I Never Could Stand Goodbyes, Baby.

What a course to go out on.

This class was out of my comfort zone. As a medievalist surrounded by compositionists, I felt like the proverbial “fish out of water,” but despite this, I also felt like (to carry the metaphor) my little fishy fins got a nice grip on the dirt. Ooh, that was rough. Whatever, bear with me.

Anyway, I honestly had no idea what composition was really about until I took this class. I kind of thought it was just “teaching students how to write.” Boy, was I wrong. It’s so much more than that, and our discussions in class helped me to see all the big issues in the field– and there are plenty, and there is plenty to talk and think about. I felt so lucky to be surrounded by people who could contribute so much to the class. Renee and Adam with their public school experience; Lauren C. with her genre theories; Trisha’s work with disadvantaged kids (and murder networks!); Peter’s vast knowledge of rhetoric; Kerry’s careful notes and technical insight; UnLauren’s fascination with old technology (who could forget the Pocket Edge?); and Justin’s always-pragmatic fascination with pedagogy.  (Did I forget anyone?  I am quite sure I didn’t, but if I did, you may flog me with a wet noodle.)

At the risk of disappointing everyone/surprising no one, I feel that I am a satisfied observer. Instead of talking about my future in the academy, I’ll say how much I liked the stuff we did in class. Annette’s exercise with the paper clips and iPad and magazines was creative and fun. Kerry’s index card exercise was really awesome and got us all thinking and discussing and noticing connections in a way that maybe we couldn’t or didn’t when we were just talking. Learning about Prezi and Wordle and Extranormal was awesome and exciting, and I loved playing with Trisha and Kerry and Lauren C’s blocks.  And everyone was so creative with their presentations! The audio essays were so fun and I think we all learned a lot– me especially! I’ve never done an assignment like that in graduate school and I really appreciated that branching-out.

So overall, hey, thumbs up, bros and ladybros. Thanks for being awesome and smart and teaching me lots of things and having fun with me.

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One Response to I Never Could Stand Goodbyes, Baby.

  1. reb50 says:

    I remember thinking during our first meeting in January that the word of this class was going to be “space”; this conclusion was drawn after we had circled the room introducing our personal interests in the field. I think I was correct, but I wasn’t prepared for all the different spaces into which our classes would seep, both in content and physicality. While the space in which we met was in flux in the latter part of the term, of greater interest to me in this moment of reflection are the thematic spaces into which we crawled, leapt, and were (at times) hurled.

    There seem to be few spaces in which literacy does not have an impact. Orality, print, technology, digital spaces, visual signs…and the absence of literacy in any facet of life has devastating ramifications. As Ong suggests, it’s almost deviant because you lack what is required if you are illiterate. Material spaces and materiality play a much heavier role in literacy than I ever realize, as described by Eisenstein and others. Many of our readings and ideas were vividly connected to physical space, including urban settings, the poor South, and classrooms of different types. As we moved closer to the end of the semester, we focused more intensely on digital spaces, online social networks, e-publishing, and video games, among others. If we consider temporal spaces as well, these debates have left their imprint throughout history, from Plato in antiquity through the French Revolution and “Why Johnny Can’t Write” in the 1970s.

    I enjoyed the historical perspective this course offered: the simple idea of the creation of the pencil and the anthropological envelopes, among those we encountered. It was helpful to see where the push for multimodality originated (or at least some of the voices of that initial push). Like Kate, I am not a compositionist (I’m not really an anything, so I suppose that makes me a generalist), so the majority of what this course offered was new and challenging to me. But unlike many courses I’ve taken, the content spoke immediately to my space as well, a teacher space. It is difficult to offer enough breadth to speak to our various spaces of interest while still maintaining the depth that graduate programs need, and I think this course hit a balance that eludes many other seminars. I too would like to thank the members of the class for their patience and insights that made this class so profitable for me, and of course, thank you to our professor. She opened thematic and physical spaces (her home included) in order to create a very enriching class.