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Analogy, Textuality, and Materiality in the Medieval Studies Classroom (extended remix): Presented at Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, 13 March, 2014

Here are the text and slides from a (successful!) job talk I gave at Georgia State. This is an expanded version of a previous roundtable presentation, and my goal was to demonstrate how my scholarship in medieval studies, rhetoric and composition, and the digital humanities informs my pedagogy and classrooom praxis. Thank you for the opportunity to come and speak with you today about my work as a teacher and scholar working in digital composition studies, medieval studies, and the digital humanities. Before I get into my talk, “Analogy, Textuality, and Materiality in the Medieval Studies Classroom,” I’d like to give you a brief overview of my background, to provide some context for the work I’ll be discussing. As a collaborator on the <emma>/Marca project, through my work with Hybrid Pedagogy, and as a Brittain postdoctoral fellow and then Assistant Director of Writing and Communication at Georgia Tech, I’ve developed and run workshops, bootcamps, orientation programs, and faculty professional development seminars focused on various permutations of “best practices for teaching with technology.” During the discussion period following my presentation, I am happy to talk about that experience and my approach to teaching in situations where the students are in fact my colleagues, or even my supervisors, and how I approach issues regarding resistance to technology in such settings. During my talk, however, I am going to keep the focus on my work with undergraduates in one of my own classes, a literature class. In doing so, I want to demonstrate how I might work with those of you who are interested in doing so, to use technology to adapt and scale...

Intellectual Property, Privacy, and Open Access Policy: Presented at the 4Cs, Indianapolis, IN, 19 March, 2014

This was my contribution to the workshop, “From Emma to Marca: Technology and Pedagogy in a Decade of Open Source Writing Software Development,” organized by Christy Desmet for the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication. I’ve revised the title a bit here to reflect more accurately the final contents of my brief talk.     My contribution continues our conversation about big picture issues of open source development, trying to answer the question, “What do we gain by bringing this sort of educational technology development in house, rather than outsourcing it to–mostly–corporate developers of proprietary software?” And my answer to that question is, “We acquire more control over our personal data and intellectual property.” To begin, I would like to consider the obvious questions involved in a decision whether to adopt a given technology in any class. As Ron and Sara demonstrated in their overview of the <emma>/Marca development process, when teachers and program administrators are involved in the development process, we aren’t just asking these questions, we also acquire a lot more control over the answers. This shift, from tech consumer to tech creator, mirrors to some extent the shift we are encouraging our students to make, from passive readers or content consumers to active readers and authors. And, like our students, when we began looking at the world from this new perspective, we realized that, in addition to the obvious questions everyone always asks, we also needed to begin thinking about a different set of questions that are equally relevant to our ethos as writers, teachers, and makers. In April of last year, the New York Times...

Open Access and the Digital Humanities: Open Access Week at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA, 25 October, 2013

As part of Open Access Week 2013, I participated in a panel discussion on “Open Access and the Digital Humanities” with Ty Herrington and Ian Bogost at Georgia Tech. The panel was organized by Wendy Hagenmaier, Tech’s Digital Collections Archivist, and moderated by Brian Croxall and Stewart Varner from the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship. The conversation included discussion of what we mean by “open access,” whether the turn to open access publication may also require reconfiguring our understanding of the audience for and purposes of scholarly communication, how institutional policy might be crafted to distribute fairly the costs and benefits of open access publication requirements, and how the shift to open access models of intellectual property management might affect our work in the classroom. A video recording of the panel is archived and publicly available here. Descriptions and video of the panel and the other events Georgia Tech organized for Open Access Week 2013 are also available...

