Argument as

Second Shift


“The dated technology is not an incidental condition in this effort because its limits accentuate a concern that pervades all efforts to teach programming and writing in a writing course.” ~ Kalmbach and Fortune. “Letter from the guest editors” Computers and Composition 16.3 319-324 1999

doi: 10.1016/S8755-4615(99)00013-4; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8755461599000134

I, Morgan, started working with computer technologies in the composition classroom in 1992. I made my first website in 1994 when my class in Kentucky was working with a class in Mississippi. Coding was easy then. Formulated like algebraic equations, using <p> and <br>tags that were similar to the codes we needed in early word processors, my beginning foray into the World Wild Web was fun. More importantly, however, that time to production ratio was small and the payoff--in terms of both student engagement and production--was high when I started teaching my students to create web pages in our first-year composition classes.

In the Digital Media and Composition institute in 2011, however, one workshop presenter stated that she worked for 75 hours on one 3 minute video. If this is the norm for production time, it is no wonder, then, that those of us at trailing edge institutions may not have the time to produce such digitally sophisticated scholarly compositions. Because our field has worked within expectations that scholarly arguments need to have both the argument and the container to explain them, and that further they must be digitally significant, we have added a second shift to our work.

The way my days usually run: I have five minutes before I have to go to a meeting so I hope that you will walk with me for a minute while I explain my daily routine (see right). I no longer have time to play with the code, but I can make a google site in 15 seconds and fully populate it 30 minutes. For me, I have to make a decision to do what is do-able rather than to do what is best because if I try to do what’s best, I will never make the argument at all. Isn’t it better, ultimately, to take one step in the right direction than to never take a step at all?

I recognize that is this conversation is about choices, and the choices that I have made as a scholar/teacher, as a woman, as an employee, and as a feminist.

  1. My scholarly self is working on a project in collaboration with the CCCC’s committee on the status of women in the profession (CSWP) and the Digital Archive Literary Narratives (DALN) that is gathering and archiving women’s lives in the profession of rhetoric and composition in an effort to offer a counter-narrative to Women’s Ways of Making It in Composition. The project serves to recognize the number and range of choices women in the profession make; and how those choices, and the responses to them, code us as having made it. Or not.

  2. The institution I have chosen is a X-tier institution, meaning that it is trailing edge in terms of technology, that it is “not the research campus” in our system, and that we have a department of 11. But that it does have high standards and expectations for teaching, research, and grants.

  3. The juxtaposition of this tiering means that for tenure and promotion we write 5+2 (articles) or 1 (book) + 2 (articles) while teaching a 3/2 load and managing a high service commitment.

I have made choices that have been right for me. I have moved institutions to be in the right place for me; I have refined the topics of my scholarship to be more truthful about my own experiences as a feminist; I have publicly proclaimed being a feminist; and I have strived to do the work that is expected of me. But in many ways these choices are not sufficient.

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Today’s Events:

6:50am: wake up

7:00am: make lunches

7:15am: make breakfast

7:30am: get girls dressed

7:45am: last check--backpacks, teeth/hair

7:55am: girls to bus stop

8:15am: chickens

8:45am: shower

9:15am: leave for work

  1. teach

  2. office hours

  3. email

  4. meetings

  5. meetings

  6. meetings

  7. grading

  8. portfolios

4:30pm: home

5:00pm soccer/dance

6:00pm: cook

7:00pm eat

7:30pm homework/family

8:30pm: read stories

8:45pm: girls’ bedtime

9:00pm: relax or scholarship?


Let me look at my calendar