Week One, Spring 2011

Our first week of classes is coming to a close. My New Media class read Walter Ong's "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought" and will be remediating the essay into (x)html this weekend. I haven't read that article in a few years (gasp), since I finished the dissertation (which contains a chapter essentially dedicated to Ong); I forgot how darn concise yet incredible that essay is. Written after a nearly 30 years studying the epistemological and ethical impact of writing upon human consciousness and sociology, it is a 14 page tour de force. Stylistically, it is quite quotable, and I think that's why it will lend itself to the kind of intense condensation that my remediation project demands (reducing the 14 page essay to a series of ten sentences and images).

My visual rhetoric class meets only once a week, and that is a tricky format for an undergraduate technology driven class. Their first project (due next week) asks them to perform a rhetorical analysis of an image (whether an advertisement, an artwork, a book cover, a movie poster, whatever. Nothing revolutionary there. I do ask them, however, to mediate the analysis as either a Prezi, a movie, or a flash presentation. Last semester I did two to three (student choice) of these projects, and they got much better each time. This semester I am only doing one--but there's a number of other cool projects I want to try. Their first reading is from Presentation Zen Design, and I must say, I really like this book so far. It combines concise instruction harmoniously with a minimalist design scheme, practicing what it preaches.

In terms of research, I spent the first week back working on my book review for TCQ (I'm reviewing Selber's collection Rhetoric and Technologies; short, short version--go order a desk copy, its great). I also spent a few hours working on a second book review of Davis' Inessential Solidarity for JAC. Working on the reviews was a nice way to ease back in to the semester. My rough draft of the Selber review is checking in around 3500 words, the final version needs to be around 1800. So, I've got some cutting to do this weekend.

I'm also excited because this week I joined an interdisciplinary project at USF centered in our new School of Global Sustainability--Resilient Tampa Bay. The group seeks to foster connections between academics at USF (from english and communications to civil engineering and the sciences) and community stakeholders from around the Tampa area. My new media class will help design a new website for the group after their 3rd conference this February; my visual rhetoric class will work on designing a complete branding for the group. Should be fun and productive.

Well that's my first week back. Hope everyone out there is able to get through the snow. I've got one last letter of recommendation to compose this afternoon (at least, I hope it is the last one), and about 7 to submit online. Then I might actually take a few hours to (gasp) read a few journal articles.


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