Streaming New Media — CCCC 2009 — Session A31

  • Bonnnie Kyburz [I arrived a few minutes late, so if she gave a specific paper title, I missed it.]
  • Cheryl Ball, “B-Movie Virgin Sacrifice: Digital Scholarship in a Print-Tenure World”
  • Michael Salvo “New Media Is/Are not Island(s) : Emplacing New Media in Communities for Use”

Take-away message for me: When I first began teaching HTML authoring, students were so proud that they got something online — ANYTHING online — that they weren’t really ready for constructive criticism. I’ve tried to counter that by building more peer-critiquing into the course, with an early assignment that asks them to critique professional websites, and a cautionary reading that reminds students not to be dismissive or rude when they criticize the professionals, because adopting a sneering superiority is not the same thing as developing critical thinking skills.) So I should embrace the good learning that is taking place when students notice the gap between their tastes and their ability to produce. Can we afford to presume that our tenure and promotion committees will recognize this dynamic?

What follows are my rough notes, lightly edited, with my own comments and reflections set off by square brackets.

Bonnnie Kyburz

Began by referring to her own volunteer work at the Sundance Film Festvial.

Kyburz documented documented M. Dot Strange’s work on his next film, Heartstring Marionette, but he got too busy to meet with her, so she broadened her film to a study of DIY film-making, parallels we may have about working with our own students about new media projects. The extent we can honor their conventional or non conventional ways to present their arguments. The extent to which we can give up our control when we introduce new media…. . Punk attitude about getting it done.

Showed clips from “We are the Strange” which was accepted at Sundance but was poorly received there

Quotes from Variety and Wired, among others, presented in order to indicate the distance between the Sundance establishment and the YouTube, new-media-savvy “fanboy” audience that gushed over the film at every step of the way.

Notes the film “Tarnation,” produced for a few hundred dollars, but requiring $400,000 for clearances and distribution and editing for official screenings.

Geoff Sirc — on Punk reversing the university’s process of turning a student’s life experience into nothing, and instead turning nothing into something.

Cheryl Ball, “B-Movie Virgin Sacrifice: Digital Scholarship in a Print-Tenure World”

Wants to go up for tenure using an all-digital portfolio. “This video… isn’t really for you…. But I need you.” We are to critique her draft of a tenure portfolio.

[Some passages of the video she will present with her tenure package have a voice-over of her reading blocks of text far too quickly for me to follow. I’m not sure what we gained from watching some of the video that played during these prosy passages, but perhaps if I were internally invested in the tenure structure at her school, I would be able to draw on that knowledge to contextualize the prosy bits.]

Corkboard and letters translate traditional print media to online media.

[Noted the importance of showing the benefit of all this hard work… but our students don’t always see the difference between work and “effort”. Our students say “But I worked so hard!” and expect, or at least behave as if they expect, praise for “working hard” — even in a class where the assessment focuses clearly on product.]

Cheryl got a good laugh regarding the suggestion of a few changes in the tenure application guidelines for her university. (The slide showed red marks all over the text.)

During the Q and A, when Michael Day asked Cheryl about her concerns that her tenure readers will find stuff online that’s formative or “messy,” Cheryl said: “If my tenure readers Google me and find something that’s not in my portfolio, I’m happy, because at least they’re freakin’ online.”

Michael Salvo “New Media Is/Are not Island(s) : Emplacing New Media in Communities for Use”

“I’m the ‘so what’ guy” – showing student work. Students came up with gorgeous website for Tippecanoe County design, because folks were “scared” of a visual-heavy interface. (What about accessibility issues?)

Began with overview of the educational setting for this student work: a history of Indiana, class worked on the area for visitors, scholars, citizens in 21st c. Saught sustainable collaboration with a local non-profit. On the one hand, wanted to provde service-learning students with exposure to real rhetorical situations and real-world clients. Some community partners had already grown weary of students who worked to class expectations, not the organization needs. Project involved 2 faculty members , several grad students, 7 interns, 24+ undergrads.

Digital representation of historical materials, creating multimedia resources (“Ken Burns effect”).

Showed clips illustrating the generic forms that the students developed.

Walked us through the standard introduction (with a music cue), the body that sets up the world in which she places us a listeners; historical content enlivened with details from student’s live; close – repeat the shared music and repeat the source.

Problems – tastes outstripped productive capacity.

[This was the take-away message for me. When I first began teaching HTML authoring, students were so proud that they got something online — ANYTHING online — that they weren’t really ready for constructive criticism. I’ve tried to counter that by building more peer-critiquing into the course, with an early assignment that asks them to critique professional websites, and a cautionary reading that reminds students not to be dismissive or rude when they criticize the professionals, because adopting a sneering superiority is not the same thing as developing critical thinking skills.) So I should embrace the good learning that is taking place when students notice the gap between their tastes and their ability to produce.]

You get into something because you love it. You have really good taste, but for the first few years what you’re making isn’t as good as your taste. Your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is still sort of a disappointment. People too often quit at that phase where they know it doesn’t meet their high expectations.