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A Community of Practice
In a landmark collaboration, five co-authors develop a theme of ordinary disruptions ("the everyday") as a source of provocative learning moments that can liberate both student writers and writing center staff. At the same time, the authors parlay Etienne Wenger’s concept of "community of practice" into an ethos of a dynamic, learner-centered pedagogy that is especially well-suited to the peculiar teaching situation of the writing center. They push themselves and their field toward deeper, more significant research, more self-conscious teaching.
Aesthetics and Pedagogies
From the outset, experimental writing has been viewed as a means to afford a more creative space for students to express individuality, underrepresented social realities, and criticisms of dominant sociopolitical discourses and their institutions. Yet, the recent trend toward multimedia texts has left many composition instructors with little basis from which to assess these new forms and to formulate pedagogies. In this original study, Patricia Suzanne Sullivan provides a critical history of experimental writing theory and its aesthetic foundations and demonstrates their application to current multimodal writing. Sullivan unpacks the work of major scholars in composition and rhetoric and their theories on aesthetics, particularly avant-gardism. She also relates the dialectics that shape these aesthetics and sheds new light on both the positive and negative aspects of experimental writing and its attempts to redefine the writing disciplines. Additionally, she shows how current debates over the value of multimedia texts echo earlier arguments that pitted experimental writing against traditional models. Sullivan articulates the ways that multimedia is and isn’t changing composition pedagogies and provides insights into resolving these tensions.
Sites, Issues, Perspectives
Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda have created an essential introduction to the field of composition studies for graduate students and instructors new to the study of writing. The book offers a careful exploration of this diverse field, focusing specifically on scholarship of writing and composing. Within this territory, the authors draw the boundaries broadly, to include allied sites of research such as professional and technical writing, writing across the curriculum programs, writing centers, and writing program administration. Importantly, they represent composition as a dynamic, eclectic field, influenced by factors both within the academy and without. The editors and their sixteen seasoned contributors have created a comprehensive and thoughtful exploration of composition studies as it stands in the early twenty-first century. Given the rapid growth of this field and the evolution of it research and pedagogical agendas over even the last ten years, this multi-vocal introduction is long overdue.
Advancing the Research Agenda
Exploring the C-SPAN Archives is a collection of path-breaking research studies that use video drawn from the C-SPAN Archives. The book, based on the papers presented at a November 2014 conference, includes chapters that explore issues in presidential debates, minority representation, the presentation of the first ladies, stem research, and innovative ways to analyze video. The book is divided into five parts: Part 1 consists of an overview of and common scholarship using the C-SPAN Archives and how this research advances the conversation after previously published studies. Featured are the ways in which the collection is indexed and tips on how individuals can find particular materials. This section is essential for increased scholarship and pragmatic applications. Part 2 contains applied research using the video collection. Topics in this section include a look at oral histories of minority members of Congress, an analysis of presidential debates, and the presentation style of Michelle Obama. Part 3 is focused on STEM research, including concepts and contradictions in the debate over STEM initiatives, expertise and evidence in science presentations in the C-SPAN Archives, and the framing of technology issues in a C-SPAN television series, The Communicators. Part 4 presents innovative research using C-SPAN and new computer technology. Two scholars take different technical approaches to evaluate polarization and communication using audio levels and video images. Finally, in Part 5, David Caputo presents ideas on the value of massive open online courses (MOOCs) using C-SPAN and reflects on the use of C-SPAN for citizen education in what he terms the “postdigital world.” Additionally, Patrice Buzzanell contributes a reflective essay on the future directions of research using the C-SPAN Archives based on the essays in this volume.
An After-School Program Built on Diversity
The significant increase in the number of working mothers over the last twenty years has led to widespread worries about the plight of “latchkey kids,” who return from school each day to empty homes. Concerned that unsupervised children might be at greater risk of delinquency, schools and communities across the nation began providing after-school activities. But many of these programs were hastily devised with little understanding of what constitutes a quality program that meets children’s developmental needs. The Fifth Dimension explores and evaluates one of the country’s most successful and innovative after-school programs, providing insightful and practical lessons about what works and doesn’t work after-school. The Fifth Dimension program was established in the 1980s as a partnership between community centers and local colleges to establish an educational after-school program. With an emphasis on diversity and computer technology, the program incorporates the latest theories about child development and gives college students the opportunity to apply their textbook understanding of child development to real learning environments. The Fifth Dimension explores the design, implementation, and evaluation of this thriving program. The authors attribute the success of the Fifth Dimension to several factors. First, the program offers a balance of intellectually enriching exercises with development enhancing games. Second, by engaging undergraduates as active participants in both learning and social activities, the program gives local community organizations a large infusion of high-quality help for their educational efforts. Third, by rewarding children for their achievements and good behavior with greater flexibility in choosing their own schedules, the Fifth Dimension acts as a powerful, enduring motivator. The Fifth Dimension program serves as a model for what an enriching after-school program can be. The product of years of innovation and careful assessment, The Fifth Dimension is a valuable resource for all who are interested in developing successful community-based learning programs.
