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English 328: Writing, Style, & Technology - Steven D. Krause | Eastern Michigan University
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A practice session for analyzing YouTube commercials

Don’t forget that the most important thing all of you should be finishing up now is a revised draft of your “invent your own technology” project, which is due by midnight Monday!  But I also want you to continue to thinking about the ancient style project (of course!) since a draft of that project will be due next week.  So, after the continued part, I have a couple of examples that we can talk about as a group, just to give you an idea about how applying ancient notions of style to contemporary commercials might work. Continued…

Posted in Class Assignments, Class Readings.

Going once, going twice…

Just thought I’d post a quick reminder that the end is near and also a reminder about a few housekeeping things:

  • Of course, the end of time for the class is still Friday, December 16, at 5 PM Michigan time!  That’s when the final is due along with anything else that is still lingering out there.
  • If you want to meet with me to talk about a revision to one of the major writing projects, our time is quickly running out.  So if that is in your plans, you need to contact me just as soon as possible!
  • I have inconsistent instructions on where to hand in the final– that is, I think there are places where I say to email it to me and other places where I say to put it into the emuonline dropbox.  Either one is fine, just as long as you hand it in by Friday.
  • And also don’t forget that if you are an education major of some sort, you also need to post a copy of your project to LiveText.

And as always, remember the end is near….

Posted in Class Announcements.

Grades, Revisions, the End of Time!

Be sure to watch this video– it covers all the details of the end of the end of the term/end of time, and it has special effects!

Briefly, as I discuss in the video:

  • I have completed grades for everything except the final, which is due by the “End of Time,” Friday, December 16, at 5 PM Michigan Time.
  • You have to complete the final of course in order to pass the course and if you are an education major of some sort (Language and Literature for Teachers, for example), then you also need to post your final to LiveText.  If you have any challenges or concerns about how to do that, you should contact folks in the College of Education for tech support.
  • As long as you complete the final and do an earnest and good-faith effort job on it, I promise that your work on the final can only help your grade.  What this means is if you currently have a “B” in the course, you’ll probably also have a “B” for a final grade– again, as long as you complete it.
  • If you want to revise one of the four major projects in order to improve your overall grade for the course, email me and we will set up an appointment during this week and before December 16! to talk in person, via Skype, or via the phone.  We’ll talk about revision strategies and also what you can (and can’t) do to benefit your grade on these projects.
  • Again, the end of time for the course is December 16 at 5 PM Michigan Time!  Any and all work must be posted/electronically handed in by this time!  I will literally start posting grades for this course Friday night and as I make it clear in the video, there are no possible extensions of this deadline.  So make sure you meet it– and by the way, if you get done with things early, that’s okay too.

Posted in Class Announcements.

Individual Essays for Movie Projects Due; About Collaboration; About Peer Review

Remember, the individual essay for the collaborative movie projects are due today Wednesday!  I just set up a dropbox for it on emuonline; as has been the case with other assignments this term, the idea is to post a link to your Google Doc in the dropbox space.

(Update:  Sorry about the date mix-up.  For some reason I thought today was Wednesday…).

Now, one thing that is a little different about handing in this project is this is your chance to reflect on the collaborative process.  So, when you post your link to emuonline, take a moment to tell me:

  • What it is that you did as part of working on the short video;
  • What it is you think others in the group did to work on the short video; and
  • What grade you think everyone in the group (including yourself) have earned for this part of the work.

If everything with your collaboration went great, then this reflection can be very brief.  If you had some concerns and/or thought things weren’t fair, then this is the “speak now or forever hold your peace” opportunity to voice those concerns.

After the break here, I have some thoughts/reflections on the final peer review process as folks discussed it on their blogs.  But before I get there, let me remind you all that the last blog post of the semester is due this Friday! Be sure to get that wrapped up!


Posted in Class Assignments.

Peer Review Groups and a Little Calendar Talk

So, we’re starting around that last turn of the semester, so along with telling everyone about peer review, I thought I’d recap a few calendar things, too.

