Reflection Mod 2 – experiment with columns

29 09 2009

Reflection on Module 2

As  the pace of the course accelerated in the past 2 weeks, I found myself falling behind as I continued to experiment with the use of blogs and wikis.

Reading Ong on Orality, taking copious notes and transferring them carefully to the wiki seemed to be simple enough tasks. But then I was struck by the need to rearrange the information and illustrate it. I was particularly irked when I saw a large image of a list on the Orality page. It seemed to me that we were attempting to describe Orality by explaining what it is not. So I sought to improve on that image while adding my own visual of Orality’s characteristics (adding a sound clip was a little beyond my skill at that moment).


Mastering the Wiki

This was no simple matter! I had already spent too many hours reading instructions on uploading and formatting data and images. I continued to edit the page until, satisfied at last, I was ready to move on to the Literacy page. But horror or horrors, it seemed that my colleagues (who were well ahead of me in their readings by now) had resorted to making a list of citations from the text. (In hindsight, the list is a prime characteristic of Literate thinking.) There it was, line after line of citations. I felt they were trying to recopy the whole chapter. I needed to read Ong’s concepts in their own words (as Rosemary Harris remarks, “Ong is too verbose.” Rosemary Harris on Module 2 ).

And so, I was compelled to once again rearrange the page, adding a link to a new page in an effort to structure so much data.

Finally, exhausted, I was ready to rest for the night. Of course, the revelation came to me in my sleep. This activity, this collaborative work, was meant to teach me something far beyond the difference between Orality and Literacy or Chandler’s moderate view of Determinism. A wiki is another learning tool that I had to experience so that I could challenge my own ideas about learning styles and the use of technologies in an educational environment. I was able to realize how my understanding of messages varies when it appears in one form rather than another. I now understand what it means to have “interiorized” print. It seems I can no longer think in an Additive fashion, now a slave to my own need for the brevity of point form and the clarity of subordinate ideas. Through my own observations in this process, I clearly see my need to structure information is more than just wanting to enhance its appearance.  It is vital to my understanding of the text.  Reading line after line of citation, words without context, has driven the dynamics of textuality home to me.

I now see that the time I’ve spent teaching myself new technologies has not been putting me behind in my studies. It is accomplishing exactly what this course was meant to – allowing me to explore the different spaces of reading and writing. I guess I’ve learned a lot!

As a final nod to Rosemary Harris, I’d like to ask: If the writer fictionalizes his audience, exactly who do you think Ong had in mind when he wrote this textbook?



One response

9 10 2009
Bill Bartmann

Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

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