Re-Defining Hybridity for Higher Education: Emory Center for Interactive Teaching, Atlanta, GA, Spring 2013

In the Spring of 2013, Pete Rorabaugh and I conducted a four-part workshop series on hybrid learning and critical digital pedagogy for Emory’s Center for Interactive Teaching. Below is our overview of the series, linked to the working Google documents we created for the first three sessions. The final session was a “show-and-tell” where participating graduate teaching assistants and faculty shared their own work in the classroom. Overview The use of “hybrid” in educational circles requires some immediate unpacking. Like “postmodern” or “canonical,” it has accumulated several interpretations, some of which are contradictory. Hybrid education takes on an economic focus when it’s used to equate to seat time: half in the classroom, half in an electronic space. This application represents an administrative priority that, while not unfounded in our current economic climate, can be more useful for the university’s bottom line than for student learning. A reliance on economic hybridity results in a neoliberal environment where an educational commodity, the “curriculum,” is “delivered” to the most students possible at the lowest overhead cost to the institution. Within higher education circles, “hybrid” assumes several, often widely divergent interpretations. Significantly, in some administrative formulations, “hybrid” has often come to mean simply achieving a reduction in face-to-face time in the classroom through the integration of an online component. Left unexamined, this overly-simplistic formulation of “hybrid,” although it may serve the university’s economic interest by reducing instruction costs in the immediate term, may only incidentally serve–and may in some circumstances actively impede the achievement of–pedagogical goals like improving student learning outcomes. Critical pedagogy–a discipline evolved from the work of Paulo Freire and rooted...

Analogy, Textuality, and Materiality in the Medieval Studies Classroom: Presented at the ICMS, Kalamazoo, MI, 10 May, 2013

This brief position statement was my contribution to the roundtable, “Productive Anachronism? The Promise and Peril of Historical Analogy in the Study of Medieval Culture,” organized by Anna Wilson and Jonathan Newman at the recent ICMS in Kalamazoo. I was fortunate to present alongside my collaborator, Alison Valk, who worked as an “embedded” librarian in the upper-division Chaucer seminar I describe here. Warm thanks to Anna, Jonathan, Alison, my fellow presenters (update: Richard Godden has blogged his contribution here), and the attendees who showed up and stuck around for a 7:30 pm panel Thursday evening. The experience was both enjoyable and productive.     In his “An Attempt at a ‘Compositionist Manifesto,’” Bruno Latour advocates for a discursive practice he labels “compositionism.” Composition involves assembly, construction, creation. It challenges and calls into question the conceptual boundaries that often separate literary things, things such as books and scholarly essays, from non-literary things, things like paintings and musical scores, buildings, drama, and dance. Latour’s discussion of compositionism also seems to blur at least some of the distinctions we often make between literary “authorship” and literary “scholarship” by suggesting the artist and the humanist ultimately draw upon many of the same tools and processes. The interdisciplinarity and multimodality Latour attributes to compositionism are inherent in the period and the historical artifacts we—as medievalists—study. Yet, for the most the part, the products of our scholarship—including pretty much everything from critical editions of canonical texts to interdisciplinary studies of art and architecture—conform to narrow disciplinary and aesthetic conventions born out of the dominance within modern academic discourse—and to some extent perhaps within our culture...

Reflection and Reblogging from Day of DH (April 8, 2013)

Yesterday, I participated in the Day of Digital Humanities for the first time. In previous years, for one reason or another, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines as my collaborators and colleagues blogged, tweeted, and photographed their work as digital humanists. In some cases, I think I may have even been incidentally featured (or perhaps implicated) in some of the blogs, tweets, and photos of said collaborators and colleagues. This time around, though, I took an active part in the day’s activities for two reasons primarily: I had time, and as an independent scholar, I wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to document my work within and engage with a disciplinary community. My contributions to the conversation were neither attention-grabbing nor particularly profound, but as I tweeted, blogged, and photographed–and perused the artifacts and project descriptions collected in the activity stream–I could glimpse how the work I am doing connects me with a field of scholars. And that connection is something that remains vital to my sense of professional identity, yet has become increasingly elusive since I’ve stepped outside the academy. For the moment, in spite of the ongoing debate about who is in and who is out, I think DH can still be characterized as an inclusive scholarly community (or at least one that is going to great lengths to be inclusive) precisely because it sponsors events like Day of DH, THATCamp, and DHSI where the diversity of our occupations, employment conditions, and opinions can be laid bare. Within such a motley collection, the idiosyncrasy of my particular position appears to my own eyes as less anomalous. I...

