teaching: May 2007 Archives

ye olde workshoppes

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For some reason, I find myself at the end of the semester awash in workshops, organizing three in the space of about a week. The first was last week, but not much preparation was required, since I've been doing our end-of-year session on the job market almost every year I've been at Syracuse. I did put together a new handout for everyone, though, with a condensed job search timeline and a list of possible dossier ingredients. In the past, that material has been shared with the seniormost folks, but not the general public.

(I should explain that the session takes place in 2 halves: the first is for the whole program, and we ask those who have been on the market to share their experiences and advice; the second is only for those on the market in the upcoming year, and we go over the process, organize summer meetings, etc.)

It's a hard sell, for all of us, I fear. Now more than any other time of the year, things are winding down, and it's difficult to reverse that mindset, and to think in terms of a year-long process of searching for a position that begins right now (the search, that is, not the positions).

My other workshops are actually a pair, today and Thursday, which combine with a couple hours of reading to function as a "mini-seminar," which is how part of our professional development process works round these parts. There are a couple of them this week and next that count towards next year's requirements, so they're "early bird" sessions of a sort that also function to benefit those early birds who have taken care of their grading by this point.

Anyhow, today's session was on del.icio.us, and I could have taken another full hour just to cover the ground that I'd planned. What with the "perpetual beta" and all, it's not simply a matter of walking in and filling two hours. I needed to reacquaint myself with some features that I don't use, see what was new, and I ended up putting together a 4-page handout with URLs and reference points for the material I covered.

One point that came to mind during the session that I didn't mention the other day in my little RSS rant (RSS is one of the topics for Thursday), and that's that another of the real values of online journals, and of print journals that make an effort to 2.0-ize their web presence. Although not alot of folk have started using it this way yet, one of the things that our site does is to make permalinks available for each article, which allows users to bookmark them in del.icio.us, CiteULike, etc. (without waiting for 5 years, or whatever JStor's moving wall is). It also means that you can link to CCC articles in online syllabi or bibliographies, although again, not many folk are using the site that way yet.

And these are among the ways that the CCCOA is itself working with Web 2.0 attitudes. I asked today's workshoppers to read O'Reilly's original essay, and there were two things that jumped out at me on this, my umpteenth reading. The first was the emphasis that he places on permalinks--the flip-side of continually updated content and the importance of being able to link to that content. The second is the emphasis that we've placed not on providing data--after all, very little of our content is not also accessible directly from NCTE both in print and on screen. But we enable various services and processes that connect up with other small pieces like del.icio.us, and that's where our innovation rests.

It's about performing our disciplinarity in online spaces, not as a replacement for our own brains or hands, but as network, as Jeff has written over and over. There are all sorts of tools and processes and services that will help us do this, and not flash in the pan stuff either. Small, simple pieces, like permalinks, RSS, bookmarking, et al., just waiting for us to take them up and put them to work.

Ah well. This is the resigned version of the ranty post from this weekend. And to think that the original impetus for this post was Laura's somewhat disenchanted take on workshops. It's to our credit that, even at this time of year, none of the three workshops I'm doing are "just in time and just for me" particularly. Which makes them a little easier on me, if not less work.

Anyhow, that is all. I need to think about something else after Games 1 & 2 in Detroit, after all.



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This page is a archive of entries in the teaching category from May 2007.

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