light-hearted and all about linguistic play.It is from Pop Up Video and Howard that I drew inspiration for "Pop Up Scholarship," a three-part writing and speaking sequence that asks students to engage in a dialogue with a particular text. "Pop Up Scholarship" suggests students not only make note of discursive features but also amend and comment on their selected text(s). Doing so emphasizes Bakhtin's work on dialogism and that, as Helen Rothschild Ewald paraphrases in her chapter contribution to Landmark Essays on Advanced Composition, "all discourse is a response" (88). It also stresses reader creativity in the act of meaning making, encouraging abandonment of "the notion that the text is the sole, even primary, repository of meaning in written discourse" (88). As a past student explained in their reflective essay, "By doing this assignment, not only did we learn about different types of articles, but we also learned about our own writing in general."In past courses, this assignment occurred later in the semester, often marking the point at which students were more familiar with the discursive practices associated with their major fields of interest and study. While this made it easier for students to articulate such practices to colleagues, I now think it might be more beneficial to introduce "Pop Up Scholarship" earlier and sustain such engagement throughout the semester. Rather than suggesting students follow some formulaic method of annotation, I think this assignment has the potential for greater worth, advocating instead a more individual and unique way of interacting and understanding sources academic and otherwise. I also plan to make various and sundry amendments to "Pop Up Scholarship," tailoring it more or less to first-year, advanced and technical writing students as I think all could benefit from this kind of reflective research engagement. To eliminate any confusion, though, I present an overview of the assignment as it existed for my ENG 112 Critical Writing & Reading course at the University of Michigan-Flint:
Pop Up ScholarshipBy engaging in “Pop Up Scholarship,” students will:
• work in greater detail with a major piece of writing in their field of study
• showcase awareness of discursive practices within that field of study
• present knowledge to an audience of colleagues
• reflect on these discursive practices (perhaps even draw some comparisons)Part 1
At this point in the semester, you should have some knowledge of the discursive practices associated your major field of study. In order to demonstrate this to your instructor and to your colleagues, choose a recent article from a journal/magazine oriented to your major field of study. After conversion from .pdf to .doc (or a simple cut & paste action), go under the Tools menu in Microsoft Word and select “Track Changes.” Go through the entire document as you would in peer review. In other words, make observations on format/style, ask questions oriented to the text/field of study, delete unnecessary sentences, insert new sentences and be sure to give justification for all changes. Track/insert at least 3-5 changes/comments per page and insert a brief end comment after the concluding paragraph.Part 2
Upon completion of Part 1, use it as a basis for developing a presentation on particular discursive practices within your major field of study. How you present the information is up to you. Possibilities include a walkthrough of the “track-changed” document or a more conventional collection of bulleted points. Make sure to have some conclusions about the nature of the discursive practices in your major field of study, if you see any problems or if you think all disciplines should adopt them (and why).Part 3
Having finished your PowerPoint presentation and been an audience for others, compose a piece of writing in which you reflect further on not only the discursive practices within your own major field of study but also the discursive practices of others. Ask yourself about similarities and/or differences and what this might reveal about the very nature of academic discourse. Think as well about whether or not you look forward to writing in such a style/format and if/how this will change the way you currently compose.
More than two years ago, I submitted a book chapter for The Computer Culture Reader, an edited collection to be published by Cambridge Scholars Press. Entitled "The Personal as Public: Identity Construction/Fragmentation Online," my chapter addressed Kenneth Gergen's concept of multiphrenia, a new pattern of self-consciousness itensified by the increasing “number and variety of relationships in which we are engaged, potential frequency of contact, and expressed intensity of a relationship” (The Saturated Self 61). Part of my argument involved taking as fact that we are all the more engaged in multiphrenia because of the multiplication of computer-assisted modes of communication. Because of this, self-awareness is not so much necessary as it is inseparable from the very formation of online identity.
Furthermore, the wide variety of interactive possibilities afforded by online communicative technologies make the creation and maintenance of identity a kind of lens through which we may sharpen focus upon particular aspects of our selves. As Sherry Turkle in Life on the Screen observes, all online activities are embodied by personal beings engaged in "our cultural work in progress" (177). Any genre-specific online act is a continual exercise in identity construction, a consistent, perhaps even repetitive, creation of boundaries both real and virtual.
Blogging, the ultimate focus of my chapter, constitutes such an act. It is an opportunity for simple self-expression and a context for discovering who we are and wish to be (Turkle 184). My ultimate aim, then, was to illuminate and complicate this act by emphasizing how blogging fragments and even limits identity construction, and also how such fragmentation holds the potential for greater honesty in our online endeavors. In other words, the fragmentary aspects of constructing and maintaining online identity was something to be embraced rather than feared. This is because the many opportunities afforded by various online communicative technologies like blogging involve the externalization of multiple selves on the screen.
With near-infinite amount of space in which to do so, we can put as much or as little of our selves online as we desire and in as many different ways as we need or want. The Internet encourages identity multiplication, making for the sort of society in which the very concept of multi-identities is valorized (Identity, Culture and the Postmodern World, Madan Sarup, 142). Blogging, and other online communicative technologies, is therefore more than "a space for growth" (Turkle, 263) and, instead, a vital part of the continual exercise in identity construction online and offline.
I created this blog more than six months before writing for that chapter for The Computer Culture Reader, as evidenced by earlier entries, most of which were part of a graduate-level course with Dr. Kris Blair at Bowling Green State University. Rather than delete them, I decided to keep them in this space as a reminder of where I was and just what I want to do here in the future, writing not only about composition pedagogy, rhetoric and technology but also about music mixes and video games. You, dear reader, are more than welcome to come along for the ride.