Re: Shop Talk

karl soetebier (ksoetebi@SWSMAIL.ATLANTA.COM)
Sun, 21 Jul 1996 08:58:25 -0700

Alice & Eric,

I am a grad student in the professional writing program at Kennesaw State
and I am currently engaged in developing a writing unit in hypertext for a
Pedagogy course.

I am working collaboratively with another student on this project, but due to
geographical distance, the whole of the project must accomplished online via
e-mail. It
is my intent to maintain complete records of all of our e-mail discussions. I
can see
the real possibilites of ethnographic-type research being conducted using e-mail
as a
primary instrument. In this case e-mail will not only serve as the means for
accomplishing the project, but also as an efficent way to identify and reflect
on the
assumptions, philosophies, and pedagogical theory that will shape the final
product. In
addition it may shed some light on the mentoring process between two students,
as it is
that I have had greater experience with hypertext as a medium and my colleague
has had
greater experience in the design and implementation of writing units.

I think that the inclusion of such e-mail discussions in a dissertation or
thesis would
be an effective way to inform the reviewers and readers of the work about the
involved in creating the work, which would then help to inform the work itself.
course, some might say that this would be like including all of your notes,
unpolished and unstructured they might be, as an apendix. I would argue that
fundamental difference between notes and e-mail is that e-mail usually implies
audience other than the self (although I have e-mailed some notes to myself in
the past;
sort of a virtual talking to yourself if you will)and therefore the rhetorical
value of
such a disscussion is elevated. In essence it is a partial, but tangible, record
of some
of the socially constructed elements of the creation act. The purpose of its
in my view, would be to enlarge the scope of the work beyond what is provided by
text of the finished work.

The question for me is: How much of our process do we really want those who
judge the
work to know? - it could easily work both ways.

Alice Trupe wrote:
> Eric,
> You bet I have (thought of adding the email stuff in the appendix). Actually,
> I've planned a section I haven't written yet on becoming a researcher
> (tentatively titled "More Participant than Observer"). My process of thinking
> this diss. through has been a very social one, and my email is like a
> think-aloud protocol from time to time. I cc'd every one of those messages
> scrolled back through them as I started outlining my chapter that describes
> study (of a basic writing class composed entirely of reentry women students in
> Daedalus classroom). I think that explaining and accounting for what I was
> seeing for the specific recipients of my messages propelled me into the "real"
> writing process of turning out a linear text.
> Now my only problem is that I'd really rather produce the dissertation in a
> form that reflects the creatively chaotic workshop class I observed and
> participated in than in a traditional dissertation. But I don't think I want
> to argue my case through the grad school right now--I just want to get
> finished!
> Alice