First, about peer review: I have set it up again on emuonline, and since you have all been down this path before, you should have a handle on how this all works.  Everyone should be in one and only one group, so let me know if I screwed that up in how I set things up.  The groups are:

Megan A, Ryan, and Leeann

Megan F, Alyse, Lisa, and Maxine

Amanda, Tony, and Ana

Peer review begins by midnight on Wednesday, November 30!  Be sure to have a draft of your individual essay posted there by then.  Late projects will be docked a letter grade.  Also, peer review ends on Monday, December 5!  Be sure to have your comments for your peers done by then.  By Tuesday or so, you should also finish Blog Post 15: The final peer review recap.

The individual essay portion of the movie project is due by the end of the day on Wednesday, December 7!  Late projects will be docked a letter grade, etc.  Also, note that as part of the process of handing this is, this is also your chance to have input on how well the collaborative process went.

The last blog post of the semester is due by Friday, December 9;  it is Blog Post 16:  What is Style, part 2?

Now, what this all means is that by the last day of class, December 12, you will be able to know exactly what grade you will receive for the class not counting the final or any revisions.  As I have discussed elsewhere, as long as you do an earnest job on the final and turn it in as appropriate, I will not give you a grade that will hurt your overall grade on it.  Revisions could make a difference for improving your grade though, and as I’ve discussed before, that’s something where we’ll need to meet to talk about your plans and strategies.

And the end of time for the class is on December 16, 2011 at 5 pm Eastern Time.  I’ll talk more about this as we get closer to it, but basically, this is when everything absolutely, positively has to be turned in.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Let the film festival begin!

Well, I’m still missing information about the video from the other group, but I thought I’d go ahead and share the video from Megan F.Leeann J.Lisa M.Amanda W.Tony W.:

Excellent!  I think all game shows should involve jumping into a bean bag!

And now, a slightly later entry from Megan A.Ryan F.Diamond J.Alyse L.Maxine W.Ana W.

Another nice one! I like Ryan’s interview responses quite a bit.  Take a look at both groups’ videos, and remember, you need to have a draft of your essay ready for sharing by Wednesday!

Good job, everyone.

Posted in Class Assignments.

Discussing Juhasz and Anderson

Oops!  In my haste in preparing for travel, I completely forgot about posting the place to discuss this.  Sorry abou that.  So if this discussing carries on through the Thanksgiving break through to next week, that’s okay.

Anyway, now that you have gotten the movie making process well-underway and/or almost finished (hopefully!) and now that you have read the essays (hopefully!) by Alexandra Juhasz, “Why Not (To) Teach On YouTube”  and Daniel Anderson, “The Low Bridge to High Benefits: Entry-Level Multimedia, Literacies, and Motivation,” after all that, I think we now probably have a better opportunity to discuss these essays.  So that’s what this post is about.


Posted in Class Readings.

Heading into Thanksgiving

I’ve made this little video heading into Thanksgiving week; you should watch it of course, but here’s basically what it covers:

  • I’ve passed back grades and comments on Style Part 2, and you can check those out on emuonline.  I think people did pretty good on this project– good job!
  • I explain here the process of revising the major projects for a better grade.  It’s also explained in the syllabus, too.
  • Hopefully folks are getting close to done with these movies….

Posted in Uncategorized.

Working on your videos, Style part 2, and what folks thought about peer review

First off, my apologies for this being a little later than I had intended.  One thing after another, etc.

But the nice thing is that all of you are first and foremost (hopefully) working on your movie making projects.  I want to point out that on the schedule, the main thing going on right now this week and next week is time I have set aside for you to work on your collaborative video projects.  I do that on purpose because I know you all need time to coordinate meeting with each (in person and/or online), you need time to edit the project, etc.

But do use that time wisely!  As I point out on the schedule, ideally groups will have their videos posted on the class web site and ready for review before Thanksgiving break and we’ll talk about them on the Monday after break, too.

