Hello Miriam and other colleagues. This is a good topic, thank you.
I use the technique of inkshedding in several of my classes once a term
at least; it makes a good alternative to oral discussion and often leads
to a more fruitful oral discussion post-inkshedding. I sometimes tell
people it's kind of like online discussion but not online. I find my
students are getting tired of sitting in front of the computer for so
much of their lives and actually like the paper and pen & physical space
social interaction of inkshedding in a classroom. The fact that it's a
fairly silent activity is not weird for people who are used to being
silent, and if it frustrates the chatty ones a little, it does not hurt
for them to be silent sometimes.
I also used it when I planned and MC'd our first Faculty Town Hall event
in 2005. We had 33 diverse people including students, faculty members,
staff, and administrators, and people seemed to really enjoy it. At the
end of the event, people were given the option to participate or to chat
(most participated), and depart whenever they were ready. The inksheds
were quoted from in a report of the event that was circulated to
participants and other stakeholders.
I also used it at the STLHE conference last summer in the last 10
minutes of our discussion period as a way of collecting research data
after our panel (yes I had Ethics clearance). I compiled the full
inkshedding results online here
http://www.ucalgary.ca/~smit/GNST501Present.htm using colored text to
represent responses to inksheds by different people.
Each time I use it in a different course or setting, I modify it
slightly to suit the context and purpose (as any good teacher or rhetor
should). In one case I asked participants bring to class their
single-sided single-spaced "reading responses" of 1-2 pages long each.
We taped our reading response pages to the center of large sheets of
paper to "extend the margins" and we inkshedded with sketches as well as
words, so it became a little like doing arts & crafts.
In fact, I just emailed two of my undergraduate students who did the
above version to ask them if they want to contribute to our discussion.
They learned of inkshedding when I used it in my Peer Mentoring course
and they have used inkshedding with good response in the extracurricular
student study groups / writing groups they led this term.
THE CONFERENCE & COMMUNITY
I identify partly with Inkshed (it was my first scholarly association,
since '97 or 98) and partly with CATTW and CSSR. Because CATTW/CSSR
both meet at a major Soc.Sci & Humanities conference, and because CATTW
is getting so wonderfully exciting, rich and interdisciplinary, I often
feel a magnetic draw to go to present at CATTW and attend a little of
CSSR on the side if I can, and every couple of years I contribute a
presentation to CSSR and try to split my participation between them.
Like Doug I also feel like I get a wonderful good dose of Inkshed by
going to the conference once every two or three years. I go to Inkshed
and participate in its listserv for the sense of community and unity of
a single-session conference (no concurrent sessions) where you get to
know new people and reconnect with old friends, and of course for the
practical advice and ideas that accompany the deep insights and
theories. It is something I encourage my colleagues to try attending,
and especially I encourage my students to join me because they won't
feel nameless and faceless there. I initially joined as a graduate
student and maybe I felt so welcomed because I met people there who I'd
be studying under the next year.
I think we are an active group in our publications... two new books this
year! Thank you editors and authors and publishers!
Also, we "publish" to the listserv as I am doing now.
By the way, today I did an email query of the unb listserv server and
this CASLL list currently has 195 subscribers (but due to good privacy
reasons I do not have the access to find out their location, names or
email addresses). That seems like an amazingly high number who are
interested in at least being connected to our email community. (By the
way, you can do this with any "@listserv" list; here is the listserv
online manual http://www.lsoft.com/manuals/1.8d/user/user.html
Tania S. Smith
Faculty of Communication & Culture
University of Calgary
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