Archive for April, 2008

IRB Proposal Mex-Am Digital Narratives

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

Attached is the IRB proposal for the study.

Porqué Mi Retórica (cont.)

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

(this is a response to a message about my previous post)

As a child, I was fair-skinned, freckled, and blonde. My appearance always afforded me privileges. To a large extent, I have always had the choice of “passing” as white.

Even now when I walk into a classroom, my students assume that I cannot speak Spanish. Most are surprised when they learn that I am fluent.

I think my retreat into books functioned on many levels. I was pretty introverted as a child so they gave me an excuse to not “come out and play.” I was also able to choose my own companions rather than face four very physical boys who could easily gang-up on me. As I grew older, though, my reasons for choosing “to always be in school” (as my mom would say)became more complex. Because as I got older, I became very aware of the differences in expectations and opportunities for women inside and outside my culture.

My mother and father also realized this and they allowed me (I can recognize that now)to take advantage of the choices that I had by supporting my focus on academic education. Even though my father expected my mother to fulfill the very traditional role of wife and mother (my mother never worked outside the home nor ever learned to drive), he did not expect that I would fulfill that traditional role someday. Even now that I am a wife and mother, he supports my professional and intellectual endeavors as equally worthy of my time and energy.

I don’t remember ever having to correct anyone’s stereotype. I did, though, spend most of my life in South Texas and the only travelling my family did was into Mexico to visit extended family. When I lived in the North East, though, I was very conscious of not erasing my ethnicity. For example, I refused to anglicize the pronunciation of Spanish words especially my last name.

I think you are right that no writing tool is inherently better. My interest is in learning how to use digital tools from different perspectives rather than only as an end-user. I believe that if I don’t take it upon myself to learn what other capabilities the tools may have, then I am always at the mercy of the designer and the choices that he (and I choose this consciously since this field is still mostly white and male-dominated) has already made for me.

Mis Histórias

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

In thinking about the narratives that have affected the way I view life, I have to consider both the narratives of my parents as they grew up. Those narratives directly lead to the ways that they have functioned as parents and knowing their narratives helps me to understand many of the choices they have made as parents.

My father grew up in a ranch in Mexico. His stories are what I would call “boy in the woods” stories. He talks about going swimming, ditching his chore duties to go hunting birds, going out at night during a full moon to hunt rabbits. He talks fondly of his mother and the food she would cook for him and his siblings. He never says this, but his stories show that he was never aware that he had anything but a “normal” childhood. The only traumatic experience was suffering from rheumatic fever when he was a young boy and living too far from town to get medical help. My father’s narratives, though, do not deal with hardship or deprivation which he was most likely unaware of because of his age.

My mother, on the other hand, had a much tougher childhood. My grandfather moved to the U.S. when she was quite young and was an absent father (to put it mildly) most of her life. She lived in (what can only be described as) a shanty town and went without shoes most of her early childhood. She, like many others, was forced to work to help support her family right after finishing primary school. When she was 16, she ran away from home. Her narrative is more of an escape narrative which includes deprivation, abuse, months of planning, a dangerous trekk “al norte,” and kind strangers who helped along the way until she reached her destination.

These narratives helped me to understand that my father’s goal was to be the traditional “provider” so that our basic needs would be met. My mother’s goal was to keep the family together so that we didn’t grow up without parents. She wanted to allow us to concentrate on preparing for the future rather than struggling for daily survival.

Porqué Mi Retórica

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

My concept of who I am as a rhetor stems from my first memories with language.

I grew up with four brothers so at an early age I retreated into the worlds which books offered me. Those stories (all traditional stories included in the canon) showed me the possibilities from which I could choose to form my identity, possibilities which were very different from what I saw around me in my own very traditional Mexican family and community.

My resistance to tradition, especially my feminism, stems from these early experiences. For example, since I knew education was important in my family, I used my parents incorrect concept of what was required of me in school to resist the “female” duties I had at home. So, I always brought home more homework (I was usually weeks ahead in homework) or reading (I would check out two books a day so I could read into the night), and I got involved in after school activities. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that by exempting myself from those duties, I was participating in the “oppression” of the only female left in the house, my mother.

My concept of myself as a rhetor, then, always includes a negotiation between what is expected, what I want, and how my choices will affect others. I feel an obligation, not only to resist ways in which others define me, but also to help articulate the perspectives which I think are ignored.

My love of language also included a love of writing. I started keeping a diary when I was very young. I would write poems and songs and daily happenings. Writing was personal and private, something that I could retreat to just like I could with reading.

