I went to the Conference on College Communication and Communication on Friday and had a really good time. I guess it goes to show that I am, indeed, a middle aged academic.
The first panel I went to was one which all of the speakers were CUNY people. Needless to say it was best. Really, I think that all of the analysis and strategizing that CUNY and LaGuardia make us consider as we teach and develop professionally, helps us to improve as teachers and as an institution. After I heard the panel “Assessing Freshman Composition and WAC programs: Three Studies of Student Writing,” I looked at all of the other panels more critically. These panelists (including our own Marian Arkin) put forth an excellent set of benchmarks, goals and strategies in a very clear manner. From that panel on I was looking for utilitarian tips on how to teach composition and demonstrate progress.
Sadly, the next panel I went to fell short in a number of ways. “Can the Subaltern Speak, Please?” was just a showcase for three grad students from the University of Arizona, Tuscon, to share some of their current work. Their readings were interesting, but had no real insight into “Composition” or “Communication.” I liked “Re-Presentation of the American Indian Situation: Identifying As Transnational,” but it really just taught me about the author’s culture and lacked a wider theoretical implication.
“Studies of Blogging in Composition Classrooms” was very interesting. I will try to keep it brief, because as a blogger I tend to stretch things out. This verbosity, of course, is what we are trying to replicate in our students when we assign blogging as a pedagogical tool. In light of the first panel of CUNY faculty I saw serious shortcomings in the assessment aspects of these proposals. On the other hand I am interested in trying to get students to write more, more freely, and I want to try and use this impulse that some might have as a means to the end of more writing. I met some interesting faculty and instructors and I look forward to contacting them and working out a curriculum for LaGuardia’s students that involves Blogging.