Re: Shop Talk

janet cross (hceng028@DEWEY.CSUN.EDU)
Sun, 21 Jul 1996 16:36:31 -0700

Alice and Karl:

I think many of us are in the boat. These are questions most of us have
been pondering and hashing over for a while now. As Karl notes, it is
important to model the experience for those who have not partaken. Yet,
and there is a big yet, how much can they take? Alice points to the uphill
battle entailed by trying to get this stuff online. Yes, we have to
include our process, in fact for many of us, online collaborative
writing is process *and* product, evolving minute by minute. Much of the
work done online, here on the lists, onMOO, Rhetnet, Kairos, all serve
as models not only for what can be done, but what we *are* doing, and
what we might be doing, and are becoming, and, and, and, ...we keep
spinning merrily along.

Karl sez:

> 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
> processes
> involved in creating the work, which would then help to inform the work
> unpolished and unstructured they might be, as an apendix. I would argue that
> one
> fundamental difference between notes and e-mail is that e-mail usually implies
> an
> audience other than the self (although I have e-mailed some notes to myself in

I would include them, knowing full well that logs, and cycles of email prolly
won't be read by some of the people we would like most to reach. SoBeIt. But
at least they will be there. Heck even some seasoned MOOers have a hard time
slogging through MOO logs. I think it's a gas. Wish I had had MOO when my ex
and I had those arguments...lines frozen for later perusal....yeehaw. But my
point here is USE THE STUFF, insist on including the collaborative text, the
same way that our profs have insisted we quote "authoritative" sources,
plunked down in block quotes as the basis for our rationales in the first
place. Heh.

Who is more authoritative about espace than the ones who use it? If anyone
questions the inclusion, well, you already know the value, right? Just eye em
warily and ask what's the prob? Use the stuff whole hawg, cut and paste,
sprinkled dem lines here and there...everyway you can think to use
them, but use them.

> such a disscussion is elevated. In essence it is a partial, but tangible,
> of some
> of the socially constructed elements of the creation act. The purpose of its
> inclusion,
> in my view, would be to enlarge the scope of the work beyond what is provided
> the
> text of the finished work.

Zactly. You have your focus, now go for it.

> 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.

As much as you need in order to show what the hell yer talking about, I
Or as much as you wish to reveal. There will always be naysayers. On the
other hand, I remember well the feeling I had when I turned in my BA
thesis, the feeling that I had not just finished, but just begun (even
though I was glad it was over). The ONE thing that will enable
me to FINISH my MA thesis is knowing that it is just a beginning, and
not just a symbolic or metaphorical beginning. This was not the case
for my BA thesis. I never really went back to it. If it
had been an online thesis, I can guarantee you that I would have.
So now I am not held back by the feeling that I left out a vital part
(what part isn't vital?) I can meet that academic deadline knowing I can
go back to my work and continue on. Nothing is frozen for me anymore.

> > 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
> > to argue my case through the grad school right now--I just want to get
> > finished!

So who says there isn't room for traditional theses? Where else will the
uninitiated find us? Not online. You can bet that. I'm sure they will
never see my online thesis, but they might see yours.


who better get her butt back to work...

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Janet Cross |
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