First Year Composition Students Talk Writing Into ePortfolios

Each semester at St. John’s University in New York, the First Year Composition Program hosts a conference to celebrate the work of the students. In this panel, Prof. Torg introduces his course which includes the creation of writing territories, a hybrid research project called the Scholarly Personal Narrative, a documentary film, and a final ePortfolio completed via Digication software.  The students discuss their work, much of it completed in digital spaces, with professors Roseanne Gatto, David Farley, Amanda Moulder, and Tara Roeder.  The student Daniella focused on speech pathology while Richie focused on the art of songwriting and the promotion of his band.  Topics discussed include public and private writing, ePortfolios, YouTube, Facebook, songwriting, vinyl, and illegal downloading.
Click the play button below to listen or download the podcast from iTunes at the Prof. Torg Read, Write, and Teach Digital Book Club.

Take a Poll and Tell Me About You and Television?

I usually get to work before my colleague David Farley, and it’s become our habit that he stops at my office door and we talk about something related to writing, teaching, or family. This job we have teaching First Year Composition has carried me into digital writing, and David and I are often talking about digital texts in relation to the teaching of writing. I’m interested in the future of books, and I’m interested in how our internet habits will impact our reading, writing, and thinking. One day, David went over into his office and came back with Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Wikipedia (I’m getting more obsessed with it) tells me that Lessig “is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School.”

Lawrence Lessig’s Remix

Here’s something I wouldn’t mind hearing about from you in the comments section: Have your television watching habits changed? In this book, Lessig writes about Read Only (R.O.) and Read Write (R.W.) culture. Taking television as an example, I think it’s been R.O. By that, I mean you just sit there and watch it. You consume it. You don’t interact with it. Reading a Facebook post isn’t like that. Reading a Twitter feed isn’t like that. You get to Tweet back. You get to interact.

Television watching, from what I can see, is becoming more interactive. You can vote for your favorite American Idol. You can Tweet along with everyone else as they watch the NCAA basketball tournament. You can read what people say about President Obama and Presidential hopeful Romney on Facebook.  As I understand from Lessig, back when people went down to the town square to see entertainment, they were in a culture that tended toward R.W. They were entertained and had a chance to interact, to sing along, to talk with others, and to go home and try out the songs on their front porch.

With the rise of television and newspapers, R.W. went on the decline. People just consumed content with little or no chance to interact. Now with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and other social platforms such as blogs, R.W. is on the rise. People read Harry Potter and go see the movies and then they write on fan fiction sites. All of these features of consuming and interacting seem significant to the craft of teaching and what it will mean to get an education.

Let’s consider for a second the teacher’s lecture.  Possibly BORING!!!! and most times heavy on the R.O. side of consumption.   I’d like to be as R.W. as I can when it comes to my teaching pedagogy. Perhaps I’m using the term wrong but for now, I know what I mean.  :)

More on Lessig’s book and some Golden Lines in the coming posts. There’s a poll below for you and if you’d like to elaborate on your TV watching habits, I hope you’ll add them to the comments section.

Golden Lines from College Writers Who Write With Me

One thing that I have found out in my life is that sometimes you won’t always understand everything.

-Taylor L.

When you think about it, everything in life has to do with how you say things.

-Fabiola N.

If I never bare my soul to the internet, it will never be taken by it.

-Jessi L.

I can’t even put a number on how many papers I have turned in, papers that have taken many hours of preparation, research, and hard work, only to never see them again.

-Thomas S.

Students want stories that relate to real life and to what’s going on today.

-Francesca C.