Readings, and Related Inspirations

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Celeste Condit Had Me at Robot – 8150

Articles like Celeste Michelle Condit’s “Chaim Perelman’s Prolegomenon to a New Rhetoric: How Should We Feel?” make me love academic scholarship even more than I normally do. In the article, Condit chastises Perleman for neglecting pathos almost entirely in “The New Rhetoric.”  In response to Perelman’s overt link between those he labels “ignoramuses” and “nonspecialists easily around and led astray” (117), Condit lashes back saying that Perelman “repressed the democratic mass” (100). Throughout her article, Condit uses rather harsh language to assign Perelman to trying to make humans too rational and not at all emotional.

Kind of like Spock - though few people are aware that Vulcans are not emotionless. They are trained to display no emotion from childhood. Like Americans, but with pointier ears.

Kind of like Spock – though few people are aware that Vulcans are not emotionless. They are trained to display no emotion from childhood. Like Americans, but with pointier ears.

Boldly, Condit argues the following: “Until we build our theories around emotion, therefore, we have an impotent reason, which cannot control a Holocaust (as Perelman and Olbrecht-Tyteca observed) and which might even create new forms of the same through a privileging of narrow processes of ‘reason’ over how human bodies feel” (104). Perhaps I am reading this wrong – I had to go over it several times to make sure – but is Condit saying that too much reason could not only not prevent a Holocaust (the Holocaust?), but that it might even create new forms of Holocausts?? That seems like a big leap to me.

And while I largely agree with Condits reading of Perelman’s “The New Rhetoric,” I take a few more issues with her claim that emotion rests with the body. On page 106 of her article she urges the reader by saying, “We need to ask many questions about how the bodily predispositions we share with other animals (such as lust and hunger and status drives) are remade by communication processes into social emotions.” I’m not sure I can get behind the notion that our bodies create status, though now that I think about it, I suppose the way we look does have a HUGE impact on how we are treated. Perhaps my initial reaction has more to do with the Shakespearean liver than it does appearance. I’m going to think more on this one.

This then brings us around to Condit’s definition of rhetoric: “theories of symbolic interactions among human bodies” (107). I am going to have to do some more pondering of this definition too and I invite readers here to comment on it. But I would also like to note that this definition seems somewhat in opposition to what she accuses graduate students in rhetoric of doing when she says, “Although the label ‘rhetoric’ is often pasted over recent works, most graduate students merely want to do ideological critiques of mass media artifacts” (97). If that’s the case, then are graduate students, obsessed with ideology, an exception to this bodily obsession?

I have much more to say on this topic, but for the sake of time I will leave you with something that I couldn’t stop thinking about as I read this article: Spock. It’s all logic all the time for Vulcans … or is it?

Star Trek Original Series Season 1, Episode 24 – This Side of Paradise – In which Spock shows emotion and frolics with ladies.  – I can’t get the embed code, so here’s the link. Enjoy.

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Last August I participated in my very first Massive Open Online Course hosted by Hypbrid Pedagogy. It was called MOOCMOOC. It was a MOOC about MOOCs – it answered questions like, “What is a MOOC?” and “Where does learning happen?” But it also opened my eyes to a lot of new experiences I had never had before. And most of these experiences I did from inside my house.

As soon as the board at Hybrid Ped said, “We’re going to do another MOOC,” I cheered loudly – inside. And of course, I’m at it again. This time, it’s MOOCMOOC2. Essentially, it’s the same thing as last time. Which brings me to my post here. Today is Video Tuesday and below, you will find my video which answers the question: “What do I value in learning?”

You might have noticed, if you’ve watched my previous videos, that I seem to have learned to use my Live Movie Maker, and that I have found a camera… with sound!! Not that that matters, because I also learned to use Audacity. Can you tell I had a busy semester? I’m no professional, as you are about to be able to tell, but it was fun making this film, and I hope you enjoy it.



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Twitter, Zombies & Permanence

Last weekend I became undead. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was sitting at a coffee shop in downtown Decatur, Georgia.

I yelled.

I shouted. People at the coffee shop stared.

I called a friend to see if her friend could save me.

He was in California at a rock show. He was busy.

And so I turned.

This is how it went down:

I was bit by @myunnaturalself – and then

I pleaded for my life. I had dodged earlier, and my dodge was up.

But then:

I was saved… for the moment.

Little did I know – the zombies were stalking me.

They got me. And then they zombie high-fived. It was painful. I pleaded. I called others on my cellular telephone in real life. But there was no help.

And so I turned.

And I began to stalk others.

I lost several hours out of my workday dodging zombies and swiping them away for other zombies.
The rules were simple. There were only 5 steps:

1. If you are on twitter (anywhere on twitter) in the last 5 minutes, you can get bit, and you have 5 minutes to get saved.

2. If you get bit, you can #dodge 1 time an hour

3. If someone else gets bit, you can #swipe for them 1 time and hour.

4. If you become a zombie, you can #bite once every 30 minutes.

But like all things on the internet, these rules had little permanence, which is why I haven’t linked you to them.

Here is the twitter vs. zombies website.

There, you can see how the game is laid out. There is a scoreboard, and a rule sheet – all housed in google docs.

