Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Morning Commute

Here is a shot from my morning commute. The town is Coleman, South Dakota, about twenty-five miles east of Madison. Bracketed by 65mph stretches of rt34, Coleman is a well known speed trap. The town speed limit: 35mph. Our car pool always crawls through Coleman.

Overview of a Writing Process

diagram of writing process emphasizing multi-modal generativity

Monday, August 29, 2005

Like An Old Shoe

I'm hoping that, although they may feel tight or restrictive at first, the practices I plan to assign my students will, eventually and perhaps differently for each student, come to feel as comfortable as an old shoe.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

On Multimedia Writing

"This multimedia-based model implies that writing is more than a sequence of events. Writing is the occasion for many skills and attitudes to come together for a specific purpose. Multimedia allows for loops and branching in any of the four stages described here. We recommend that writing be regarded as an interactive and iterative series of processes that come together not just for the production of written text, but also for real multimedia presentation of intellectual excitement in an increasingly rich environment."
- Jean Simard

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cha Cha Cha!

With apologies to Sam Cooke, our resident rhetorical abstractionist laments a dance floor debacle mp3 . . .

That's Our Cleo

picture of a calico cat

Cricket got her time in the spotlight, now it's Cleo's turn.

Announcing the arrival of our Olympus Camedia D-435 digital camera. Whoohoo!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

"The Joy Of Being Creative"

Dave Winer on the possible impact upon human life of the decentralized and inexpensive production and distribution of media.

Link to audio: mp3 [excerpt from "Morning Coffee Notes," May 12, 2005]

Word's Outline View

Word's Outline View

Although I don't know many people who use Microsoft Word's "outline view," this mode of Word can be useful. It amounts to a single pane outliner and can be used to organize such information as comments on student work throughout a semester (as illustrated above) or any sizeable document. Images, media clips, and subdocuments may be inserted into an outline. The outline view is accessed through Word's "View" menu.
Note: The children of parent item "Student B" have been collapsed, which is one strong reason behind outlining's appeal. Only needed information need be shown; the rest of a document can be collapsed away and restored as required.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Picasa Journal

Many know Google's Picasa program for its ability to organize, edit, and present large numbers of photos.

I can also imagine Picasa used another way: as a presentation stage for the entries in one's illustrated journal.

It works this way: students draw and write daily journal entries in Windows Journal using their tablet PCs. They save their entry in Journal's native format for editing down the road, but export a copy as a tiff image as well and save the image to their My Journals folder for Picasa to display.

If students do not have tablet PCs (and I realize rather few of them do), they could use other software, such as Draw, to create and save their entries.

In any case, the effect would be to create a "river" of entries students could view as a library or as a slideshow to encourage associations.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Test Post: Blogger for Word

I wrote this post from inside my Word 2003 word processing program. How did I do it? I installed Blogger’s new Blogger for Word add-in.

This add-in has interesting potential for my Composition classes, where most of the writing is still done in Word.

This mechanism for posting from Word to a weblog, if it works, could make blogging more intuitive for students.

Note: The Blogger for Word add-in supports neither images nor tables.

Integrated RSS

RSS aggregators are being integrated into web browsers. Opera 8 and Mozilla Firefox already have this capability. Internet Explorer will have it soon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A V-Blog After All

I had some doubts about whether my "v-blog" entry about my cat was a true v-blog entry, given that the video was not actually embedded in the main blog page. Now that I see Amanda Congdon uses a similar one-click to video model on her v-blog (one of the best in the world, by the way), I will say, nay, sing, with conviction and self-satisfaction, "It's a V-Blog After All!"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Template for Writing Assignments

In an effort to make my students' written content more versatile, I think I'll ask them to submit their papers in this form, rather than in the form of Word documents.

Note: If students use not WebCT but their own, openly hosted, web folder to serve their papers, thay can place an rss feed and audio files in the same folder to enhance communication with their instructor and/or peer reviewer(s).

Link to Sample Template.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Getting Organized . . .

With the first day of classes drawing near, it's time to get orgainized.

For Private Journal:

For Notes:
KeyNote Outliner
(for the sake of experiement) OPML editor

For Blogging:

For RSS Aggregation:

For Portable / Social Bookmarking:

For Collaboration:

For Creating Audio:

For Listening to Audio:
Foobar 2000

For VOIP Telephony:

Friday, August 12, 2005


cat napping
If, in order to turn a blog entry into a videoblog entry, you have to embed the video in the blog web page, then this is not a videoblog entry.

If, on the other hand, you may make the video accessible through a link on the blog page and still consider the entry a videoblog entry, then this is a videoblog entry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Not Blogs, Logs


For this fall's Advanced Composition courses, I've been looking for ways to add fun to the audio progress reports, or logs, my students will make about their research projects.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Wink to Writers



I have always wanted a way to let my writing students look over my shoulder as I struggle to string together words in a way that makes sense and sounds right.

I was fortunate during my vacation to stumble upon a piece of software that lets me do just that. The software is called "Wink." It's much like ViewletBuilder or Camtasia, other screen capture / animation / presentation software. But, unlike the others I've mentioned, Wink happens to be free, which I also like.

Anyway, my hope is that watching my words appear on the screen will give you, dear viewer, a sense of solidarity in writing. We writers are not alone in our toil. The Internet helps us know this. I just didn't want there to be any doubt at all!


Saturday, August 06, 2005


Free instant, web-based discussion boards available anytime from Conversate. They even come with RSS feeds.