Monthly Archives: June 2008

I created a Wordle!

Who knew there was such a thing as a “wordle”?!  But I created one:

My Writing and Linguistics Wordle

Now all I have to do is find a poster-sized printer and see how it looks.  Gee, I’m SO talented!

Who knew?


Tetherless World Research Constellation

Tetherless World Research Constellation

“The Future of the World Wide Web”

RPI  6/11/08


Live Interactive Debate on the Future of the Web


More of my Notes that Don’t Make Sense

“Washington, Wikipedia, and Web 3.0: What Is the Future of the Web?”

Keynote by Tim Berners-Lee


Putting courses online, as MIT, has done — can’t be used as a research library,”each course is one person’s journey” Tim Berners-Lee about online courses.


Kindergarten teaches values which is not necessarily tied to technology.  By the time the students are in 12th grade, they are teaching us.  We learn from our students.


Information on the Web (e.g., Wikipedia) is not free—since we pay for connectivity.  


Scale-free (?)


There will always be boundaries and people pushing against them.


Text-based protocols the system will carry everything you can read or write.  In some ways there are no limits.  Cover your body in little sequins where each one is a little Web cam, and every pixel in a room corresponds to a little sequin on your body…..  Ha ha


Semantic web scaling of ontologies—who is going to write them all?  A few are public and used by a large number of people and are cheap to make.  Design a system with scale-free web of ontologies, then it all works.


Design semantic web as system of connected communities, it will work because it is designed for a scale-free system in a scale-free world. 


Read/Write/Web Future of the Web

Panelists: Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Nova Spivack, Deborah McGuinness (Moderator), James Hendler (Moderator)

Nova Spivack

What is the incentive for people to include semantics in the structure of their Web site?  Is the semantic Web a dream? 

Yes!  As the amount of information explodes, the problem gets exponentially harder to solve.  Burden of thinking on programmers to anticipate problems.  Semantic Web approach puts the burden on the data itself, instead of making smarter software.  Creates a knowledge commons, where anyone can add data about data. Create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Technical and social challenges – getting people to agree on vocabulary to describe a domain of knowledge; storing and querying data in scalable fashion.  But, is there an alternative? Can you imagine a future without the notion of the semantic Web?  Information is increasing vastly faster than our information processing capacity.  We could use large numbers of people to make sense of the information, but that approach is not scalable.  So you need some way of making sense of this data that doesn’t rely on AI or on human intelligence.  So we need to embody the information necessary to understand the data in the data itself.

Nigel Shadbolt

How does AI fit into the future of the Web?

Most people think it’s a failed project.  In fact, the Web took a long time to come to the attention of people working in AI. Along the way, we have discovered algorithms that can do many, many things–the inventory of successes in AI are great.  I think what we’re going to see is the use of ideas and concepts of AI in a much reduced form operating in ways we never imagined.  These working at global scale have very interesting properties.  What I see emerging is this large, collective social fabric of the web of people, a developing ecology of task-achieving programs. We have these systems starting to appear now.  Still essentially people-driven, a very different kind of AI.  Reverse the letters, IA – Intelligence augmentation.

Wendy Hall

What about the multi-lingual Internet? Will this create a multicultural mosaic or a Tower of Babel?

There’s a whole huge Chinese Web that we (the English speaking public) never see.  220 million Internet users in China, about to overtake the number of Internet users we have in U.S., but that’s only 16% of the population.  But they use mobile phones to access the Web.  That will make Chinese the dominant language on the Web.  Of course, some English language sites on the Web can’t be seen by the Chinese, because their government has barred these sites.  The regulatory layer determines very much what happens.  Educating governments all over the world as to what they’re dealing with when they bring legislation into this area because our contention is that most people don’t understand what the Web is and how it’s regulated and what they do.  Not just language but social context, in other words.  YouTube is a huge hub in the Web, so when Pakistan tried to take out YouTube, they didn’t realize the tremendous interconnectedness of what they’re dealing with.  Communication to break down barriers.  We’re already living in a fragmented Web, and dealing with that is not just about teaching everybody English which is what we did in the old empire days.