My first memory of relishing an immersion in academic discourse involves writing a research paper. I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor, notecards scattered around me. I can remember the physical act of laying the notecards on the floor, moving them from place to place, organizing them by topic, and seeing the ideas gain coherence right in front of my eyes. (I have to admit, though, that no other research paper has taken on the same surreal and pleasurable nature.) This experience taught me that I can control and manipulate language even when it seems foreign and disconnected.

When I started teaching after college, the two fiction classes I had taken earned me the priviledge of directing the newspaper and yearbook organizations (I did this for four years). While trying to teach students about journalism, I taught myself the importance of design and images, with text as the complement, to construct stories about others.

It was only recently that I have become even more aware of the self-construction of identity via my use of digital technologies. The first class I took at Tech required me to create a blog. Even though the technical task was easy and my choices in design were limited (I used Blogger), I still had to make certain choices which were going to reflect on me: the colors and layout of the blog, the title, the description, my picture, and my introduction.

I followed the blog with a website in which I could post my activities as a teacher, administrator, scholar, and mother. I had to negotiate between demonstrating my technical skills in my design of the site or using someone else’s more sophisticated design for my own purposes, and thus hide my novice status. For several projects, I have had to choose between the representation of myself via the content versus the design.

Currently, I am negotiating between constructing my identity by rhetorically using the tools that others have designed or learning to design the tools as part of my self-construction. I am grappling with the following questions:

–how does my use of certain tools affect others?
–how do predesigned tools limit my rhetorical choices?
–what affordances do predesigned tools provide?
–how can learning to design tools expand or limit my rhetorical choices?

Finding the Chicanos

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

In all honesty, this blog is about me NOT working in isolation. I was for a long time, but I just found a community which I did not know existed.

I probably should have had more faith. At least I can say that I regained it.

Blog Research

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

So Becky is asking me to think about my epistemology before I start designing my study.
I would have to say that my belief is that our research should empower our participants. They should also be getting a benefit from the research in which they participate. It is something that I truly believe in.
the complication of this, though, is that if I tell them, then that may affect the way in which they write and the things that they write about. So I am thinking about that too. If they know that they are being studied and they know the questions that I am considering then will those affect the way in which they will be interacting in that space.
It is what I was talking about in my paper on digital research. If I go in and interact with the participants, then I am no longer just observing but changing the space because of my interaction. It won't be exactly the same as when I