An Insider'S Guide For New Composition Teachers
"First time up?"—an insider’s friendly question from 1960s counter-culture—perfectly captures the spirit of this book. A short, supportive, practical guide for the first-time college composition instructor, the book is upbeat, wise but friendly, casual but knowledgeable (like the voice that may have introduced you to certain other firsts). With an experiential focus rather than a theoretical one, First Time Up will be a strong addition to the newcomer’s professional library, and a great candidate for the TA practicum reading list.
Dethier, author of The Composition Instructor’s Survival Guide and From Dylan to Donne, directly addresses the common headaches, nightmares, and epiphanies of composition teaching—especially the ones that face the new teacher. And since legions of new college composition teachers are either graduate instructors (TAs) or adjuncts without a formal background in composition studies, he assumes these folks as his primary audience.
Dethier’s voice is casual, but it conveys concern, humor, experience, and reassurance to the first-timer. He addresses all major areas that graduate instructors or new adjuncts in a writing program are sure to face, from career anxiety to thoughts on grading and keeping good classroom records. Dethier’s own eclecticism is well-represented here, but he reviews with considerable deftness the value of contemporary scholarship to first-time writing instructors—many of whom will be impatient with high theory. Throughout the work, he affirms a humane, confident approach to teaching, along with a true affection for college students and for teachers just learning to deal with them.
A Fun, Quick, and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies
Through these chapters students are guided toward a working understanding of the field, learn basic terms and techniques, and learn to perceive the knowledge base and discourse frame for materials used in folklore courses. Folklore Rules will appeal to instructors and students for a variety of courses, including introductory folklore and comparative studies as well as literature, anthropology, and composition classes that include a folklore component.
An Illustrated Guide to Newton's Laws
Isaac Newton developed three laws of motion that govern the everyday world. These laws are usually presented in purely mathematical forms, but Jason Zimba breaks with tradition and treats them visually. This unique approach allows students to appreciate the conceptual underpinnings of each law before moving on to qualitative descriptions of motion and, finally, to the equations and their solutions. Zimba has organized the book into seventeen brief and well-sequenced lessons, which focus on simple, manageable topics and delve into areas that often cause students to stumble. Each lesson is followed by a set of original problems that have been student-tested and refined over twenty years. Zimba illustrates the laws with more than 350 diagrams, an innovative presentation that offers a fresh way to teach the fundamentals in introductory physics, mechanics, and kinematics courses.
The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction
Peckham argues for more clarity on the history of critical thinking, social class structures, and teacher identity, while he undertakes a skeptical look at teaching practices with which even he identifies. Critical thinking itself, Peckham suggests, is a middle-class projection, and the belief that it is linked with effective writing skills may in fact cause writing teachers to misread their students. Both the idea that argumentation is the obvious and necessary form of academic discourse and the conviction that social transformation is a purpose of the classroom need to be examined.
Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin
Guesstimation is a book that unlocks the power of approximation--it's popular mathematics rounded to the nearest power of ten! The ability to estimate is an important skill in daily life. More and more leading businesses today use estimation questions in interviews to test applicants' abilities to think on their feet. Guesstimation enables anyone with basic math and science skills to estimate virtually anything--quickly--using plausible assumptions and elementary arithmetic.
Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam present an eclectic array of estimation problems that range from devilishly simple to quite sophisticated and from serious real-world concerns to downright silly ones. How long would it take a running faucet to fill the inverted dome of the Capitol? What is the total length of all the pickles consumed in the US in one year? What are the relative merits of internal-combustion and electric cars, of coal and nuclear energy? The problems are marvelously diverse, yet the skills to solve them are the same. The authors show how easy it is to derive useful ballpark estimates by breaking complex problems into simpler, more manageable ones--and how there can be many paths to the right answer. The book is written in a question-and-answer format with lots of hints along the way. It includes a handy appendix summarizing the few formulas and basic science concepts needed, and its small size and French-fold design make it conveniently portable. Illustrated with humorous pen-and-ink sketches, Guesstimation will delight popular-math enthusiasts and is ideal for the classroom.