May 9, 2006

Look Ma! I'm Podcasting!

An archive of our Oral Memoirs is compiled here in mp3 format:

mitch.mp3 7:20 10.1 MB
megh.mp3 5:48 8.0 MB
katie.mp3 4:58 6.9 MB
cyndy.mp3 3:50 5.3 MB
aaron.mp3 4:08 5.7 MB
talia.mp3 3:59 5.5 MB
mikee.mp3 3:53 5.0 MB
joe.mp3 6:24 8.9 MB
carolyn.mp3 4:38 6.4 MB
tim.mp3 7:00 9.7 MB
renata.mp3 3:58 5.5 MB
mikec.mp3 7:27 10.3 MB
kristi.mp3 2:37 3.6 MB
sovanneary.mp3 4:33 6.3 MB
jena.mp3 4:05 5.7 MB
kelley.mp3 4:19 6.0 MB
blake.mp3 4:17 5.9 MB
miguel.mp3 4:42 6.5 MB

Posted by ogde0004 at 10:31 AM

February 14, 2006

Project Blogroll

Entrance into a new technology necessitates exposure to jargon. To the extent that we can keep track of that jargon and remember what the host of acronyms, coinages, and technical appropriations mean, we can keep up with a technological discourse community. Today’s word is “blogroll.? I first thought it would be some sort of virtual marriage between blogging and lumberjacking, but I was dead wrong. A blogroll is simply a list of URLs (Uniform Resource Locators, aka web addresses) that you can post on your blog. It keeps favorite web haunts handy—for the blogger and her readers.

To facilitate the Public Project Support Community (PPSC) in our class, I’ve posted blog URLs for each student in my new blogroll. They appear in the right hand column below the "Recent Posts" heading (though I'd like to bump it towards the top if I can figure it out). Now it's easy to see what people are doing for their public projects and to keep ideas circulating. Slick.

Posted by ogde0004 at 10:31 AM

February 9, 2006

A Public Project

I've asked you (EngL 3741 students) to set up a blog and to post your initial and tentative ideas for your public project this semester. I thought I might just muse on what I would do if I was in your position. Maybe it will help seed some ideas. Maybe it's just my way of indulging in my own assignment.

Oral Histories
Reading Kozol's chapter on oral histories reminds me of a project I began at the Jane Addams School for Democracy a few years ago. We designed an oral history project that gave youth the opportunity to collect oral histories from their parents, grandparents, or other community members they knew well. We tried a few in the summer of 2002, but the model needed adjustment and schedules fell apart before we could tinker. A great public project would be to work with one or two high school students who participate at Jane Addams and who are interested in oral histories. We could meet for a few minutes each week to check in. We could find transcribers and translators. We could make simple booklets first and then look for other publication opportunities.

Multipurpose Participant Narratives
Another great public project would be collecting anecdotes and narratives from the participants at my site. With permission from the contributors and the appropriate anonymity, those narratives could have lots of different uses. The organization could include them in their grants applications and annual reports to funders. Perhaps they could comprise a very personal orientation booklet to newcomers. Instead of reading just facts & figures and protocols & policies they could "meet the people" they'll be working with. To make it more accessible, I could also capture those anecdotes in audio format and make a CD. In any case, I could create a repository of such honest comments for the organization to use in a variety of ways.

I've noticed that a lot of literacy spaces have poor signage. Newcomers are quickly disoriented and disheartened. I've always been a wannabe graphic designer. A little well-designed signage could go a long way to welcoming and directing people, creating a stylish and appealing image, and dressing up otherwise drab spaces. Perhaps the organization has a modest budget for the signs—or perhaps I'd need to do a little fundraising. In any case, I'm not talking about magic marker on white posterboard. Nothing so ghetto as that. These need to be beautiful, professional quality signs that give respectability to a respectable organization. Thinking about issues of translation and literacy, I bet I could design iconic images to accompany the texts directing people to the different areas of the building and the different programs. These images could become part of the organization's "branding."

These are just a few project ideas that immediately struck me. They all need shaping and scaling to make them purposeful and feasible for the time and resources available. This is just one way you might start to describe possible projects. You might create longer lists with less detail. You might make a list elsewhere—offline—and elaborate on the most promising idea at length. Choose the format that helps you move towards a sound idea.

Posted by ogde0004 at 8:00 PM

November 9, 2005

Course Description: Literacy and American Cultural Diversity

Although we practice literacy on a constant, recurring basis (I am doing it now. You are too.), we generally neglect a serious investigation of it. Literacy is tacitly assumed for (and practiced by) the intended audience of this course description. Illiteracy is cast as a problem that is remote from a world class American university—the problem of the "third world"—and its far-reaching politics and its proximity to our everyday lives are ignored. This course contemplates "literacy" with its manifold definitions and metaphorical analogues (e.g. "computer literacy" and "visual literacy") and attempts to reconcile the disjunction between the literacies we know and practice, the literacies we teach and are taught, and the literacies social systems and institutions demand.

We will take up our serious investigation of literacy through texts that demonstrate its complexity and importance theoretically, aesthetically, and personally. Our public literacy work (the service learning component) will be a central experiential "text" that we read/write over and over again to understand literacy in particularly poignant ways. We will acquaint ourselves with diverse literacy practices in diverse cultural contexts that include race, religion, immigration, technology, language, vocation, gender, education, politics, and place (the wilderness, the farm, the suburbs, the city).

We will write a literacy autoanalysis, a brief public work memoir (to be read aloud), and a hypertextual weblog (blog). We will collect a literacy commonplace/scrap book. We will create individualized final projects that respond to our personal interests and investments in literacy. We will contribute 30 hours of literacy work with/in a local community organization. We will finally live our literacy.

Posted by ogde0004 at 3:51 PM