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Stand and Deliver

Thanks everyone for the kind words about the Kairos award...

Today was presentation day in my graduate class, which meant that all of the students showed off the concept maps that I asked them to complete as part of the reqs for the course, as explained a few weeks back. Not to gush or anything, but I was really happy with the results. Derek used Flickr to port his map, so you can take a look at one example, and I'll link to others if and when they show up online.

One of the things that I hadn't really anticipated was the degree to which the maps would vary depending on where in their projects each of the students was. I should have figured on this, because it makes perfect sense that the assignment could be used to accomplish different things depending on context, but it was still a smack-me-in-the-forehead moment for me. Some of the maps were fairly well-defined because they were drawing on a bounded set of texts, and the mappers were using the project to define/determine patterns among their sources. The more open-ended maps tended to emerge from projects that weren't perhaps as far along, and so they functioned in a more exploratory fashion, helping the mapper(s) locate the various scholarly conversations (and their own positions within it). Neither type is necessarily good or bad--I thought that they were, to a person, appropriate given the stage of the mapper's research and writing. And so the range of maps corresponded, I'm guessing, to the range of essays that we'll be reading and workshopping over the next three class sessions.

Anyhow, I'm happy enough with this assignment that I'll probably adapt it for the course that I'm teaching in the fall, which is our "Intro to the Field" course for our incoming cohort of graduate students. This may be me projecting my optimism a little, but I feel like this assignment really helped each student develop a better sense of their project and where it might enter into academic conversations. If I use it this fall, it'll be a more exploratory kind of assignment, but I'm convinced that it's worthwhile...


Way cool to get the Kairos award. Way to do the right thing and get an award for it, too.

Thanks for the book and the funny card. They came today. Started reading the Holmes story today at chemo, so this one will wait a week or so.

Look forward to your coming, as always. You're too far away.

So if I retake the intro course (that you're teaching in the fall), can I drop one of my other requirements (tee hee)? I completely dug the mapping assignment, although I do feel like I didn't extend it far enough into the texts I used for the essay -- it sort of stopped at the author/topic/theme. And now you've got me thinking how I can adapt a mapping exercise to the writing activities in WRT 407.