blog epistemology/methodology

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

markR says, "it involves group contribution and "beautiful" language to inspire a community benefit"
Emil [to Janie]: I personally thought that some of the new media technology might help lead the way to more Afrocentric rhetoric… wikis for instance seem to allow for a more active audience… and harmony
BeckyJ [to Emil]: that was what I was thinking
Bobbie [to markR:]: How right you are – but isn't that just external? THink of all the internal workings… gambling, etc.
markR [to Emil]: but wikis are also vulnerable to some pretty aceribic exchanges
Janie [to Emil:]: true
Becky says, "I thought about ebay as a community…but then, it's also for individual gain."
Sue says, "And I think popular culture elements such as rap and hip-hop Nation langugae are crossing over and gaining wider audience appeal at many levels"
Emil [to markR]: right. is that part of the process? the good with the bad?
markR [to Bobbie]: why is gambling a bad thing? :)
Bobbie laughs
Janie [to Sue:]: I'm reading a book on hip-hop rhetorics
Emil says, "I know we're late… I'll turn the class back over to Becky. I'll post this link on the WebBoard"
Bobbie says, "It's not unless taken to excess :D "
Bobbie cheers for Emil!!
Sue [to Janie]: really. Whiah one?
You say, "Thanks emil"
markR [to Emil]: nice job! i really like the website
Kerrie says, "hip hip hooray for Emil!"
You say, "Richardson, I think"
BeckyJ says, "Very interesting, lovely site"
You say, "elaine"
Becky says, "Emil, you want to create a webboard area for a continued discussion of what is/isn't afrocentric rhetoric"
Anne says, "great website/review of the readings, Emil. Thanks."
Emil [to Becky]: the chapter about letters also shows that there was an element of individual gain even in ancient Egypt rhetoric
Becky hopes Emil (and others) will post their websites/source materials to webboard!
Bobbie says, "Definitely"
Kerrie says, "I think my website is posted there…"
Bobbie says, "I love to look at other student sites"
Emil [to Becky]: Yes. Can I create one. .. or is that only something you can do?
Sue [to Janie]: look at Marcyleana Morgan's stuff–I'll send you 2 articles
Becky [to Emil]: I'll do it.  I'll call  it Afrocentric rhetoric
Janie [to Sue:]: the book is called "Hiphop literacies" by Elaine Richardson
Janie [to Sue:]: cool; post them for others too
markR [to Janie]: KRS-ONE
Bobbie says, "Well… I'm off to install a pool pump… have a good one all!"
Sue says, "OK"
Emil says, "BTW, there's a link to a fun matching game using egyptian symbols in the sidebar and a link to wikipedia for more info"
Becky loves Geoff Sirc, who was one of the first hip hoppers
Janie [to Mark:]: sorry, I'm illiterate; what does that mean?
Sue [to Emil]: kewl
Bobbie (asleep) has disconnected.
Becky thanks EMil–short, but really thought provoking
Emil says, "Thanks everyone"
markR [to Janie]: he's one of the pioneers of preaching the four elements of hiphop as a positive lifestyle
markR says, "old school rapper"
Emil [to Becky]: And we still ran out of time. sheesh
Becky says, "Folks, I'm going to add afrocentric rhetoric to webboard.  No task for this week, but DO visit last week's task"
Janie [to mark:]: ah, I'm just starting to learn…
markR says, "or rather, MC"
Becky says, "great narratives there"
markR [to Janie]: if you want i'll teach you how to bboy and graffiti
Becky says, "Thanks, both of you. VERY good–excellent thoughts, ideas."
Becky grins and knows Mark can do it!
markR says, "thank you for class all! "
Janie [to Mark:]: great during May seminar
You say, "Becky will have to bail me out"
markR says, "lol"
Anne says, "Sorry, but I have to take off.  Great discussions tonight."
Becky says, "I'm going to be out of sorts while in KY (and it's likely I'll be traveling to FL soon as well–my father's very sick and probably won't make it much longer).  So I apologize about being slow"
Emil says, "Night all."
Janie [to Becky:]: let me know when you're ready to move to the office
Sue (asleep) has disconnected.
Kerrie [to Becky]: Just a quick word…
Becky says, "sure, Kerrie"
>> The red light on class recorder goes out. The recorder in Rickly's Virtual Place has been turned off. <<
Kerrie [to Becky]: I will be posting my last assignment… the mind map, by Friday
markR [to Becky]: i wish you the best and a safe trip. good night all…time to eat!
markR (asleep) has disconnected.
Emil [to Becky]: I've got my final paper done. I'll proofread it once more and load it in the WebBoard as well as mail it to you
Anne (asleep) has disconnected.
Becky [to Emil]: that sounds perfect
Kerrie [to Becky]: And I think that is everything I have left to do for the class… You can decide which assignment was medium & large, because they both were pretty time consuming :)
Becky is sure you'll be fine, Kerrie
BeckyJ (asleep) has disconnected.
Kerrie says, "Ok, I just don't want to leave any unfinished business before heading to VEGAS to get married :) "
Janie [to Kerrie]: congrats
Kerrie says, "Thanks "
Kerrie says, "Ok, then, so it will all be on my website, and I'll e-mail you the links… all will be under 'coursework' but I'll send you the individual links"
Becky says, "WOW!  have a great time in VEGAS!  Say hi to Elvis!"
Becky nods to Kerrie–sounds perfect
Kerrie says, "hehe, yeah it will be great, I will be sure to ;) "
The housekeeper arrives to cart Bobbie off to bed.
Kerrie says, "Ok, goodnight all!!"
Becky waves
You say, "good night"
Kerrie (asleep) has disconnected.
You move to Liminal Space
Liminal Space
You view Liminal Space…
You see Teacher's Desk, Big Table, and Bulletin Board.
You see space recorder.
Obvious exits: [space exit] to Rickly's Virtual Place
Becky arrives.
Becky says, "I'm here."
You say, "sorry I moved to the wroing space"
Becky says, "This should work fine"
You say, "did you see the IRB emails?"
You say, "the project got approved; dr. eaton reviewed it"
You say, "but the timing is bad"
You say, "the students are gone"
Becky says, "I glanced over them–I'm sorry, but I didn't look at them closely.  I thought you were approved?"
You say, "they are finished and graduating on Friday"
