Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Notes for 1-20-10

1. Blog warm-up

Instructions: sign in to your blog. Take one of the items for your “Ten things about me and gender” list, and make that item the title of a new post. Now, take that item and flesh it out—write 300 words explaining this statement, going into more detail, or free associating. Post it.

2. Enjoy your RAIDS

RAIDS is an acronym for Revision, Arrangement, Invention, Delivery and Style.

These are five categories of analysis we are going to look at in the readings we are doing for this class.

These five categories also apply to our own writing.

Where do ideas come from? How do you get ideas for writing?
Where and how did the author get the ideas for this piece?
What in this piece is something that the author invented, or created, through writing?

How can writing create order in the world?
What are the component parts of this piece? How are they put together?
Where do you see the author comparing or juxtaposing? Where do you see relationships?

How can writing change the world? How can writing change your mind?
How is the author trying to change his audience’s mind about something through this piece?
Where do you see the author revising the way the world sees his subject?

How does writing create a unique sound and voice?
What is the author’s tone?
What stylistic choices is the author making?

Where does writing exist? How does it reach an audience?
Where was this published? Why is that important or significant?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

15 things about me

1. I love teaching writing. It's the best job I've ever had, although most of those other jobs included gross tasks and grumpy old people so maybe it's a bad comparison.
2. I live in Lansing, not East Lansing, and I love my neighborhood, the Eastside.
3. My girlfriend is really creative and makes stuffed animals, and I have a bunch of things she's made for me in my office, including a stuffed muffin, and a scrabble rabbit.
4. I play World of Warcraft and my character is a Draenei hunter.
5. My dad collects rare coins and rare books about rare coins and one time I interlibrary loaned a book for him that was worth $10,000. I know, right?
6. I realized this summer that I really love romance novels. I can't believe it took me this long.
7. I am REALLY good at Scrabble.
8. I was captain of the Quiz Bowl team in high school and I still fantasize about being on Jeopardy.
9. My nickname is Wikipedia Brown because I know so many random things.
10. I drive a blue 2003 pontiac vibe and it's the only car I've ever had. I love it and I am scared for the day when it stops working...
11. My favorite superheroes are Oracle (who used to be batgirl) and Black Canary.

15 things about me and gender

stuff goes here

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Videos for today!

Today everyone is turning in their first major paper. Whee! I'm excited to read them. Really.

We are now moving into our "Remix" unit. We will be asking the questions: What is writing? What is technology? How does this affect how we see our own uses of technology, and how we see ourselves as writers?

To start, because everyone's been so busy working on their papers, we are going to watch some movies. Here they are.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Class blog assignment, 9-10-09

Instructions: sign in to your blog. Take one of the items for your “Ten things about me and technology” list, and make that item the title of a new post. Now, take that item and flesh it out—write 200 words explaining this statement, going into more detail, or free associating. Post it.

My title: I've had a computer in my house ever since I was born.

The first computer I remember using was an IBM desktop that my dad set up. It had a modem before there was actually anything called "the internet"--my mom used it to directly connect to WestLaw and Lexis/Nexis, two databases that she used for teaching. It ran DOS but my dad set up an interface that allowed me to use it easily, even though I was a little kid. There was a menu where I could choose between different games I had on it. They were mostly shareware games that he found for me--my favorite was this thing called Captain Comic, where you played a spaceman and jumped around. For some reason, the computer had two monitors, and it only booted up through the first one, which was really old and monochromatic (it was orange and black).

When we bought a new computer after that, I remember it being very important that I never bring food anywhere near it, at great peril to myself. I was really afraid of messing up the brand new computer. It had AOL on it, and that's where I first started sending IMs, and going to chatrooms. We had games on it but a lot of them were really hard (Myst, anyone). The favorite of me, my dad, and my brother was something called "Master of Orion" but we also had Sim City and Tetris and Chip's Challenge and a bunch of other random games. I still have never beaten Myst, but I think my dad did. I had to help him with the music puzzle though.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My response to the 30 things assignment

10 Things About Me:
1. I sprained my ankle on Sunday during a tactical exercise in the swordfighting class I am taking.
2. I draw a zine comic called "Oh Shit, I'm in Grad School"
3. I got my BA from MSU in 2006, with a major in Social Relations from James Madison College, and an additional major in English/Film Studies.
4. My favorite movie is Tim Burton's Ed Wood.
5. I am lactose and gluten intolerant, and I'm allergic to mangoes and MSG.
6. I studied abroad in England and Scotland in 2003.
7. Both my parents, 3 uncles, and 1 aunt all graduated from MSU, and my brother is a junior here.
8. I only have my right ear pierced (and my right eyebrow).
9. I was an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer at the Allen Neighborhood Center in Lansing for two years before I came to grad school.
10. Teaching is my favorite job of all the jobs I've had in my life (although being a VISTA was a cool experience too).

