Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Blog Post as Idea Draft

Sorry guys, I thought my post about the weekend extra credit blog post had gone up...I just noticed now that it didn't. Oh, well, that's why we have iLearn! Anyway, this week your blog post task is an easy one: write your post as an "idea draft" for your essay. That means you get to write your blog post on the Essay 2 topic; just think of the blog post as a chance to informally work through your thoughts on the topic. If you're one of those people who usually leaves your blog posting until later in the week, you may want to change up your strategy this time -- the earlier you post, the more time you give me to comment and maybe help you out if you feel like you're a bit stuck!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Inventing the University

After reading "Inventing the University" by David Bartholomae, write a blog post, approximately 500 words long, reflecting on the article. It's a long article and not the easiest read, so I thought it might be helpful if I provided you with some questions and suggestions which you could use to write your response. Feel free to write on something entirely different; these questions are just here to get you started!

  • In what ways do you feel that you are/have been "inventing the university" for yourself here at SFSU?
  • Explore the intersection between Bartholomae's article and the idea of the "performance self" and the "authentic self" that we've been reading about and discussing in class.
  • Explore the intersection between Bartholomae's article and the concept of "patchwriting" as described by Blum, Howard, and Pecorari.
  • Bartholomae gives several examples of student writing. Pick one of the student essays he critiques, and respond to both the essay and his critique. Do you agree or disagree with Bartholomae's assessment? Why or why not?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The "Authentic Self" Might Get You Fired...

Given our discussion this week of the "authentic self" versus the "performance self," I thought you all might find this article interesting. It's about a middle school teacher who got fired after making negative comments about her students and their parents on her Facebook page. I know some instructors who are willing to friend their students on FB, but most don't, usually because they prefer to keep their "instructor persona" separate from that part of their social life.

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting article; this woman's "authentic self" apparently wanted to vent about her students. If she'd vented with friends over coffee, she'd still have her job -- but because she vented on FB, she got fired. My question was, does using this kind of social networking technology train us to create and use various "performance selves" because we can never be totally sure of who might be checking in on us, and we're (usually) aware of the possible consequences?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


In addition to the regular weekly blog post, I'm also asking you to write a post over the long weekend.

This week's blog topic: Reflect on the idea of the "performance self" and the "authentic self" Blum describes in Chapter 3 of My Word. Here are some questions you may want to consider: Do you agree with her descriptions of these two types? Do you identify more with one than the other? If so, why? What do you think of Blum's statement on p. 89 that "The performance self is more prone to cheat and plagiarize than the authentic self. . .For a performance self, intellectual property is a quaint yet meaningless notion." This post should be about 500 words in length.

Over the long weekend, I'm also asking you to look around and start reading some other blogs. Find at least five that you really enjoy and want to keep reading, and add them to your blog's blogroll. Write a blog post telling us why these blogs are great. No minimum word count -- just tell us why these blogs interest you, and why we should check them out!

Don't forget, as part of every blog assignment, you should be reading and commenting on at least two of your peers' blogs.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Week 3 Blog Assignment

After reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Something Borrowed" and Chapter 2 of My Word by Susan Blum, write a blog post (about 500 words long) reflecting on either or both of the readings. For example, you could respond to the Gladwell article alone (Do you think that Byrony Lavery,the playwright, was wrong to "borrow" from Gladwell? To borrow from the real life of Dorothy Lewis, as described in Gladwell's article? Or in this type of situation, was the borrowing necessary to create something new -- Lavery's play?) Or, you can respond to Chapter 2 of My Word -- for example, what do you think of Blum's idea that the "genre of quotation" has proliferated? (Wired recently published an interesting article about Ben Huh, the founder of the Cheezburger Network. Huh and his employees basically make their living by plagiarizing/borrowing ideas from others and turning them into money-making sites like I Can Has Cheezburger and Failblog.) Or, you can compare and contrast some of the ideas in the Gladwell article and Chapter 2 -- they both, after all, deal with ideas of originality, authorship, and plagiarism.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What IS an essay, anyway?

You've written dozens -- maybe even hundreds -- of essays. But what is an essay? Essays can take up just a single page (like the My Turn essay Newsweek publishes in each issue) or a whole book. "Essay" is a noun, but it's also a verb. Unfortunately, many students are rarely asked to essay when writing an essay. Spend some time thinking about and researching this question, and then offer a thoughtful, considered response. (A regurgitated dictionary definition, by the way, is not a thoughtful, considered response, but I think/hope you know that already.)

Oh, and by the way -- make sure that your blog is set up to enable others to comment. Some students have told me that they've had trouble commenting on other students' Blogger blogs, which may mean that the default settings limit commenting too much.