I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging very much; but, with friends coming tonight, I really, really, really wanted to get this project as done as possible. Anyway, I finished the reflective paper, the poster, and the long paper and I’m ready to go!

Can’t wait to see y’all Monday!

Published in: on July 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm  Comments (1)  

Creation versus Discovery

I’ve been thinking about Remix, creativity, and how humans learn as part of my reflective essay and here is what I’ve discovered.  Most of this will appear again in the reflective essay, but this is only one point out of the entire thing. Right now, this is just me “philosophizing”, me attempting to get my thoughts out of the vaguely floating pool of my brain and out into cold, harsh, solid reality.

Humans don’t create. We build. We make connections between previous knowledge that further our understanding of the universe. The things we “create” are actually different ways of building our knowledge. “But wait!” you say, “what about exploring strange new worlds and learning about new civilizations?” (And yes, I have been watching Star Trek Next Generation lately.)

My reply is we discover what is already there. Isaac Newton’s law of gravity already existed before he napped under that apple tree. It already existed. The same for the light bulb. We did not create electricity; we put together the building blocks to access it. (and at this point I see a flaw in my thinking, but I will struggle on).

“But what about the imagination?” you point out, “we create new ideas from our imagination.” My reply is the same. “We don’t create new ideas and images. We build upon what we already know to and remix it.”  Tolkien and C.S. Lewis did that with their great imaginations. Both mixed the legends, experiences, and beliefs of their lives to build worlds that are at once familiar and unfamiliar; myths from Greece or Scandinavia mixed with a little practical experience, the interests from childhood, and the beliefs the two men held.

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite authors, G. K Chesterton: “I am the man who with the upmost daring discovered what had been discovered before.” Here’s another quote from him: “It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original; but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion.” Chesterton thought he had created a new philosophy, but he actually re-discovered Christianity.

While we don’t always find something we already know, Chesterton’s process of finding is how humans discover knowledge.

To sum up, knowledge and invention is not something we create, but something we discover. How we discover knowledge is by making connections between what we already know.

Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm  Comments (3)  

I see the Future…..

I just read the Creative Commons page Dr. W gave us and it’s really neat! It really ties in with the Remix! video and Kirby Ferguson. I can really see this open access copyright thing taking off. For those you who are Scifi fans, CC rather reminds me of Mr. Universe from the Firefly Movie, Serenity. Something about never stopping the signal….Sorry I can’t remember the exact line.

What’s also cool is seeing what CC has already accomplished. There’s at least twenty countries involved and CC is reaching out to educational systems, the sciences, and influencing cultures. They have several copyright options you can choose from so you can choose the best fit for you. Also they’ve apparently  discussed this with copyright experts and CC claims that everything is legit.

For my grad classmates, CC has a special section for OER case studies you might find helpful. I’ve been rather pre-occupied today, so I haven’t looked into it, but I thought you guys and gals would want to poke around.

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm  Comments (7)  

Ask the Students

This article, “The Emic view of Student Writing and the Writing Process” , attacks the writing crisis from the opposite end from WAC. See, while WAC focuses on how the teachers teach writing, Hass and Osborn focus on what the students say about writing. Hass and Osborn suggest that using this theory, teachers can create better writing assignments that help the students learn more.

What Hass and Osborn did was they recruited around 73 students to answer a questionnaire of five questions that relate to what  the students’ thought was their best paper. The authors found five themes or criteria that the students used to “grade” their papers: personal engagement, commitment, collaboration, systematic approach, and external confirmation.

What surprised the authors was the fact that one of the most frequent criteria was the student’s interest level in the assignment. Either the student had a passion for the subject or they saw the importance of it. Then, they worked harder and spent a lot more time on it than otherwise. Frankly, it surprised me they were surprised by this.

This reminds me of what a lot of y’all said about math, how the teachers refused to tell you why learning math was important to life. It makes so much sense! If the person doesn’t have an interest or a reason to be interested in a topic, then he or she doesn’t care about that topic.

Also, if the student is interested in the topic, then all the rest of the criteria follows. If they are interested, then they are committed to it. If they are committed to it, then they follow a more systematic approach to completing the assignment. If they have a system to work within, then they find others to collaborate with. Often these collaborators are in the same system, like friends or siblings. Once they have that collaboration, they look for feedback and external confirmation that they are the right track.

Isn’t that cool?

Published in: on June 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm  Comments (14)  

To my reading group

I choose “An Emic View of Student Writing and the Writing Process”by Michael Hass and Jan Osborn. I’ll have it read and have a post on it by tomorrow. can’t wait see what y’all find out!

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Writing as a gift

Johnathan Letham’s article, as Dr. W predicted, was really cool! Especially that ending! I loved how he proved his point by showing all the phrases he borrowed from others! Very neat.

Here’s a quote that struck me. At first I thought it was his until he revealed he got it from Mary Shelley. I thought was a prefect description of the creative process: “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos”.

I love that. It reminded me of Kirby Ferguson and also of my favorite theology book ever. Notes from the Tilt-a-whirl  By N. D. Wilson (who is Douglas Wilson’s son for those interested) does exactly what Letham does. He takes quotes from other philosphers, Christians, even Puddleglum from Narnia to prove and support his argument that God is Mighty, Sovereign, and that we are literally His spoken words. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the introduction desribing how the book came into being:

Here’s how it happened: Philosophers of various sizes and flavors and ages crowded into the saloon of my skull and began throwing elbows to make some space. Poets and preachers piled in with them. John Donne said some zippy things about Kant, and the ancients wouldn’t stop snickering at the moderns. On top of that Gilbert Keith Chesterton (that fabulously large Catholic writer) overheard someone making fun of Milton (it didn’t matter that the insults were all true).

