Wednesday, December 07, 2005

quotes I like

This post is late because I spent the better part of the day trapped in a coffee shop (ride-share hostage) with no computer, listening to some terrible drum and base crap, and then trapped on an icy bridge on south mopac. So, I am home safe, but utterly bereft of analytical or creative energy at the moment. and my toes are cold. So, I thought I would just share some of my favorite quotes:

About distributed cognition and composition studies:
What questions does Hutchins' framework of distributed cognition suggest for those of us interested in composition research? For example, "which individual on the team is really doing the 'writing?' Which individual 'knows' the ship's position best? Whose knowledge is being represented in the writing?" (8) These questions are especially pertinent for collaborative writing that happens in industrial settings, especially when the main "writer" is responsible for bringing together technical content from different subject matter experts. How are the compentencies shared? Who has more "expertise" in how technical or specialized content should be relayed?

About motivation in collaborative authorship:
"...writers who collaborate (such as scholars, researchers, professionals, or irate citizens) usually have a shared purpose and a strong motivation to work together to accomplish the composition of a well-defined text for a clearly understood audience" (122). What's really interesting about this, is even though the students in her case study seem to lack these things, they invent their "cause" and it becomes equally important, for example, elsewhere she describes the students' resistance to challenges to their group project (see 115). What a great microcosm (as she notes) of a thought collective defining itself! Rick was just not going to let that noisy dorm topic go. I am wondering if writers would cling to their projects if they were not part of a group. Also, I am picturing this phenomenon translated into an workplace setting, but changing the players from a sympathetic teacher and independently-minded student, to a busy engineer and a novice technical writer. Which leads me to the next point.

About case studies:
Peg concludes on page 187: "I believe that case studies present our most promising avenue for ecological research on composing." She further asserts that "case studies do not typify larger populations but contribute to the development of a theory." I love this idea of composition studies rebuilding its theory from the ground up. Where do I sign up.

okay, heater on. sweatpants. thinking about a hot brandy. things are looking up.


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