Saturday, February 12, 2011

Blog reflection: I found the title box!

Since I am fond of academic epistemologies, for all their revelations and complications, I want to reflect on my blog in terms affordances. I would presume that the goal of having a blog assignment is to—in some sense—mimic the practice of the Elbow’s freewrite, but what new affordances does the blog offer me in order to communicate more affectively?

In the blog I am able to express my thoughts on the readings in alphabetic form, which allowed me to express my views without having to consider writing as just a product and a grade. Although we are being graded, the blog encourages me to write for more than just an assignment, I am writing for a broader audience. My audience is Dr. Rouzie, true, but also Claudia, Ashley, Amanda, John W., John H., Lana, SiYang, Matt V., and Matt N., which meant, for me, that I would need to consider everyone in that network. I feel this consideration hones my responses. I wanted very much to say something insightful and to consider the viewpoints of everyone in class. Because of this consideration, direct my responses accordingly. In terms of agency, this median affords me the opportunity to engage my peers in a place beyond the classroom as we can all collectively engage these texts through our blog compositions.

This dynamic seemed to situate me in certain ways. I play the believing and doubting game when I read the articles. I asked questions of them. I considered everything I have learned during my short time at OU as well as my education up until this point. I try to refine my understanding of what it is to compose as well as understand what it is to compose with new media and with multi-modalities. But in writing responses for the blogosphere, I am afforded the ability to see that some of my classmates share my concerns. I find through them some of the answers to my questions. I find through them new questions to ask. Thus, everything I write is not just the product just my interaction with the text, but the product of the interaction between the texts, my peers and myself, afforded through network that is the blog.

The blog afforded me the capability to consider a tremendous amount of scholarship in collaboration with a brilliant group of aspiring educators. I think this helped me in two ways: First, there was no need for me to rehash what was already stated, so I am often positioned to consider what the group perhaps had not, and second, if I was in consensus with my peers on an important point, then I would join the chorus of those who felt we were on to something—if both writing and repetition are important for cognition, and I would argue they are, then this helps us to really grasp the concepts offered by the readings.

I was also afforded the ability to bring in new material with hyperlinks. As I mentioned before, I consider my own lived experiences and education up until this point and attempt to make connection between my previous literacies and the new scholarship shared with us by Dr. Rouzie. But hyperlinks allow me to bring in outside material by allowing a quick reference to the kinds of interpretive frameworks, authors and concepts that I feel rhyme with the concepts introduced in the course. I suppose it is a little bit easier for me in this way as opposed to a purely written response, as I do not make the effort to thoroughly explain cognitive psychology or problem-posing education to those who are not familiar—though I would briefly summarize—but with the hyperlink I could just reference the material and provide a link so that my audience could engage the concepts on their own time. They did not have to simply take my word for it; the only distance between them and the information is a click of the mouse. Hyper links are like my own interactive citation; they share my angle of vision while also allowing my peers to look beyond my interpretations.

But my understanding of affordances here are two fold. In considering blogs as a genre, the technology allows me to network amongst my peers for collaborative learning as well as network between my different literacies in order to expand upon class concepts. But I also used a combination of alphabetic literacy with the use of images. The images I include on my blog afford me the ability to frame the concepts I am considering. For example, the concept of apophnia is not an easy concept to explain in volumes let alone in a short paragraph. But with the toast images I was able to give a very concrete example of how we tend to misinterpret random stimuli. Could I have made this point without the image? Sure, but not without a great deal of alphabetic text to articulate the point. Worth a thousand words? I think it was, but I should ask my audience. Could I have done this without the blog? Sure, but I in all my written responses for other courses I have yet to include a single image. So maybe the blog encourages multimodality purely by virtue of its design.

This is my first blog assignment and it was not until composing this last entry that I realized how much I appreciate it. Hopefully my audience did as well. That is the point right? That we all learn something? And that we learn what this has the capability to do?

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