If you have ever used a google doc, you might know that they can be changed by anyone with permission. In our case, the google doc was open to the public. Anyone and everyone that landed on the page could change these documents. Their permanence was fleeting. The scoreboard changed any time someone used #dodge, #swipe, #bite, or turned into a zombie. The rules changed every 12 hours or so and became much more complicated, adding several other literacies in such as photographs uploaded to tweets, and the creation of storify narratives, such as this one by Lee Skallerup – #TvsZ A Love Story

Why is this important?

As I played this game, I had to juggle several digital literacies: tweeting using several hashtags, managing a google document scoreboard, and commenting to help develop the rules into more complex, and slightly more rigid, play. This is a brilliant idea to teach multiple digital literacies through play.

To get a brain-full of the discussion concerning the build, launch, and implications of this game, I leave you with the video below. Creators Pete Rorabaugh (@allistelling) and Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer) delivered their experimental twitter game in a presentation at Duke University this past Monday. The video contains that presentation, and an extensive line of questions concerning the game.



I remember once, when I got a call from a really close friend, extremely upset because her ex-girlfriend had removed her from her top 8 (sorry for the pronoun confusion). I said “M – does it really matter?” My friend said, “Yes it matters, because now it’s really over!” And while this story may sound a little hilarious, a lot of us have felt that way at some point during our interactions with social media.

In the days of Web 2.0, we now have jokes like “as soon as I friend you on Facebook, we’re real friends,” and “If her relationship status says she’s single, she must not feel it’s important enough to mention. I’m totally going for it.” Jokes like this would have been extremely confusing when Mary Hocks published her article “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments,” or when Diana George published her article “From Analysis to Design,” but not by the time Kristin Arola published “The Design of Web 2.0,” which features both Facebook and Myspace in her discussion about design.

What all of these articles, and Craig Stroupe‘s “Visualizing English,” have in common is that they all discuss the use of visuals in composition – fitting, since computer use includes visuals more often than not these days. Like this one:

This is Grumpy Kitty, and he is an internet sensation. People have been juxtaposing his image with writing and other links all over the internets in the last couple of weeks. Grumpy Kitty is so prolific, my seldom-internet using brother even sent me a text with Grumpy Kitty’s image in it.

A few minutes ago, when I started this post, I had no idea I was going to put Grumpy Kitty into it. I simply thought computer + text + visual = Grumpy Kitty! And why wouldn’t I think that? Have you SEEN that guy??

Anyway, in her paper, Mary Hocks argues that “new technologies … require new definitions of what we consider writing” (630), and she is very correct. Our students create on the web all the time now, and as Kristin Arola suggests, they do it is a WYSIWYG. All of us that are using wordpress do it. I’m doing it RIGHT NOW!

When my friend called upset by her demotion from her ex-girlfriend’s Top 8 on Myspace, she was reacting to the interface imposed upon users of myspace. This “top 8” problem became such an issue even, that Myspace changed it so users could select as many ‘top’ friends as they wanted. Or so the ‘top 8’ were random. But don’t quote me on that. I can’t find a source for it anywhere on the world wide web.

I could go on and on on this topic, and since I probably will in class, and because a lot of this material directly relates to the midterm post I’m cooking up, I’ll just leave you with a video I haven’t seen in about a thousand years. But with all this multimodal design and myspace talk, how could I not?


Learning From Experience(s) @ MOOCMOOC Mass-ignment 3

Let’s face it: Some of us are turning into MOOCMOOC junkies. Whether that means we love doing it, are really hating doing it but can’t stop, or some variation thereof… there are those of us who are spending more time MOOCing than a 14 year old girl spends on facebook.

For me, much of my learning happens when I reflect on the readings I’ve done, and the applications I’ve attempted. For example, last night, I had to figure out how to use Microsoft Movie Maker really fast, since all of my other equipment failed me. And now I know how to teach someone else in a classroom. Today, I’m reflecting on what I learned, and a lot of it is about backups and sharing – the theory will come later, after more reflection.
Since today’s MOOCMOOC assignment is about participant pedagogy, I am taking it upon myself to open up an activity that promotes mid-term self-reflection. And it’s up to you whether you want to participate, or not. In one of our readings today from Hybrid Pedagogy, “Rheingold writes, ‘Participation is deliberate’ (145), which suggests that learning doesn’t happen when students merely follow the instructions of teachers, but only through mindful reflection about their own learning processes. ” I agree with this completely.

Below I am attaching a video I made this morning in a pinch. It has some rather specific instructions, which is sort of unlike what Jesse does with open directions, but I’m kind of old school like that, so I ask you to humor me.

Feel free to make a video, or a photograph in order to complete my Reflection assignment.

Then — tweet your photo or video link to #moocmooc & @vrobin1000 — so everyone can see it – AND please leave your link in the comments section below.

I will storify all the links you tweet me, or comment to me, and I’ll post another blog tonight with the storify link – Please get these to me by 10PM EST, so I can storify and sleep!

“If we do this right, I’ll learn more about facilitating others to self-organize learning.” – Rheingold Blog

Happy Building!

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MOOCMOOC – Tuesday – Video day

It took me a while – a long while.

Today’s assignment for the MOOCMOOC was to create a video answering the question “Where does learning happen?”

First, my camera audio didn’t work. So I said, what the heck? I’ll just do a voice over later. Nope. After I filmed, I couldn’t upload it through itunes… for whatever reason.

So instead… I did this.

Let’s see if one of those works. Clearly I need more practice at this.