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English Audio Request

668 Words / 2 Recordings / 0 Comments

Six key concepts for the composition classroom:

• Commons-based peer production (CBPP). Benkler identifies CBPP as a new economic mode of production, adding it to market mode (working by one’s self for the marketplace) and firm mode (working together under management). CBPP occurs when the costs of collaboration are extremely low and the nature of the work at hand is amenable to distribution over a network such as the Internet. For the writing classroom, CBPP means maximizing the value added to collaborative projects and maximizing student autonomy (and thus capability) by allowing writers to select projects or topics based on their interests.

• Authenticity. If there is staleness in the composition classroom, it is often found in students’ views of their audience. Most assignments ask writers to imagine an audience—and then to compose for their composition instructor as a surrogate for that idealized, fictional
audience. Walter Ong’s notion that all audiences are fictional aside, CBPP and wiki assignments allow students to write for an authentic audience beyond the classroom. And, in the case of the Wikipedia writing assignments explored herein, these audiences often write back.

• Professional Standards. By asking students to produce work that attempts to satisfy real needs, teachers put them in positions where their writings have an undeniable impact. With CBPP writing assignments, students are challenged and motivated to produce writing with accurate and relevant content for larger projects external to the classroom. And for that content to be acknowledged by the professional community, it must be credible in terms of ethos, with a reasoned voice that reflects a sense of the values of that knowledge community.

• Epistemology. Writing for CBPP projects that report knowledge, especially Wikipedia, involves students in the process of creating and producing knowledge according to the standards of a field. To be sure, some knowledge communities distance themselves from the topic pages of Wikipedia, but whether or not the Wikipedia knowledge community is embraced beyond that site, it has its own rules for deciding what kinds of knowledge are accepted, what kinds of knowledge are under 6 Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia review, and what kinds of knowledge are rejected. CBPP writing assignments develop epistemological awareness by asking students to participate in CBPP projects, to understand the accepted knowledgemaking procedures for their project’s community, and, when challenged, to reevaluate and defend their contributions according to the stated acceptable practices of that knowledge community.

• Transition. The approach to teaching college writing described herein also works well because it reinforces the transition from general knowledge to specific and authoritative knowledge that the college writer is undergoing. As aptly described in Keith Hjortshoj’s Transition to College Writing (2001), the first-year college student is moving from an environment where teachers are largely generalists (high school) to an environment with teachers of increasing specialization (college). First-year composition plays a pivotal role in this transition toward greater specialization and expertise; as students get their bearings in the college environment, CBPP writing assignments assist them in understanding the role of producing knowledge for our culture rather than only consuming it.

• Laziness. The term “laziness” has been used to describe the computer coding belief that it is preferable to reuse code by copying it, rather than rewriting it or authoring it anew. In this text, “laziness” also refers to the larger concept of saving personal investment in work projects for those areas that require or emphasize individual creativity and might not render traditional rewards. Thus, “laziness” in the writing classroom does not involve “reusing” the text of other writers through plagiarism, but emphasizes instead that each writer should examine the project’s overall needs and create his or her own contributions based on an awareness of the project’s needs and one’s own creative desires. “Laziness” describes the condition of striking a balance between what needs to be done and what one wants to do, framed by an awareness of what has already been done.

(Lazy Virtues. Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia)




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