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robertogreco : digitalnomads   1

Risk, Reward, and Digital Writing - Hybrid Pedagogy
"Digital writing is political because in every pixel, every DNA-like strand of code, we are placing ourselves into the public. Even if we are not writing for a wide audience, even if we make no plans to disseminate our work, the craft of writing now takes place within other people’s software, in other people’s houses. This page the borrowed sheets. Me the writer a couch surfer.

Owning our own homes in the digital requires an expertise that this writer does not have. I don’t own my own server, I haven’t learned to code, I haven’t designed my own interfaces, my own web site, nor even my own font. I must content myself to rent, to squat, or to ride the rails. But in this I find a certain freedom, a resistance in the willy-nilly. I cannot build my own home in the digital, but I can mark my territory.

In November, Hybrid Pedagogy — along with the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies — will once again host Digital Writing Month, a 30-day writing challenge that asks participants to create works of text, image/video, and sound. The form these works take, and what they say, do, expose, problematize, or solve, is entirely up to the author(s) and artist(s) who join the fray. The work should be challenging, inventive, and should give the digital writer a chance to do something they’ve always wanted to do.

Here, in this piece, I am offering an additional challenge: to make the act of digital writing truly political. To rouse and incite, to question and provoke, to mark our territories on the spaces delimited by their designers. By creating, hack; by writing, rebel. We must make the sites of our work little bitty Bastilles, our tweets and Vines and sound clips tiny marches on Versailles. Imagine a blog that flies the Jolly Roger, a podcast that bows to no one, a Vimeo channel that riots and runs amok. These are the ways the insurgence begins.

In this, I recognize I speak of rebellion playfully, when in truth most revolutions are terrible, bloody affairs. That playfulness, though, is the invitation. We are creating a revolution of digital handicraft, of makers and shakers. We shall not throw our bodies upon the machines, but we shall throw our words there — and our images — and our voices. The approach may look joyous and celebratory, and the fervor may delight and inspire, and the result will have meaning.

Hybrid Pedagogy has been accused of being Pollyanna, our work too blithe and easy, our seriousness not nearly serious enough. Our editors on the tenure track have been reminded to publish with traditional journals, lest their academic work wither under the glare of rigor and double-blind peer review. But there is nothing casual about Hybrid Pedagogy, just as there is nothing casual about any other digital work. What digital work does is change the landscape of all work. When we write in the digital, our words behave differently; when we broadcast our ideas, the reception re-broadcasts and re-purposes those ideas. Digital publishing, digital writing, digital humanities, digital literacy, digital citizenship — these are not terms à la mode, but rather they are new components of very real human communities, very real human craft. We may approach them with equal part suspicion and exaltation, but approach them we must.

Insisting on such requires a certain risk, especially in academia. We must be prepared to look back in the faces of those who think our digital work lacks merit and tell them otherwise. And we must do so to the ends of our wits.

To change the perception that the digital is not as consequential as work in traditional media we must participate in it. We must put our best work there, and eschew the paper-bound, readerless journals that grow mold in library basements. We must reinhabit libraries, as sites for conference and debate, crafting and creation, community and not simply curation. We must likewise redefine what matters, what has impact factor, and grow the traditional so it’s not so obsolete. We must show up in digital places in throngs and masses. No algorithms will change unless we move against them. The LMS will not die its death until we put it in the ground. Our work in the digital will not begin if we never recognize that it is work that must begin.

Digital Writing Month, and digital writing at any time, is never frivolous. In doing things differently, we sow difference. “Essays quake and tremble at the digital,” I said. “They weep in awe and fascination. And they throw themselves into the abyss … Digital writing is a rebellion. An uprising against our sense and sensibility. Différance.” By refusing to do what’s expected, we frame a space of new expectations, new possibilities. When we recognize the oppression of autocorrect, the hegemony of the algorithm, the charade of rigor, we light the fires of revolution. And though they may glow softly at first, enough of them gathered together will burn down towers."
seanmichaelmorris  2014  writing  digitalwriting  communication  pirates  squatting  hobos  nomads  digitalnomads  adomainofone'sown  blogs  blogging  googledocs  renting  creation  conversation  vine  twitter  photography  podcasts  lms  revolution  academia  participatory  participation  howwewrite  digiwrimo  culturecreation 
november 2014 by robertogreco

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