Tag Archives: video

The Pros and Cons of Academic Weblogging

In response to the rough draft of my digital essay, wherein I draw from the work of Henry Jenkins in Convergence Culture, Caitlin recommended that I link to his blog, which he updates regularly and where he clearly identifies himself as an “Aca-Fan” (an academic fan). After perusing the first few pages (which cover about two months’ worth of material), I came across a series of posts that I thought provided a useful example for exploring the affordances of weblogging. This series is titled “Why Do We Need to Understand Fans” A Conversation with Mark Duffett” and it includes four parts, from March 3-10, 2014. Upon reading the title, I thought to myself, “How convenient/awesome that a scholar I’m using for my digital essay is having a conversation with another scholar I’m using!” For the sake of this post, let’s focus on just the first part (although the rest are equally as riveting, especially for those of us interested in cultural studies *ahem, Michael*).

The post begins with a personal narrative, wherein Jenkins explains how he first met Duffett on a recent trip to England. Jenkins then moves into a critical summary of Duffett’s work that emphasizes new directions it’s leading us in as fan/media/cultural studies scholars, concluding with the statement that it is something “that we all need to engage with.” The rest of the post consists of a transcription of their conversation.

From an aesthetic point of view, the transcription isn’t all that exciting: it’s an intense amount of text that, while formatted in such a way to clearly delineate Jenkins’ words from Duffett’s, wouldn’t lose much if we were to print it out as a PDF:

Duffett’s actual answer is anything but short (although it is enlightening).

As I was reading through the transcription, I couldn’t help but recall Kenneth Goldsmith’s discussion of the audio/video transcription assignment he created for his “Uncreative Writing” seminar and how difficult he says it was for students to capture the nuances of human speech in alphabetic text. Without using the clunky system of symbols to signify pauses and emphases, the transcription feels extremely dense and static; yet, if Jenkins had used that system, he would have rendered the transcription nearly, if not entirely, unreadable to unfamiliar audiences.

Digital writing offers a simple solution: embedded video. I felt like Jenkins’ does this series of posts a disservice by not including any audio or video because doing so would have allowed us to gain a better understanding of how he and Duffett interacted. Hearing or watching Duffett answer Jenkins’ inquiries would have been more in line with Jenkins’ interest in convergence/participatory culture, would have helped break up the textual monotony of reading such a text-heavy transcription. But as Jenkins’ other posts show, he clearly in no stranger to the use of embedded video, so I wonder why he chose not to include any to enhance this series of posts (the one in part four has little to do with the actual conversation at hand), especially since the linguistic accuracy of his transcription suggests that he recorded his conversation with Duffett in some capacity.

But what I appreciate about Jenkins’ blog as a whole, though, is how it utilizes digital media to escapes the confines of printed (read: hard copy) writing. By creating and maintaining this blog, Jenkins is able to extend his scholarship, to update his previously published work—to avoid what Janel called “the horribly static codex.” As we witness the shift toward Digital Humanities, perhaps Jenkins can provide us a model for how to reconceptualize scholarship and what it means to be a “published scholar.”

Multimodal Tutoring Pedagogy: Digital Essay Draft 1

Greetings fellow Woodchucks:

For my project, I am exploring how incorporating multimodal texts into writing centers alters tutoring pedagogy. And although I am making a specific intervention into a conversation in writing center theory, I am aiming my digital essay at a more general audience—comp teachers, writing center tutees—basically anyone who is (or could be) affected by this issue. Ultimately, I argue that the polarization of multimodal texts in current writing center theory (i.e., “treat them like any other text!” or “put them in a separate building!”)  is unnecessary, because these texts adhere to writing center theory and, in the end, are not very different from the mythical “traditional” text that we already work with.

As you’ll see, my essay is entirely in video format. I really struggled with figuring out what a “first draft” of a video looks like. I’m sure you all remember the particular challenges of creating videos—all of which don’t really lend themselves to drafts (that look like anything comprehensible). That said, I tried to do my best at creating what I wanted my video to look like without going so far that they idea of revision would be maddening. I accomplished this primarily by dividing my video into two halves. The first half is far more polished and complete—it’s basically what the whole video is going to look like. The second half is much rougher, particularly after about 10 minutes in, when it switches to all audio and an “under construction” image.