Speaking of using time wisely:  Style part 2 is due on Monday!  The dropbox for this unit is already set up– that is, it’s the same one that you used for Style part 1.  So what you want to do is return to that dropbox space and post the link to the Google doc version of your revised (based on peer review, that is) Style part 2 project, just like you’ve done before.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Finally about peer review.  For the most part, it seems like the process went better this third time, which isn’t that surprising to me.  Here are a few interesting observations from your blogs on this point:

in all honesty, I loved doing editing for the style project. both of the other projects in my group were great concepts and well done, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. I felt that there wasn’t even much editing to do because people put so much thought into their concepts that they carried themselves really well. also, I think we’ve all grown accustomed to working with google docs and therefore editing with it has been easier. my brother recently sent me a paper to edit on gdocs, and I was actually really mad at  him for not setting it so that I could edit it. I had to email him and tell him how to do it, which is ironic because only a few months ago I had no clue gdocs even existed. it was frustrating that my formatting didn’t come out quite as planned with gdocs, but I’m going to work with it and try to make it still look how I wanted it.

I think this is great because remember one of the reasons we’re using Google Docs is because one of the charges of this class is to teach/expose you to/get you to practice with technologies that might be useful for both writing and teaching.  So for me, this comment makes me feel like I’ve accomplished at least a part of my mission!

This peer review was my best one so far. I don’t know if it was because the project was a fun/ny one, or if it was the people in my peer review group, but this review was smooth. My two peers and I really got down to the nitty-gritty on this review, but I think that was because we all had really well-done drafts. I know at least for myself that my last two papers I was not as far along when the peer review came about. We all had really solid starts to our drafts this time, and really solid ideas as well. All of us chose topics that were fun, and that we enjoy, and that made me enjoy reading my peers drafts, and giving them feedback.

I could definitely feel a difference with the peer review process this time around. I felt more comfortable with Google docs, with saying positive and negative things, and just diving into the process with more abandon. I enjoyed asking questions and trying to point out areas that I thought needed clarification and I looked forward to receiving feedback from my reviewers. This time around, I engaged in more dialogue-like conversations with my peer review group. For example, I asked a question about an area of Megan’s guide that I didn’t understand. She explained what she meant and asked how she could make it more clear to me. So, I went back into her document and offered additional thoughts. Other times, all 3 members of my group commented on the same element and had a conversation about it. It just felt more natural in a way.

For me, both of these comments are speaking about the familiarity with Google docs (and of course the more you use a tool, the better you are going to be at it), and also about the familiarity with each other and the process of peer review.  Again, this fits with past experiences for me:  it’s a lot easier to do peer review after some practice and after you know your peers better.  And it also helps that this is one of the assignments that I think students get into because of the nature of the assignment and where we’re at in the class.

But not everybody thought this peer review was great, and I thought that one comment kind of summed up one of the reasons why that might be the case for some:

I kinda feel like every peer review has been the same for me. Some advice was good, other advice wasn’t. I do feel as if peer review is helpful and necessary, but sometimes people don’t care enough to edit each others paper lol.

Here’s the thing:  as a teacher, there’s lots of stuff I can do to try to get you to learn things in this class.  But one thing I can’t do– at least not automatically– is make you care.  And if you don’t care, well, there’s not much I can do.  So I guess what I would say is (along with everything else we’ve talked about in terms of peer review and such) you’ve got to find a reason to care.

Posted in Class Assignments.

Discussing Michael Wesch’s “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”

The reading and discussion for this unit is a little different. First, I want you to skim through/read through the the essays by Alexandra Juhasz, “Why Not (To) Teach On YouTube” and Daniel Anderson, “The Low Bridge to High Benefits: Entry-Level Multimedia, Literacies, and Motivation.” (eReserves). But we’ll talk about them later! The idea is that discussing the readings will make more sense after you and your group members are well on their way to finishing up the movies.

In the meantime, watch this YouTube video by Michael Wesch (and be aware that it is about an hour long):

This is one of those things I have returned to quite a few times the last couple years, and it generally is “a hit” with students.  I think this is fairly straight-forward, well-done, and very interesting video that covers a lot of territory about teaching and about some of the implications of YouTube.  Among other things, he discusses the culture of YouTube (not just what but who is YouTube?), community, authenticity, and viral video.  Wesch is actually an anthropologist, but I think the sorts of things he’s talking about here are important to think about as we expand the places and means of writing.

If the link above doesn’t work, try this link to the YouTube page.

Posted in Class Assignments, Class Readings.