Work with Readings
Please share 1-2 passages/quotes you’d like us to consider from the reading each week and pose 1-2 questions about the reading by 5:00pm on Wednesdays (an hour before class). We’ll use the questions to guide our discussions. We’ll create a shared Google Doc for each week’s readings.
We will also have guest bloggers each week, so that we have a semester’s tracing of the ideas in the class. Bloggers should summarize the week’s reading, highlight interesting ideas from our discussions, pose more questions. I’ve assigned people on the calendar, but feel free to trade weeks. Everyone will blog for week seven when we work on synthesis. Email Kim your post and I’ll upload it to our course site. Due Sunday night the week you’re assigned.
Pilot Self Study: Literacies
Due Feb 8 10%
As best you can, keep track of your reading and writing for one-two days from Jan 26-Jan 31. This will be challenging. You might keep track by taking a photo every time you switch from one literate task to a new one: from email to reading for class to posting on Instagram. Or you might keep a journal handy. As you’re tracing what you read and write, keep some notes about purpose and the ecology in which the reading and/or writing are situated. Try to keep track of time, the kind of device you use (are you reading/writing on a tablet, phone, laptop, book, paper…) etc.
Before coming to class Feb 1, organize your notes and/or images. We will work in small teams in class with our small data set: how could you quantify everyone’s literacy notes? What categories emerge? What literate activities take up the most time? What counts as a literacy?
Due March 22 20%
Sign up for a “Keyword” on the Google Doc that we create in class. Each of you will choose a different word. These words will emerge from our readings and discussions in the first few weeks of class.
Write an entry to our glossary of literacy terms. This assignment requires you to review all of the readings assigned so far and entries and postings from class members. Each entry should:
- Define it in your own words or quote from one of the articles that you think defines it well.
- Discuss its relationship to other words, synonyms and antonyms.
- Give 3 or 4 examples of how the word is used in context. Describe the idea or concept.
- Say why it is a useful or an important term for studying literacy.
- Explore questions that emerge from this word.
Due March 22. Entries should be around 500 words. Edit carefully. You’ll post on our class Google Doc and we will share with the public.
Links that may be useful:
“Technology.” Keywords for American Culture Studies by Jentery Sayers
“Culture” Excerpts from Raymond Williams.
Group Oral Exam
Reading list and questions due April 30th. Group exams week of May 1 25%
Beginning the week of May 1, I will schedule 90 minute time blocks for group oral exams. The first step in preparing for these exams is to find three or four like-minded people to be in your group. Each group will compile a joint reading list of 6-8 items and 3-4 organizing questions, which will form the basis for your oral. Here’s an example of questions and reading list (you will co-author this document). The document is due April 30th.
Proposal 5% (April 5) and Project (Draft May 10) 30%
We will negotiate what you would like to do for a larger project. I can imagine a range of ideas:
- Write a literature review using the readings from our class and/or other readings you find. This would be an opportunity to put the readings in conversation, flesh out key ideas, and make some claims about future directions for literacy research.
- Do your own small study: how does literacy function in a particular community? What role do texts play in shaping identities? What kinds of texts count? How do participants come to understand how to create texts in a particular community? (You could use Szwed’s questions as a guide.) Use this paper as a way to understand methods for doing literacy research.
- Write a paper or long-form blog that applies what you’ve learned to a new context. You could explore current arguments in digital literacies or use the paper to argue for a particular literacy definition or perspective. You can align yourself with some theorists, distance yourself from others, and you can think in terms of particular groups of students, particular contexts, and particular purposes for literacy. McWhorter’s TED talk about texting is an good example of the kind of work you could do–doing analysis of new modes and practices.
- I’m open to other ideas…propose them.
Proposal due April 5 (share in Google Doc with Kim: firstname.lastname@example.org and a peer TBA)
Draft due for feedback loops May 10
Revision due May 17