Isn’t that cool? Of course, Wilson would have to borrow quotes for his book if that’s what was going on in his head! How could he not? Anyway, that’s where Letham’s article led me.

Note to all C.S. Lewis and J. R.R. Tolkien fans:

Wilson also has a “kid’s” series (100 Cupboards trilogy) that is (in my humble opinion) comparable to  The Chronicles of Narnia. All about how a 12 year old boy named Henry and his cousin Henrietta find these 100 cupboards that lead to another world in the attic of their house. Along the way, they wake up the Witch of Endor and meet the hilarious Frank Fat-Faery, the loyal Richard Huchens, the awesome Caleb, and discover the magic of Dandelion Fire.

Very clean and deals with some great issues. Wilson is a Christian, but he doesn’t talk blatantly about his faith in these books. He hints at it, more like Tolkien than Lewis.

 Sorry this turned into a brag fest of my New Favorite Author. Letham’s article really did remind me of Wilson and then, of course, I had to share the edifying gift of his other works.

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Collective Creativity

Sorry it’s been a while since i last posted something, but life and assignments decided to give me headaches.

Since the Bollier report was so long, I tried to read it in pieces. What stood out to me was in the first part of the symposium. It was cool to see three professors from different disciplines talking about how scholars and scientists work best when they can communicate and pool their knowledge easily.

I especially related to the Humanties professor Rowe, I believe her name was, when she said that,”In the humanities, many of us don’t want to collaborate. We love going into a quiet room and working with objects that stay the same from century to century. It’s a kind of contemplative, meditative coming to knowledge – a kind of sustained engagement that we deeply value, and that we usually do alone.”

That sounds like fun to me. Sitting in my room alone in a comfy chair or at my, quietly gathering knowledge and information at my own pace when I need it. That’s how I work. I don’t like working together with someone on a project, especially when we divvy up the assignment. Part of that is that if I do everything, I know it gets done and done more or less well. If somebody else, more so if I don’t know the person well, does part of it, then i don’t know what he or she will produce nor what quality it will be.

Another thing that was interesting about that first section was that all three professors had participated in a collaborative, online research journal or database. That way, the professors could “talk” to each other about their projects or their part of a project and see what they came up with since the last discussion. PLus, they could use each others’ work for their own research. They, then, could build on the project, improve it, and make it available to everyone else.

Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Comments (3)  

James Cameron and WAC

That’s the link to my Ted video.

Seeing how James Cameron’s interests in Scifi, exploration, and nature influenced his film-making career emphasized for me how life impacts writing. I know it sounds lame. Everyone knows (or at least everyone here, I assume) are aware of this. I suppose this video reminded me of that fact.

Cameron tells of how his experiences on filming expeditions influenced how he approached filming.  Ignoring the connection of Scifi fandom, I tried to connect his experience with my life and WAC. Here’s what I came up with.

My interests influence what I write about, what’s going on in my life impacts on my motivation to write, and the people in my life encourage me to write. What I like naturally lead me to topics to write about. This video is a great example. Not only do i love Scifi, but I love movies. What’s going on in my life reflects in my quality of writing. For instance, right now, I’d much rather do something else because I’ve been staring at this computer screen for a good long while. That’s why my writing may seem impatient and hard to follow. As for the people, well, my parents aren’t around, but I know they want me to do my best, so I’m making the effort for them because they would have encouraged me to.


Published in: on June 14, 2011 at 9:49 pm  Comments (5)  

Another cool essay!

One thing about these WAC writers is that you certainly aren’t bored very often. “How to Read Like a Writer” by Mike Bunn is what my triad picked to discuss and, as usual, it’s amazing!

Bunn showed me how to read something through the lenses of a fellow writer. We all know how it feels like to sit in front of the computer for two hours trying to write one measly paragraph, so we understand the choices a writer makes to get his or her point across. In my personal writing, I had already picked up a little on this idea of examing how other writers write so that I could improve my own. What Bunn taught me though were some more questions to ask, like what makes this passage confusing or how would I have written that differently? What I do mostly is examine a work assuming that the writer is better than I am and he or she has all the kinks out already.

Here’s a quote that jumped out at me: “It’s worth thinking about how the published text would be different – maybe even better – if the author had made different choices in the writing because you may be faced with similar choices in your own work.”

Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm  Comments (9)  

A really cool essay!

Here’s what I learned from reading “Annoying Ways People Use Sources” by Kyle D. Stedman.

Basically, Stedman gives an “insider’s” tips on various ways not to cite sources. They aren’t wrong exactly, just…”annoyances” (as he calls them) to picky readers. better still,  he also provides fixes for them.

I found this to be very helpful, because I knew sometimes I would cite something in an essay and it be at the end of a paragraph or I’d have way too many quotes. I couldn’t, however, figure out a good way to fix them. Now I do, and then some.

Through the use of very clever analogies, Stedman manages to make his writing memorable, fun, relatable, and clear  For example, he titles one annoyance as  “I can’t find the stupid link!”, referring to when a parenthetical cite and a works cited page aren’t connected very well.  By using an analogy like “I can’t find the stupid link!”,  the problem and, more importantly, the fix becomes easier easier to remember and a lot of fun to read.

The analogies kept me engaged since the scenarios are very familier to me, like when trying to find a link to another website. This also allows me to relate with what teachers and peers feel when they come across these “annoyances”.

Since the analogies are familiar, I learned more by comparing the two situations.  I compared searching for that stupid link to searching for that stupid source and realized why I need to fix that problem in my writing.

In summary, I learned what Stedman wanted me to learn while not only relating to my readers’ feelings, but also I enjoyed what I was reading!  Now is that amazing writing, or what? He subtly accomplishes four goals with one strategy! That will be something to keep in mind for myself…


Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm  Comments (4)