Making Law and Policy for Public Pedagogy: Emory Symposium on Digital Publication, Undergraduate Research, and Writing, Atlanta, GA, 29 February 2013

I’ve blogged here the Prezi and the notes from a presentation I made at the Emory Symposium on Digital Publication, Undergraduate Research, and Writing. Thank you to  The Emory College Writing Program, Emory’s Office of Information Technology, and Emory University Libraries, for inviting me here today. In keeping with a general desire to avoid the standard “sage on the stage” format and to prompt discussion rather than boredom, I’m going to offer a brief position statement outlining a general approach for responding to and dealing with regulatory issues that may arise as colleges and universities go public with pedagogy. Then I’ll walk through two examples that help to elaborate how that approach might shape decisions in matters that involve FERPA and public relations. I have written about fair use and copyright in the pedagogical context elsewhere, in particular on Hybrid Pedagogy and TECHStyle. For that reason primarily, although I’m happy to answer questions about intellectual property law during the Q&A, I’m not making that part of my prepared remarks today. [new frame] In addition to thanking the symposium organizers, I also want to acknowledge Moya Bailey, Tyanna Herrington, and Audrey Watters. In one fashion or another, they and their work are represented in or have influenced my talk today. [new frame] The Approach Interpretation and application of the law within a higher-educational setting can and should take into account factors that distinguish institutions of higher learning from other–especially commercial–regulatory contexts. Why? Because we should presume laws–especially laws specifically targeted at educational institutions–are designed to facilitate, or at the very least not interfere with the important work of the classroom....

How to Make a Digital Humanist? DHSI, Victoria, BC, Canada, 8 June 2012

I’ve blogged here the Prezi and notes from the colloquium talk I gave at DHSI 2012. The title of my presentation today, as it appears in the schedule, is “How to make a digital humanist.” The title of the presentation, as it appeared in the proposal I submitted back in December 2011, was [next slide] “How to make a digital humanist?” So, for those of you who were hoping for a recipe, a set of instructions on how to train the next generation of DHers, you are probably going to be disappointed, because what I’d really like to do is ask some questions. Or at the very least, propose a framework for generating questions, the answers to which may help to define not only digital humanities pedagogy, but digital humanities as a discipline. As a community, digital humanists generally agree our work requires some level of technical competence. The NEH Summer Institutes, THATCamp bootcamps, and of course, DHSI have all come about in order to fill this perceived need to develop the technical literacy of humanists who are engaged or interested in digital scholarship. We sometimes disagree, however, on the details regarding the exact of level of expertise, the precise composition of the skill set, or the identity of “essential” technologies. This disagreement about how much and what sort of technical expertise is required to do digital humanities work can, I think, fairly be characterized as part of a larger conversation within the discipline about the relative importance of building or “hacking,” and theory or “yacking” in DH. For some, building and doing takes precedence. [next slide] Others question...

Re-Thinking Plagiarism as Unfair Competition: Presented at CCCC, Chicago, IL, 24 March 2006

Community Standards Not Ownership This is substantially the same text I presented as a participant in the panel, “Plagiarism and Community,” with Lauren Fitzgerald and T. Kenny Fountain. A review of the panel, which includes excellent summaries of Lauren’s and Kenny’s papers, can be found here. This was one of my first ventures into the fray of conference presentations, and I am thankful to have had two very generous co-presenters and a wonderful group of engaged auditores who provided constructive commentary and feedback. In her article, “The Economics of Authorship: Online Paper Mills, Student Writers, and First Year Composition,” in College Composition and Communication, our moderator, Kelly Ritter argues that in re-thinking plagiarism and how we should respond to the so-called plagiarism “crisis,” we must take a closer look at the circumstances that lead some of our students to cheat by purchasing papers from on-line paper mills. She observes that, “In order to truly understand how and why students continue to engage in dishonest practices in the composition classroom, we thus must seek to understand how and when students see themselves as authors; how students see themselves as consumers, not just in the purchase of a college education, but also in a society defined by anonymity, convenience, and privacy; and how students reconcile the warring concepts of author and consumer in the space of their own writing.” Thus, in Ritter’s analysis, “these occasions of whole-text plagiarism may fail to ‘patch’ together source material [in the sense of Rebecca Moore Howard’s definition of patch-writing], but they still show a lack of recognition on the students’ part that authorship is valuable and...
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