- Oct 2022
Perhaps there are al-ready too many formal discourses on method, and cer-tainly there are too many inspirational pieces on how tothink. Neither seem to be of much use to those for whomthey are apparently intended. The first does not usuallytouch the realities of the problem as the beginning studentencounters them: the second is usually vulgar and oftennonsense.
A description of the problem.
Also missing are concrete examples and modeling of behavior for students to see and follow.
- Sep 2022
IntertextsAs Jonathan Culler writes: “Liter-ary works are not to be consideredautonomous entities, ‘organicwholes,’ but as intertextual con-structs: sequences which havemeaning in relation to other textswhich they take up, cite, parody,refute, or generally transform.” ThePursuit of Signs (Ithaca, NY: CornelUniversity Press, 1981), 38.
Throughout Rewriting: How To Do Things With Texts (Utah State University Press, 2006) Joseph Harris presents highlighted sidebar presentations he labels "Intertexts".
They simultaneously serve the functions of footnotes, references, (pseudo-)pull quotes, and conversation with his own text. It's not frequently seen this way, but these intertexts serve the function of presenting his annotations of his own text to model these sorts of annotations and intertextuality which he hopes the reader (student) to be able to perform themselves. He explicitly places them in a visually forward position within the text rather than hiding them in the pages' footnotes or end notes where the audience he is addressing can't possibly miss them. In fact, the reader will be drawn to them above other parts of the text when doing a cursory flip through the book upon picking it up, a fact that underlines their importance in his book's thesis.
This really is a fantastic example of the marriage of form and function as well as modelling behavior.
Harris further illustrates hisown idea of voices adding to an author’s text; each chapter contains multiple “intertexts,”which are small graphics with citation references to outside materials addressed nearby inthe text. These intertexts reinforce the practice of adding voices to the author’s docu-ment. These illustrations are effective; essentially, Harris is reflecting and modeling thepractice.
I quite like the idea of intertexts, which have the feeling of annotating one's own published work with the annotations of others. A sort of reverse annotation. Newspapers and magazines often feature pull quotes to draw in the reader, but why not have them as additional voices annotating one's stories or arguments.
This could certainly be done without repeating the quote twice within the piece.
- Apr 2022
Much of Barthes’ intellectual and pedagogical work was producedusing his cards, not just his published texts. For example, Barthes’Collège de France seminar on the topic of the Neutral, thepenultimate course he would take prior to his death, consisted offour bundles of about 800 cards on which was recorded everythingfrom ‘bibliographic indications, some summaries, notes, andprojects on abandoned figures’ (Clerc, 2005: xxi-xxii).
In addition to using his card index for producing his published works, Barthes also used his note taking system for teaching as well. His final course on the topic of the Neutral, which he taught as a seminar at Collège de France, was contained in four bundles consisting of 800 cards which contained everything from notes, summaries, figures, and bibliographic entries.
Given this and the easy portability of index cards, should we instead of recommending notebooks, laptops, or systems like Cornell notes, recommend students take notes directly on their note cards and revise them from there? The physicality of the medium may also have other benefits in terms of touch, smell, use of colors on them, etc. for memory and easy regular use. They could also be used physically for spaced repetition relatively quickly.
Teachers using their index cards of notes physically in class or in discussions has the benefit of modeling the sort of note taking behaviors we might ask of our students. Imagine a classroom that has access to a teacher's public notes (electronic perhaps) which could be searched and cross linked by the students in real-time. This would also allow students to go beyond the immediate topic at hand, but see how that topic may dovetail with the teachers' other research work and interests. This also gives greater meaning to introductory coursework to allow students to see how it underpins other related and advanced intellectual endeavors and invites the student into those spaces as well. This sort of practice could bring to bear the full weight of the literacy space which we center in Western culture, for compare this with the primarily oral interactions that most teachers have with students. It's only in a small subset of suggested or required readings that students can use for leveraging the knowledge of their teachers while all the remainder of the interactions focus on conversation with the instructor and questions that they might put to them. With access to a teacher's card index, they would have so much more as they might also query that separately without making demands of time and attention to their professors. Even if answers aren't immediately forthcoming from the file, then there might at least be bibliographic entries that could be useful.
I recently had the experience of asking a colleague for some basic references about the history and culture of the ancient Near East. Knowing that he had some significant expertise in the space, it would have been easier to query his proverbial card index for the lived experience and references than to bother him with the burden of doing work to pull them up.
What sorts of digital systems could help to center these practices? Hypothes.is quickly comes to mind, though many teachers and even students will prefer to keep their notes private and not public where they're searchable.
Another potential pathway here are systems like FedWiki or anagora.org which provide shared and interlinked note spaces. Have any educators attempted to use these for coursework? The closest I've seen recently are public groups using shared Roam Research or Obsidian-based collections for book clubs.
- Roland Barthes
- note taking
- card index for teaching
- monkey see monkey do
- modelling behavior
- Roam Research
- book clubs
- Feb 2022
Students should not only learn to write papers, butalso learn facts, be able to discuss their ideas in seminars and listencarefully to lectures
I wonder if there are any labs which not only have journal clubs, but have a shared note taking system or zettelkasten as well to keep as a community resource.
I'm sure there are probably a few lab wikis in existence.
Are professors keeping public note collections that they share with students or fellow researchers?
- Jul 2021
NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Eval Bristol. (2021, May 27). Event: The CONQUEST study has collected data on the contacts, behaviour & symptoms of staff & students @BristolUni during #COVID19 to inform policy & math modelling. Join us for this webinar on 8 June for an update on the study, its impact & future plans. Https://t.co/DHrmferP0L https://t.co/25cOASdyKJ [Tweet]. @HPRU_BSE. https://twitter.com/HPRU_BSE/status/1397906695775473671
- Apr 2021
- Feb 2021
Vigfusson, Y., Karlsson, T. A., Onken, D., Song, C., Einarsson, A. F., Kishore, N., Mitchell, R. M., Brooks-Pollock, E., Sigmundsdottir, G., & Danon, L. (2021). Cell-phone traces reveal infection-associated behavioral change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(6). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2005241118