10 Things About Me and Technology:
1. I have a pink Nintendo DS and I love it but I really want a DSI so I can play Ghostwire.
2. I play World of Warcraft (I have a Draenei hunter on Steamwheedle Cartel). I'm not especially good at it but it's a great way to relieve stress and talk to friends that live far away.
3. I've had a computer in my house ever since I was born.
4. I love vintage technology and old computers, and stories from people back when computers were new.
5. I use Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and GNU Linux (Ubuntu) operating systems on my computers.
6. I have four computers I use regularly.
7. I didn't learn to drive until I was 20.
8. I believe in a broad definition of technology, and yet, almost everything I want to put on this list is computer-related.
9. I am teaching myself how to program in Python.
10. This summer, I worked with computer scientists who create digital organisms and use programmable humanoid robots. (I helped them with their writing.)

10 Things about Me and Writing
1. I have thought of myself as a writer since I was a little kid.
2. I tried to write a novel one time called "The Philosopher's Daughter" but I never finished it.
3. I am good at helping people write about something they know a lot about, even if I don't know a lot about it.
4. I have written 2 full-length screenplays--one is sci-fi and is terrible, and one is a romantic comedy and it is at least not embarrassing.
5. I like to organized longer pieces of writing visually, like storyboarding, before I write them.
6. I also like to write down all my ideas on post-it notes and stick them to a blank wall.
7. I have to write my MA thesis this year and I am scared and excited.
8. I love using Gmail and Google Docs to keep track of things I am writing.
9. At the same time, I also like drafting things on paper--I actually wrote out this list on paper before I blogged it.
10. As much as I like writing and as much skill as I have, I still find it hugely challenging.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome, WRA 110!

Hi to all my WRA 110 students. This is going to be a great semester, and I'm excited for us to all learn about writing together.

Our first exercise in this class will to get to know each other a little better, through writing. I don't know how many of you participated in the wave of people writing "25 things about me" lists last year, but I know I made one. Today, I would like you to make three lists about yourself: "Ten things you didn't know about me", "Ten things about me and writing", and "Ten things about me and technology". This will help me get to know you and your background as it relates to this class, as well as help you get to know each other (you will be posting these to your public blogs). To be fair, I will be writing these lists as well, and will post them here later.

Friday, March 6, 2009

What is a map, anyway?

Today was super fabulous, thanks to John Castronova and his rad students in WRA 1004 sec 002, the alternate universe version of my class. Or, the section that meets at the same time as we do in a different room. Today we met together in my classroom (307 Bessey is huge) and had a big group discussion about maps.

Both John's class and my class are going to be making maps as part of our third assignment for this course. His students are focusing more on discourse, and mine are focusing on literacy (literacies). I was really excited to see how well our students hit it off with each other--we had 47 students really engaged in small-group discussions and then the big group conversation generated some great conclusions.

So: what is a map? We revisited the literacy alien, because if WRA 1004 prepares you for anything, it should be the possibility of having your translation software fail while you are on an alien world. (That is a joke.) We talked about how a map shows relationships, and that maps are guides, but not necessarily physically (although they can be). We described "guiding" as showing an audience to specific information--leading your audience to knowledge. Maps are also often visual. They also have a rhetorical purpose, and an audience, and those can vary pretty widely.

John asked the question of this definition: how is this like an essay? Someone volunteered that it is very like an essay, and that you could describe an essay as a map of words. (That really blew my mind.)

So, I think everyone is looking forward to our classes being together again, and exploring this stuff further.

Here are links to all the individual maps I printed out for us to discuss:

Mind Map about creativity

Map of all the IP addresses of the Internet

Map of online communities (my favorite)

Map of Europe according to MTV Europe

Infographic about google search results for "it's a public health crisis" (is this a map? we didn't get to talking about this)

MSU Campus Map