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 vitia.org 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.