For feedback, I’d like style focused comments on the first half and argument focused comments on the second half. Some prompting questions may be: what parts of the various video styles (white board, images, interviews) work and which ones don’t? Is the ratio that I use to mix these styles together too heavy handed on one side or another? Are there major stylistic changes I should make in the second half? Can you follow my argument at the speed with which it’s laid out? Are there certain areas that you think I need to clarify/expand (keep in mind that there are still more interviews I’m going to add in to the second half that help support some of my points)?


Sainted Dead and Holy Relics: Manifestations of Catholicism in the Confederate Lost Cause

Apologies for my lateness, friends– I forgot how clunky iMovie is  and it ended up taking me far longer than I expected to sort my settings out.

Essentially, my video tries to give a (very) bare-bones explanation of a paper I’m giving in a few weeks about how the Religion of the Lost Cause deviated from the Protestant values and structures of its traditional Southern heritage and moved into the territory of Catholic ritual in its efforts to remember and memorialize the dead and the cause.

Here is my video–> Sainted Dead and Holy Relics

Here’s my abstract for the paper as well, should anyone need more in-depth information! –> VicariAbstract


x4: Concept in 60

Joseph Harris, Reinventing the University, 2010.

For next week I’d like you to make an original 60-second video that illustrates or explains a concept. Your video may center on any term, idea, or phrase that interests you. You may work with found texts—images, videos, audio files—as well as with materials you shoot yourself.  You can strike any tone that you want—serious, funny, angry, whimsical, lyrical, whatever.  And I encourage you to collaborate with others in this class, especially if you feel unsure about your video skills. Here are the only constraints:

  1. Your Concept in 60 must have both audio and video tracks. These two tracks may not be synchronous for the entire length of your clip. (In other words, you can’t simply shoot a video of someone explaining an idea.)
  2. Your video must run exactly 60 seconds.
  3. Your video must include a title and and credits. (These do not count against the 60-second limit.)

Some other things to keep in mind:

  1. Ask for the consent of anyone whose image or voice you record.
  2. Make it clear where any found images or audio/video clips you use come from. Document all texts authored by others. If you use found texts, it’s your job to make your perspective clear through the ways you edit and frame them.
  3. Feel free to get whatever technical help you need. But acknowledge that help in your credits.

Again, I am much more interested in the idea behind your uses of video than in your technical expertise. My aim in assigning this task is to raise the question of how one might compose an “essay” about an idea in video rather than in prose.

When you have finished your video, upload it to Youtube, Vimeo or any other videosharing platform. Post a link to your video, along with a brief description of it, to this site, by Tuesday, 3/11. at 4:00 pm. Use x4 as your category, and, as always, try to draw readers to your work with a thoughtful and imaginative use of images and tags.

I look forward to viewing and talking about your work!

Acknowledgment: I’ve adapted this assignment from one created by Professor Cindy Selfe at Ohio State University. Cindy helped guide me through making my own Concept in 60 video when I attended the Seminar in Digital Media and Composition (DMAC) in Summer 2010. Thanks Cindy!


x3: Responding to Davidson

I’d like us to focus our discussion next week on the first section of Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It (1–161), in which she tries to rethink some of the ways we teach and learn in a digital age.

In your response to Davidson, I encourage you to test her ideas about schools and learning against your own experiences as a student. Locate a passage where she talks about an idea that strikes you as somehow interesting, useful, or problematic. Then show how that idea relates to something you’ve experienced as a learner. The stance you take toward Davidson is, of course, up to you. You may want to apply one of her ideas, to use it to explain and interpret some aspect of your schooling. Or you may want to extend her thinking, take it a step further. Or you may choose instead to push back a bit, point to a moment that poses some problems for her ideas. The key thing is to make a meaningful connection between her writing and your experience.


Did you see the gorilla?

I’d also like to add a technical requirement—which is to link to and analyze a video clip as part of your post.  Let me offer a few rules for doing so:


  • You must edit the clip so that it runs no longer than 30 seconds.
  • You must attribute the source of the clip.
  • You must write about the clip in some way. That is, you should not simply use the clip as a stand-alone example.

And so, to follow my own rules here: I’ll note that I’ve inserted the gorilla in the middle of this post (perhaps you noticed it? or no?) in somewhat clumsy imitation of the famous experiment in selective attention by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons that Davidson uses to begin her book. Read it. You’ll see what I mean. I hope.


Use x3 as your category and add several good  tags of your own.Good luck! Have fun!