You say, "so it will be hard to contact them "
Becky says, "yikes.  Do you have a plan B?  "
You say, "I would like to finish this project but I can also work on something else to finish the course reqs"
You say, "Our semester begins again May 19th"
Becky says, "what would YOU rather do?"
You say, "so I could trya again then"
You say, "but then it would require an incomplete"
You say, "is that a big deal?"
Becky would be happy with that, if that's what would work for you
Becky says, "no, we could arrange for the "deliverable" to be done on X date.  As long as I turn in a grade by then, we're fine"
You say, "I am really thinking about using this as a pilot which can help me articulate questions for diss"
You say, "so I would like to complete it"
Becky says, "You've done most of the work.  I will run it by Locke (some folks have been doing incompletes then NOT finishing), but as long as we have an agreed upon completion date, we'll be fine"
You say, "but I could write a lit review on CRT but that may be "large" enough"
Becky says, "great, then.  I like that you'll have some extra time during which you maybe won't be as busy.  The pilot project will tell you a lot"
You say, "ok, good. I do have one extra class"
Becky says, "I'd rather have you do the pilot.  I htink it will be beneficial on several levels"
You say, "so my coursework requriements are fulfilled"
Becky says, "extra class?"
Becky says, "you mean you have one more class to take?"
You say, "yes, I took two this semster and I only needed one"
Becky says, "wow!"
You say, "will be working on the diss prop and reading list during may seminar"
Becky says, "Ok, then, let's do this:  I'll email Locke (he's still in TX) about the incomplete, letting him know what our agreed upon date is (we need to agree)"
You say, "when should we decide on the date"
Becky says, "Let's do it now."
You say, "Ok"
Becky says, "how long do you think you'll need?"
You say, "how does July 10th sound"
You say, "will give me plenty of time"
You say, "after the semester starts"
Becky says, "that works for me"
You say, "great"
You say, "I appreciate your flexibility"
Becky says, "so I'll let him know that you'll finish your final project July 10th (due to IRB problems, etc.)"
Becky says, "I'll let you know what he says."
You say, "I also would like to do a second IRB"
Becky says, "but I think he'll be great"
Becky thinks that will be a good idea
Becky says, "You want to be covered, esp. if you might report on this."
You say, "right"
You say, "I didn't want to take a chance; I heard what happened to SUsan"
Becky says, "I'll let you know if there's a problem, but I honestly can't imagine one."
Becky says, "I guess I didn't hear!"
You say, "there was alot of data she couldn't use; wans't IRB issue but she had to do it over"
You say, "her participant withdrew some of the data"
Becky says, "How awful!"
You say, "yes"
Becky says, "but I do understand.  Dissertations can be a mess"
You say, "I have another question"
Becky says, "Sure"
You say, "I am starting to investigate the participatns I could use for the second study; the bloggers"
You say, "and I've had one ask me details about the project"
Becky nods
You say, "I'm wondering if the details will affect her work"
Becky says, "it's possible–sort of a Hawthorne effect– but it's better to inform participants I think"
You say, "is there any method that is acceptable about how much to tell?"
You say, "I could also only use data up to when I contacted her and nothing after"
You say, "certainly one choice"
Becky says, "well, depends on your empirical grounding.  If you're coming to it from a feminist perspective, you will virtually tell them everything, involving them almost as co-investigators; if you want more control, you'll have a pat hand out you give to everyone."
You say, "this disclosure stuff is tricky"
Becky says, "oops, I meant epistemological grounding"
Becky nods
You say, "right, I think I'm coming from the PD, PAR"
Becky says, "You will be coming to your research from an epistemological perspective.  You need to identify that (feminist, social constructivist, etc.) and allow it go guide you"
You say, "ok, that makes sense; so use that to make my deciisions; make sure they align"
Becky says, "so you'll probably disclose more than if you were less participatory"
Becky nods
Becky says, "because your design, analysis, choice of methods all will be influenced by this grounding"
You say, "Ok, it was getting kind of muddy and I wanted some perspective before I worked on proposal"
Becky says, "if you can articulate it, you'll be consistent"
You say, "great, thanks."


By js, 18 April, 2008, No Comment

it's *a* theory – but then theories are just explanations, strategies, generalizations from observation and experience to be applied to new situations
Theories are constructed in order to explain, predict and master phenomena (e.g. inanimate things, events, or the behaviour of animals). In many instances we are constructing models of reality. A theory makes generalizations about observations and consists of an interrelated, coherent set of ideas and models.
The first meaning of the term critical theory was that defined by Max Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School of social science in his 1937 essay Traditional and Critical Theory: Critical theory is social theory oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole, in contrast to traditional theory oriented only to understanding or explaining it.
Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate. In other words, it is a theory and practice of helping students achieve critical consciousness. Critical pedagogue Ira Shor defines critical pedagogy as
"Habits of thought, reading, writing, and speaking which go beneath surface meaning, first impressions, dominant myths, official pronouncements, traditional clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions, to understand the deep meaning, root causes, social context, ideology, and personal consequences of any action, event, object, process, organization, experience, text, subject matter, policy, mass media, or discourse." (Empowering Education, 129)