Today's post builds off yesterdays in connection with a conversation on Facebook. A friend tagged me in a query on teaching blogging, so I pointed her toward my blogging syllabus as an example of post-pedagogy. What marks that curriculum as post-pedagogical to me is that it requires students to make rhetorical decisions not only about their topic (what will I write about?), but also their audience (who will I write with?) and their methods (what kind of writing does this group employ? how should I write when writing to them?)
Byron Hawk ends his chapter on "Technology / Complexity / Methodology" by arguing that methods of invention sensitive to affective, vital, complex, network dynamics
[...] must start with the structure of particular constellations and the invention of techniques for and out of those specific occassions; it is thus more attuned to co-responsibility, kairos, emergence, and ambience. Composition theorists should be striving to develop methods for situating bodies within ecological contexts in ways that reveal the potential for invention, especially the invention of new techniques, that in turn reveal new models for action within those specific rhetorical ecologies. Method in this context is happening at two levels when approached pedagogically: the techniques or heuristics that teachers use to situate students in learning contexts, and the techniques the students produce in and through those specific contexts--some of which are conscious, some of which remain bodily and intuitive. (206)
The blogging class we've put together tries to speak to both of these levels--there is a negotiation between myself and the students while they generate topics. I have clear parameters for what constitutes an "A" project--these expectations are imposed top-down. But I also stress the wide variety of inventive approaches students have used within these parameters: blogs on bar hopping, shooting shit (the actual title), MMA training (title: "I lift things up and put them down"), Sun Tzu, representations of female fashion and bodies in Victorian literature, parenting, etc. And, beyond just the variety of topics, there is a variety of writing style and voice developed through the blogs--from intellectual to hipster to authoritarian to neighbor. The course, I believe, holds true to post-pedagogical aspirations by explicitly articulating its impositions while also making space for legitimate student invention.