See more questions and discussion at

The Last Day at C&W 2008

May 25, 2008

Well, it was the last day of the conference, but it was just as exciting as the first day.  Unfortunately, my notes are still a mess, but here they are anyway.

Tony Atkins:  Defining “Technological Literacy”:

  • How files work
  • File extensions
  • Internet protocols
  • etc.

“Students can follow the instructions and tutorials to successfully use new applications in isolation, but [they] often stumble in completing the assigned projects because they do not understand fundamental principles about how computers, the Internet, operating systems, and related technologies function.”

In his research project, he asks students the following four questions:

  1. Explain the process of moving a Word document from the My Documents folder to your USB drive.
  2. Describe what the Internet is and how it works.
  3. What happens technically when you access a website through a browser such as Internet Explorer and view the site on your computer?
  4. What types of files can comprise a typical website and how do the different types of files relate to and interact with each other?

He then discussed how models, metaphors, and analogies can be useful in helping students to understand technology, but I’ll let you ask him if you want to know more!

Jennifer Bowie: Podcasting Resources

From “The Five Canons, Audience, and Earbuds: Adding Podcasting to the Computers & Writing Classroom” by Jennifer L. Bowie.

Applying the 5 canons of rhetoric to podcasting.  Some resources she suggests:

  • Podcasting for Dummies by Evo GTerra & Tee Morris
  • Tricks of the Podcasting Masters by Mur Lafferty & Rob Walch
  • Dangler, et al.  “Expanding Composition Audiences with Podcasting,”
  • “Podsafe music” – 
  • WordPress blog’s “podpress” option (I’ve GOT to check this one out, right?)

In an upper-level class, teams of 2-3 students composed weekly podcast reviews/summaries of assigned readings, class discussion, etc.  Podcasts could also be used for peer review or for professor’s responses to students.

Of course, she presented more resources, but, again, you’ll have to ask her for them!

Martine Courant Rife:

Discourse-based interviews using audio recorder and open source transcription software –  

IP issues for writers and tacit knowledge.  Check out

* * *

More “I have no idea what they refer to” notes:

Hmmm, well, I enjoyed the conference, and, once again, I returned to the “real world” of Statesboro with all kinds of ideas.  Maybe I’ll even remember what some of them were!

More Randomness from C&W 2008

May 24, 2008

More random notes (I wish I could remember more!).

Keynote Address by Kathleen Yancey, “Inventing the Self, Co-Inventing the University: Electronic Portfolios, New Composings, and the 21st Century University”

  • Model One: “Stickiness”
  • Model Two: Assessment
  • Model Three: “Integrative” Learning
  • Model Four: The Future

Mark Twain: “Why  not go out on a limb? that’s where the fruit is.”

Association of American Colleges and Universities: “VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education,”



  • Blogger, Google – Free, but proprietary
  • WordPress – open source
  • typepad – for-pay


  • Critical technological literacy, a la Selfe et al.

Student resistance to C&Wers “jumping on the Wiki bandwagon”

* * *


  • Sharepoint ePortfolio
  • Writing community (students)
  • Teaching community (teachers)

Taylor Mitchell & James Ricci

Me:  Ideas

No, I didn’t present anything.  These were just random thoughts in my random notes:

  • Course idea? LILAC post? “Wikipedia is a Wiki, too!”
  • For LILAC : develop surveymonkey surveys – teachers, students, librarians
  • Ongoing project: Anthony Atkins, GRN book (David Blakesley, Parlor Press?).  Invite articles; proceeds donated to GRN Travel Grant Fund.
  • With Angela Haas?  Video “book” – GRN 10th aniversary (or Kairos special issue?)
  • GRN Online 2009 – Angela and Mialisa and CarlC?  Facebook GRN!

Okay, so if anyone has any idea what my notes are about, let me know!

University nixes web access during class

“University of Chicago Law School officials have a simple message for their students: less web surfing, more listening.

“The school announced April 11 that the distractions afforded by wireless internet access no longer will be available during class time, although laptops still will be permitted for note taking.

