Call for Collaboration

| | Comments (7)

Let me open here with a plea to my readers (both regular and occasional) to pass this one along to anyone they imagine might be interested. Drop a link to me on your weblog, or pass it on to someone...

In the Spring semester of 2005, I'll be teaching a graduate course in our Ph.D. program (Advanced Theory and Philosophy of Rhetoric). My plan is to call my version of the course "Network(ed) Rhetorics," and to theme it around recent developments in technology and writing: weblogs, network literacies, social network theories, open source movements, et al.

But that's not all. I've been thinking about this for a while, and lately, I've accumulated a convergence of ideas that get at what I want from this course. Of course, we'll be blogging the course; I want the course itself to model the kind of network literacy that Jill Walker talks about: "writing in a distributed, collaborative environment." But it's possible to do that within a class, and I've got something broader in mind, like Ashley Benigno's idea of grid blogging:

Grid blogging aims to investigate the potentials of a distributed media production model spread across blogosphere nodes. It seeks to ignite attention on specific topics at set times through variegated voices. A kind of decentralised flash mobbing for the mind, if you like.

Douglas Rushkoff has made his Theoretical Perspectives on Interactivity course publicly available, but it still gathers everything together into a single node. Even if/when I ask the students to maintain their own blogs, my guess is that it will ultimately pattern into a hub-and-spoke configuration. One of the ways I see out of this is by multiplying hubs. Mike at wrote a couple of weeks ago about inviting others to collaborate with him on an open-source first-year composition syllabus; I'm doing the same thing here, except on the graduate level.

In other words, I'd like to find at least a few other people, at other schools and/or from other disciplines, who would be interested in grid blogging a graduate course with me/us, i.e., teaching parallel courses at other institutions and linking those courses with mine/ours. Since it's a year off yet, I don't have lots of specifics in mind (and in fact, developing them would be part of the project), but it seems to me there would be some parameters:

  • public discussion of the course materials at each site (like Rushkoff's course)
  • opportunities for collaboration across sites
  • active cross-pollination among sites
  • significant (but probably not total) overlap among course materials and scheduled dates
  • most of the course readings should be available online (and given the currency of the topics, and the fact that some of them have probably yet to be written, this shouldn't be a horrible challenge)

I've set up a separate weblog for research, planning, and discussion purposes, but it probably won't take off until summer, when I'll have time to begin this research in earnest. But if your institutions are anything like mine, schedules for 04-05 are being finalized, and this seemed like a good time to put this idea out there.

If you're interested, drop me a comment here. Even if your interest is simply in watching to see whether this idea succeeds or fails, pass this on.


Great idea. I'd jump in, but, we do not have graduate courses in English.
Nevertheless, I'm very interested in the idea. It's similiar to what I'll talk about at CCCC regarding a Techno-based Writing Center.
The blog, or web portal, seems right now to be a decent medium for this kind of work. But the writing on blogs, to me anyway, is still too print based. One of the best models of totally interactive writing I've seen is So when I think about interactive writing, I'm still thinking about what this site's users do with each other's ideas and writings.

Anyway. I'm interested in seeing how the course interaction plays out. Keep with it. I'll be watching with interest.

C, Okay. This looks interesting right here. But I'm thinking hard on "grid blogging." In reading over the description at AB's site (and the comments posted), I keep coming back to this image of me standing in front of a class and saying: "Everyone right on BRAND for fifteen minutes."

I guess my question would be about what exactly is being distributed in this distributed media model. Is it just that people are blogging on one central concept (er. . ."theme") on one given day? Maybe I'm missing something more abut grid blogging. I'm sure that I am. Can you talk a little more about how grid blogging differs from even something like theme-based freewriting writing? I know that this sounds stupid, but I don't see where the decentralization comes into play.

IOW, what's being networked and/or distributed?

I'm gonna bump your comment over to the new blog, and post on it there...

I'm doing two media related courses Spr 05 but I'm not sure they'll be advanced enough to work with your class. I'll keep an eye on what you guys are doing though.


Two comments:

* In terms of looking for others who might be interested in some kind of "grid blogging," I guess the answer from me is "perhaps" because I'm teaching at least one grad class in the Fall that is specifically about "computers and writing." It's a "teaching of writing" kind of class, but one that focuses on technology.

* I'm really interested in what you've posted here Collin, if for no other reason because I'm working on an essay based on a presentation that I gave at last year's C&W where I talk about where "blogs go wrong." A long story. But you might end up getting quoted in that essay soon enough... ;-)

Does that make me an exemplar of when "blogs go wrong," or someone who's said something useful in that event? Heh.

Or am I just being paranoid???

Since we don't really offer too many C&W courses here, Steve, there's a good chance that part of the course (a couple of weeks) will translate the work we do into some pedagogical application...more accurately, I should say I'm open to that kind of contact. Let's stay in touch about this...

hi Collin, I'm pretty sure I'll be teaching a grad seminar on digital rhetoric in spring 05 and, if so, would like to collaborate in some capacity, as you discuss on the other blog. I should know for sure if the course is a go by summer.

Leave a comment



Powered by Movable Type 4.1

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on February 10, 2004 10:32 AM.

No time for blog? was the previous entry in this blog.

The most beautiful car in the world!! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.