I’m not used to waiting for things. I would wager to say that most of us who grew up in the digital age are not used to waiting for things either. Information is rapid, instant, and instantly gratifying.
Given this fact, it is easy to forget how much labor goes into the process of making the things that we hate waiting for. An example: I’m completely fed up with my smartphone at the moment. It takes a good several seconds for any information I input into the device to get processed. However, what I don’t see (beneath my frustrations with its pace, its cheap hardware, its inefficient and outdated software) is the programmer who spent hours writing the code for my phone, the manufacturers who put together the recycled plastic pieces that are its exterior.
This is a long and self-indulgent way of saying that I am sorry for your waiting on posts to this blog. Writing is a laborious process (just as most valuable things are) and I wrote so much about other things this year that… I’m sorry to say that I neglected the writing here. It’s a little disheartening that I set these great new quarter goals and ended up fulfilling not a one. Bummer.
So, here’s what happened:
I took on a significantly heavier course load this quarter than the last. Unlike last quarter, where I took a whole course devoted to Literacy and Technology, I took courses that were – well – unrelated and I got a little bit swamped.
However, the summer has officially begun and I am really excited for a few upcoming projects that I intend to blog about here:
- In fall 2012, I will be teaching freshman composition in a computer lab classroom. Inevitably, there will be major challenges to working with freshmen planted behind rows of computer screens at fixed desks. I feel a little bit nervous about helping students to collaborate and engage in the kinds of friendly conversations they may have had in a more traditional classrooms (with movable desks, the “Socratic Circle” structure and all that). That said, working in a computer classroom will give me the fantastic opportunity to “test out” all sorts of online collaborative tools and help students apply their knowledge about writing to their engagement with computers. This summer, I’ll be working with Mary to adopt the UC Davis Writing Program’s “Standard Syllabus” (as we call it) for teaching freshman composition in the computer lab. Both of us have a HUGE challenge ahead of us, but it will provide great fodder for discussion!
- For about five weeks this summer, I will be working as a technical writer at an electronic health records/health imaging company based in San Diego, California. One of my tasks as a temporary intern will be revising their help manuals and integrating more multimedia resources into their online help page. So, I imagine I will be thinking a lot about usability in industry and learning about what it means to write for professionals rather than academics. I’ve been entrenched in academia for so long that there’s a large part of me that is very excited to take on the challenge of writing for a different kind of audience and addressing issues that I am not familiar with. There is another part of me that is absolutely terrified about this experience; all of my professional experiences thus far have been in academia and education. Will I know how to interact with colleagues in an office? Will I go crazy working 8 A.M.-5 P.M. days behind a desk in a cubicle?
- I know that this is turning into a bad joke at this point, but yes, the coding will begin again. I WILL make it past Lesson 2. Another great (?) part about going to San Diego is that I will have very few social distractions, so I should have plenty of time to do all of the ambitious coding work I set out to do earlier in the year…
- I am still a part of what has now been dubbed “UC Online Education” (UCOE). Therefore, I will have some updates here, too, on our continued beta testing and how we’re adapting writing to the classroom. Nifty stuff!
So, impatient friends, I hope that I will keep you waiting for new writing no longer! Thanks for hanging in there. More thoughts soon!