See more:

Random Notes from the 2008 Computers and Writing Conference

I wish I could say I was organized enough to have taken organized notes at this wonderful conference.  I can’t, I wasn’t, I didn’t.  I jotted down some VERY messy thoughts/notes on my calendar throughout the conference, and most of them I now have no idea to what they referred!  Nonetheless, I’m going to try to make at least a little bit sense out of them here, if only so I can remember some of it.

Let’s see, I have just a few very cryptic notes from Jay David Bolter’s keynote speech on May 23, 2008.  I’ll jot them down here, and maybe if someone has better notes, they can tell me why I wrote down these notes….

May 23, 2008

  • “augmented reality”
  • “YouTube as postmodern television”
  • combine physical and virtual
  • “casual gaming”
  • “locative poetry”

Then, I have some notes about books/software/other things I wanted to check out:

  1. Ian Bogust, Persuasive Games
  2. Fatworld (games created by Bogust)
  3. September 12, (political game by Georgia Tech Student?)
  4. Jerome McGann, Radiant Technology (literature after the WWW?)
  5. Game: Facade (AR Facade), by Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern, Blair MacIntyre, Steven Dow

Hmmm, there’s also a reminder here that Charlie Lowe promised to meet me and my students via Skype sometime in the fall to talk about open source issues.  And, oh, yeah, I promised to email Kathi Yancey with information about

  1. Advertising in the 2009 Graduate Research Network program, and
  2. The Georgia Conference on Information Literacy.

Hmmm, I better do that right now.  BRB….

* * *

Okay, I’m back.  I attended a session during the afternoon about digital scholarship.  Cheryl Ball presented an interesting continuum that I drew in my notes, but I have NO idea how to draw it here….  I liked the way she contrasted print and multimodal; private and public; scholarly and creative; and social and personal.  Maybe, if anyone is reading this, they could ask her to send me a copy of her diagram to post here?  Or maybe not–it will probably be published (soon?) in the online journal, Kairos, anyway!

So, then Virginia Kuhn presented a rubric, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was a rubric for:

  • Controlling idea
  • Research component
  • form//content
  • creative realization

Anyone?  Well, luckily, I also wrote down a URL from her talk:  Hopefully, there’s more information there!  Virginia Kuhn has been working with the Institute for the Future of the Book ( though the Web site appears to be down at this time–let me know if anyone can find it!), developers of Sophie (, “software for writing and reading rich media documents in a networked environment.”

So, then I attended Annette Vee’s presentation on “proceduracy” and literacy (defining literacy as technologically mediated, e.g., writing itself is a technology.  Of course, this is a subject near and dear to my heart, so I made a cryptic note to myself to try and find that TV show I saw the other day where a 65-year-old couple got cochlear implants and could hear for the first time in their lives.(1)  Although they were both extremely literate in “English” textually, in ASL, and lip reading, they were unable to even repeat what they heard (let alone understand it) when people talked if they couldn’t see their lips, even though post-op, they could now hear.  It would take years, they said, for them to develop the ability to recognize heard language.  What does this say about oral/aural literacies? 

Anyway, so Vee sees the “computer as more than just a black box” I had to think a moment about age-ism here; computers were ALWAYS beige–until recently!  This 21st century color change…. Hmmm…. How does our age reflect how we envision a “computer” in our imagination?  I have a little “game” I play with students sometimes, when I’m encouraging them to write with more concrete language, that seems apropos here.  I tell them “I see a bird.”  Then I ask them to tell me what the bird looks like, what kind of bird it is.  Finally, I tell them “I see a big, yellow bird”–and those who are old enough to remember Sesame Street (is it still around?) finally see Big Bird, too!  (No, I’m NOT on drugs…).  So, when we envision a “computer,” what do we see?  (I see a big, beige, metal and plastic monstrosity? Or I see a sleek and thin laptop? Or I see a chip implanted in someone’s brain?  Or….?)

Okay, this blog is long enough.  Maybe I’ll post more of my notes from the conference later.  Or maybe not.  🙂

1.  Dir. Irene Taylor Brodsky.  “Hear and Now.”  2007.