After having to ignore so much just to get last week's entry written and posted, I almost find this week to be lacking things for me to note and observe. Then again, just as much may have happened this week as in weeks past, but other significant demands on my time perhaps kept me from noticing. (Every time I have to write/revise for publication during the semester, I swear I'll never do it again. This has happened five times.)
In #112CWR, there was what I've come to see as the usual amount of confusion and dread toward the introduction of Mashup Scholarship, almost in parallel to the enthusiasm I still have for this unorthodox assignment. Part of my enthusiasm has to do with bias, of course. I remain enamored with the arguments of Lethem's "The Ecstasy of Influence" and Shields' Reality Hunger as well as mashup efforts like The Grey Album and Wugazi. And I still hold out hope for some kind of grand academic mashup of a disciplinary argument. However, part of the reason I ask students to put together their own academic mashups has to do with the potential of discovering just how scholarly sentences are constructed. It is my hope that by melding five different sources together into one cohesive essay students will learn a bit more about what discipline-specific writing is, if not does. So, if students see Pop Up Scholarship as a vehicle to vent about academic writing, Mashup Scholarship asks them to rise above raging against the machine and get more constructive.
What appears to be less constructive, though, are the facilitations, which have become less student-led class sessions and more a series of variant themes related to academic writing. Facilitations aren't so much group projects as a collection of individual performances about the same thing. Put simpler, #112CWR facilitations this semester tend toward mini-lectures. With just one more such session remaining, I have to be okay with this as it wouldn't be fair for me to come down on the last group with demands to do everything that previous groups might have not done. Plus, I think students often perform from prior experience, from what they know, and maybe not what's most helpful, but almost always what they perceive as easiest. If the comfortable or default setting for a facilitation is the mini-lecture, what does this say about professorial pedagogy?
In #342VS, facilitations are a bit better, with less lecture and more whole-class discussion of whatever readings I assigned that week. In some cases, these facilitations have been more media-heavy than the sessions I've led. I suspect that this often happens because students observe how I lead discussion and see what I fail to incorporate. In a way, then, #342VS facilitations build on or otherwise relate to the prior session and go from there. As a result, I think #342VS stands as a more cohesive endeavor with greater relationship between sessions each week and week to week. That each #112CWR session stands somewhat alone by contract is both interesting and troubling.
Having just begun #513DR facilitations, I'm rather impressed by students' collective abilities to conduct class without me. As primary responsibilities for guiding discussion were on two fellow students, questions fell to This is a graduate-level course, so one could conceivably make the argument that graduate students should be able to hold a session without the professor. When I did contribute to the discussions of videogames in education and amateur/professional critics online, I almost felt as though I had interrupted the proceedings. I have every intention of attending next week's session, though. With scheduled facilitations on videogames as new media/rhetoric and 4chan and the online disinhibition effect, how could I not attend?