The extended blogging hiatus below was sponsored by: an article deadline, a conference presentation, a visiting speaker, the letter W (for “what was I thinking?!!), and the number 4 (the average number of hours of sleep I got over the past two weeks).
For the past few weeks, with all of this activity, my constant refrain has been the one I borrowed from Jarhead: “Welcome to the suck.” And suck it did; too much to do, too little time to do it. Produce very polished writing and synthesize complicated arguments from research in film studies, composition pedagogy, and new media theory, and do it fast. Meanwhile, come up with a smart but conversational ditty on the translation of blogosphere protocols into the classroom, and then go and see what other people in comp/rhet are saying about the digital world. Finally, organize a set of activities to entertain your visitor, and strike the perfect note between professional and friendly. In short, the goals of the term boiled down to this: think smart; write well; talk pretty; socialize comfortably. Or, as I kept telling myself: don’t be an ass.
I’m not sure that I succeeded on that final front, but now that I’ve caught up on some sleep, I realize why it’s worth running the academic gauntlet. I’ve got so many new ideas running around in my head right now, I can’t wait to peruse them at my leisure. Here are my top three: how would we characterize the aesthetics of YouTube, and what are the pedagogical implications of this? If the retrieval of information is shifting radically (from hierarchical to folksonomy), what are the author’s new responsibilities for positioning his/her work? In what ways is convergence culture restructuring the boundaries of taste as a means of filtering information?
Not that I can address any of these right now, but they’re certainly the highlights of getting through some of my own research, seeing a great panel at the CCCC, and reading excerpts from Jim Collins’ new book. Hooray for new and exciting ideas!
And now, back to grading…