Teas for Networking: Computers & Writing 2009

Teas/Talks for instructors about teaching- specifically for computer writing

Sept 2008 topics
developing conference proposals
teaching visual rhetoric/design
digital storytelling and documentary production
pedagogical uses of blogs
assessing digital projects

Fall 2008 – Spring 2009
copyright and copyleft: writing in a remix culture
designing and evaluating audio composing assignments
social media in the writing classroom
digital media and lit pedagogy
using laptops to teach alphabetic writing
digital pedagogy and the politics of embodiment
designing and eval multimodal assignments

Methods:

triangulation: program assessment materials, word & image interviews, interviews
IRB approval
email requests for interviews
1/2 hour to hr interviews
collaborative meetings

Who interviewed about the teas
females
years 1-5
faculty, grad students

Key themes and ideas:
informal, supportive community
collaborative knowledge building
becoming convinced/prepared (element of cool)
space for pedagogical reflection/presentation
professional development

Informal, supportive community
“comfortable space” “all participate” becoming an expert
“nobody is there to judge you”
“No one’s going to be lecturing to you”
There is a hierarchy.

Collaborative knowledge building
“compiling a commonplace book… teas are a place to do that”
“take lots of notes”
“when people are giving specific examples of what they are doing in their own class”
how to make learning fun for teachers
“I would never even have contact with those people if it weren’t for the teas”
“formalizes a more casual gathering”
moving away from presentational mode

Becoming convinced/prepared
“be able to articulate the why”
“all teaching the same kind of student population”
“Hey I did this. It worked. They loved it” Then for me, that assigment or that approach has a lot of ethos.

Space for pedagogical reflection
“I think facilitating really made me think about, for example, the assessment tea, “How do I assess my students’ digital projects?””
I always come away from them with something, with one link that I didn’t know about
they’re helpful and I take a lot of notes when I go there, because there’s a lot of good ideas…I’ll get ideas while I’m there
not about which button do I push to make it work, it’s about “okay, so I’m in the classroom and I’m using it, what then?”
I just have a notebook where I am writing all this stuff from the teas down. And whenever it comes time for me to plan a class, I look back…

Professional development beyond the classroom
grew into a workshop at 4Cs
tea-facilitation can be listed on CVs (What would this look like? Invited talk?)
often a space in which research projects are (re)invented
paid facilitators ($50)- trying to value monetarily what work people are doing
learned about constraints: material (finances, student populations), time (students working)…
“it’s important to understand rhetorically how to address those concerns… being an administrator is all about understanding the multiple discourse communities that you’re in and how to listen to their needs”

(NOTE: Language here is out of my ability. Every once in a while I don’t know what they are saying. Usually it’s an acronym.)

Key findings
Need to Expand Audience
mostly grad students and frequently by comp/rhet teachers “It saddens me that a lot of the creative writers didn’t come, saddens me that faculty don’t come and especially literature faculty, too.”

Need to Expand Topics
mostly talked on comp pedagogy

Need for Permanent, Physical Space
if we had an office
a separate space for it
a space or lounge where teachers can gather other than having a tea every other week
difficulty for $, because all the money is for undergrads

Need for Sustainable Virtual Space
“cool if more people blogged”
blog could be a good space for dialogue to continue

DWC blog

Beyond the Tea
What helps people deelop knoledge to bring to a Tea in the first place?
What enables people to use or not use ideas they gain at a Tea?
How can we sustain the valuable informal network beyond the limited and not always accessible space/time of the Tea?

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