The homestretch & #DigiWriMo / #WhyIWrite Twitterchat (12/6, 6-7pm ET)!

3a3ff37It was wonderful to have such a rich post-Thanksgiving discussion during class this week. Thanks Katherine for walking us through the question of research and writing, as well as the paradox of the formulaic paper with “Why the Research Paper is Not Working“ by Fister, and “The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (and Why We Need to Resist)” by Wiley.  It seems that the academic research paper has inadvertently contributed to thwarting authentic student inquiry.  Young researchers have heard the mandate to emphasize precedent scholarship over their own intellectual curiosity.  But the best research is a beautiful weave of both – a kind of dialogue between the writer who contributes new knowledge to a conversation by considering the preceding arguments that have directed the field of inquiry thus far.  Students seem daunted by such a task, and their tangible fear of mistakes in this context is a clear result of a methodical emphasis on formal citation.  On the other hand, a culture of attribution is a key aspect of intellectual integrity, and the fair attribution of ideas somehow seems lost on many a young student (despite their research anxiety in the academic context).  We discussed a kind of spectrum: intellectual curiosity verses intellectual integrity – and we considered the ways some research paper processes have situated students (problematically) along this fault line of concerns.

Regarding our discussion of formulaic writing, we acknowledged the significant limitations of approaching writing via a step by step protocol.  But we also acknowledged that some young writers really need set of instructions to refer to. The analogy of training wheels seems apt here.  Many felt that as long as there was a moUnknownment where the formula could be overcome (i.e. the training wheels are no longer needed), then the emergence of a more authentic writer might have a chance to blossom.  But the key question (asked early on by Stephanie) is:  When do we really know when the proverbial “training wheels” (formulaic writing) can be removed?  And how can we manage this transitional moment in a classroom context (i.e. each writer needs their “training wheels” removed at different times in a developmental spectrum)?  These are significant challenges for classroom writing instruction.

What is up for next week:

Our last seminar-style presentation for the class will be by Hope.   She will cover a video (with resources) called “Writing as Making/Making as Writing by Connected Learning TV“.  She will also discuss the article “Writing Assessment in the Early 21st Century” by K. B Yancey.  Please read/view and blog on this material for next class.   

In the second half of class we will conduct our #DigiWriMo & #WhyIWrite twitter chat:

We have prepared our questions for our twitter chat, and we will use tweetchat in order to manage our conversation.  This tool makes it easier to follow the our tweet stream and it automatically adds the #digiwrimo & #whyiwrite hashtag onto each of your tweets.  I look forward to our open, networked discussion on writing in the digital age!

Update on the final project:

Your final project is nearly finished!!  This week you should all be sure to post your final edited material in the project website.  The information you need in order to accomplish this is in  the shared folder pertaining to the collaborative #whyiwrite project.  Each of you has a partner who you should be checking in with, in order to make sure you both have successfully posted your material into the site (you can help each other in this task during class next week if needed).  The only outstanding item not yet completed for the final project website is the “ABOUT” page – a short description of what the project is, and in what context it has been produced.  It seems we will have to do this together on our final class party evening (12/6).

Our final class party will be on 12/6 and it will be a potluck dinner.  I have started a google doc here so we can sign up for what we plan to bring (food-wise) – that way, we can get a sense of what might be on the menu.

We are on the homestretch guys!

Hang in there,

Dr. Zamora


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