March 10th 2009

4Cs-SF, PreWorkshop Wiki

4Cs-SF, PreWorkshop Wiki

4Cs begins, for me, tomorrow afternoon at what seems to me to be an exciting workshop on Cross-Cultural Connections.  And it starts with a wiki, a tool I’m learning to use in my online classrooms to get students to interact and create meaning.  The workshop promises to be overfilled with information, judging from the wiki contents, but I’m just so impressed at the possibilities for collaboration the internet allows.  Amazing.  I’ll report tomorrow.

One of the newest waves in composition and rhetoric studies is the interdisciplinary area of Cross-Cultural Rhetoric.  At the intersection of digital writing pedagogy, intercultural communication, and contemporary rhetoric, the aim of cross-cultural rhetoric might best be described as helping to transform students into global citizens, equipped with the communication and collaboration strategies they will need for active, ethical participation in a world community.  Yet how can we prepare our students, classrooms, colleagues, and governing institutions to meet the necessary challenge of global learning as the next wave in higher education?

New pedagogical approaches, curricular materials, technology tools, and WPA initiatives are needed to adequately address the current rhetorical situation that faces first-year composition and writing centers.

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March 9th 2009

Puente Pedagogy and Praxis

Puente Pedagogy and Praxis

To piggy-back on yesterday’s post, I should add that I am presenting at 4Cs, not just attending.  I’m in a panel of Puente Instructors (which has dwindled as life caught up to us) presenting on the Puente Project and it’s possibilities for teaching in other places, near or far.

So, 9:30 to 10:45 this Friday join me in SanFrancisco!

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March 8th 2009

CCCC San Francisco

CCCC San Francisco

If you are a Composition Instructor, the CCCC Conference is the premier conference.  This year the theme is Making Waves and the conference is in San Francisco, my favorite city in the world.

Last year, I blogged my experiences from New Orleans.  This year, I’ll do my best to reproduce my experience in SF on this blog.  Stay tuned.

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November 11th 2008

Fair Use

Fair Use

Because I often teach online; and because I often use movies and other visual content in my face-to-face classrooms, the subject of fair use is important to me.  There’s a lot of sturm und drang about it, but I pretty much do as see fit for my learners–everything I do in the classroom is for the classroom, so I figure I’m covered… at least I hope so.

Anyway, this month, The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education was released by a group of media literacy educators (more than 150 members of leading educational associations)–and it’s both comprehensive and activist.  It addresses “the transformative uses of copyright materials in media literacy education that can flourish only with a robust understanding of fair use.”

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

The Guide does not explore the limits of Fair Use, but it does exhort educators to be leaders and to challenge “misguided institutional policies” that may restrict Fair Use.  The Guide was created to deal with the recurring activities teachers must use in media literacy education and to outline principles that apply to such teaching.  There’s a short video (below) and you can download the full report.

More information on Fair Use can be found on the NCTE blog.

[img source]

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July 25th 2008

Puente PSI 2008

Puente PSI 2008

As I write, I’m attending my second Puente Summer PSI of 2008–the summer training for Puente counselors and English teachers. I’m presenting, but as a presenter, I’m always listening to the other presenters, the other ideas that people use in their classrooms. We’re all presenters when we teach and I think we also should be students at the same time.

Puente has really helped me connect to a community of committed instructors and active learners. I find that most of my colleagues want to have this connection, but time or money or life interferes. I feel privileged, and lucky frankly, to have the connection kind of mandated for me–they’re actually paying me to do what I enjoy doing anyway.

I know people who feel that learning has stopped–they have their degrees, they’ve been trained–what is the point of this connection? I have a problem with this rigidity. The world changes, people change. Life is a constantly evolving process. Who says that what we know today is all the learning we need? Why not share pedagogy and problems and successes and see what others are doing? I expect my students to approach the process of writing–and the process of critical thinking–as an evolving one. Why should my own process be different?

More importantly, as instructors we share students; my students, successful or not, are and will be someone else’s student. I need to help them succeed beyond my classroom and I feel this is a responsibility all instructors must take seriously. So it makes no sense, to me, to isolate myself. Indeed, I should be connecting across the campus to see what other disciplines are looking for in my students. The college (as an institution) looks to English faculty, for example, to instill writing and thinking processes that are the prerequisites for success in other disciplines. We really should all be talking together so that we each learn from the other.

I also know people who tell me that conferences are dull, jargon-laden, and repetitious. Many presenters are boring or overly enamored of themselves (or both). But of course, like anything, you get out of an activity what you put into it. Choose wisely! Skip the jargon-ish presentations (or listen for the message behind the jargon) and make connections with people who, like you, want a more dynamic experience.

Puente has given me that dynamic experience and helps me connect with people outside my discipline. It allows me to participate in my own growth and learning.

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