater perks of getting older.

"I Am Goodbye" - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
While not a live recording, this track is an accurate capture of Will Oldham and friends' performance a couple months back at the Crofoot. Even older, more morose tunes had an upbeat injection, often with Oldham banging his left foot on the floor as he leaned forward to croon into the microphone.

"Let's Not Pretend (To Be New Men)" - Crooked Fingers
Though my preference is for the live, piano version, this remains a favorite, and I recall badgering Eric Bachmann after a solo show about when it would see a studio recording and release.

"John Allyn Smith Sails" - Okkervil River
Whenever I hear this track, I cannot help but think of how the drummer mouthed the entire opening as Will Sheff sang alone. How tension in the song built was evident in the movements of every band member, including the Wrens' Charles Bissell, who was on his toes until the break into "Sloop John B."

Conundrum

"The real problem is this: Students know that professors must read their papers, no matter how poorly they might be written, how irrelevant their cited examples, or how 'uncollegiate' their content. Poor writing persists because students know that professors are obligated to suffer through endless garbage in hopes of finding something salvageable. They are well aware that many professors will highlight their papers' weaknesses and then allow rewrites, and that some professors will accept nonwritten extra-credit projects to improve their final grades. In short, students know there are usually ways to avoid putting forth a gallant effort on a paper."

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