The RhetNet Defense:

A New Academic Forum toward "Shooting Hoops"

"In the 20th century, we have been without any mass medium for serious discourse--until the creaton of the Internet."
--Alan Kay, in Wired

"Media philosphy rejects analytics in favor of communication. Explosive, outrageous comunication is the lifeblood of hope in the world of simulacra, bureaucracy and collapsing ecosystems."
--Taylor&Saarinen, from Imagologies

Online communities like RhetNet have started to collapse the boundaries and blur the borders of what it means to engage "traditional academic tasks" such as professional publishing and service to the academy. Next up: doctoral preliminary exams.

Given the critical, yet collegial atmosphere of this community, it seems an ideal place for members to come for input and feedback regarding one of the great hoops of the academic track: prelims, quals, exams, whatever your local offline community may call them.

Already on RhetNet we have seen people share reading lists, discuss the suefulness of various resources, and consider answers to all kinds of possible questions. Now RhetNet wants to provide those graduate students actually engaging written exams to use the resources of the community in thinking about what they've written leading to the inevitable oral defense.

We're not quite sure how this will work yet; as with the rest of RhetNet, we'll make it up as we go along. And once we have it working, we'll fix it.

First up: Mick Doherty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has volunteered to post his exam question and answers, completed this past Wednesday and Thursday, for our communal consideration. Ask the hard questions, offer the critical feedback, and make him re-think his answers as he prepares for oral defense *next* Thursday (06 March 97).

His answers were timed (two @ 2 hours, one @ 4 hours), with no notes other than the reading list bibliographies.

Answer LeFevre

Comments will be forwarded to RhetNet-L as well as being added to the web pages. Responses posted to the list will be ported to the web, too, so neither list nor web will be denied the privilege of presenting your ideas.

Answer Deery/Zappen

Mick will answer any questions on Wednesday March 5, while stepping out of the conversation in the meantime.

Answer Porush

Anyone else coming up on exams, let Eric know if you're interested in trying out this new community defense and how you'd like to approach it!

Reading Lists

Mick's committee:

  • David Porush (chair)
  • Jim Zappen
  • Karen Burke LeFevre
  • June Deery
    (All above of RPI)
  • Victor Vitanza, UT-Arlington (outside reader, who also happens to be of RhetNet-L)

There have been Counter visits here since 02 March 1997
Report problems to