Category Archives: Mindmap

MindMap #3: Things Could Get Messy Before Long

This week’s mind map exercise illustrates some overlap potential, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the organic nature of this network of ideas is developing a mind of its own.

Mind Map 3

Mind Map #3: Feb. 2nd

My early efforts at mind mapping these connections are relying largely on key concepts of individual authors or activities. I notice, however, that the temptation is to begin arcing into mini-narratives – hardly suited to the limited space of this particular “genre.” There is simply so MUCH content to sift through, and trying to work within the rules of 2-D spatial limitations (design / color choices, creating sufficient white space, using concise terminology) is clearly becoming part of this network map’s constitution.

Based on our conversations of last week, Foucault’s thinking took on more clarity, enough that I was able to begin thinking through some possible connections — the basis of several of the new popplet entries. One of the more significant emerging threads is the possible connections between Foucault’s idea of Trace, the seen / not-seen in-between  that has the power to define a discourse with as much (some like Bazerman might say more) power as the more traditional visible features (like grammar rules). So I began to wonder — in discussions of genre — whether we can see the Trace as Activity or as Bazerman puts it “enactment of social intentions” (“Systems of Genres” 75)? Bazerman and Foucault both comment on the reciprocal nature of the discourse (or genre) and the participants in same — Bazerman alludes to this on a cultural scale on pg. 325 of his “Speech Acts” article — in creative, connective, shaping powers. What might this mean on a disciplinary scale (I’m thinking of the current debates about online teaching and digital writing)?

Finally, thinking of the “master narratives” comment made in our last class, I began to wonder if past discussions of genre within English Studies (as an end it itself, typified by structural components or features alone rather than the alternative tools of analysis put forth this week by Miller, Bazerman, and Popham) constitute a Master Narrative of our discipline — if dominant theories created static, inflexible nodes. With the added layer of genre theory as described by Miller and Bazerman (and the scholars they cite) as well as Foucault’s archaeology, archives, and trace, can we now reflect upon our own discourse community’s history as one which performed through a model of  “history of ideas”? And are we now moving confidently toward the more flexible  “archaeologies of knowledge” thanks to interdisciplinary foci? But how do we navigate the presence of embedded inflexible nodes (such as theories and competing disciplines within our field — linguistics, composition, literary studies — that tend to foster a discourse of homogeneity (Foucault)? How do we “disrupt” the boundaries and structures in productive ways on a disciplinary as well as on a classroom scale? Certainly some unfinished thinking here, but as Foucault might say, understanding “discursive formation” is all about seeing it as a “space of multiple dissensions” (156) where analysis of the structure is not about the objects, but the tensions created by the activity, functions, relationships, and gaps.

2014 "Mimi and Eunice"

2014 “Mimi and Eunice”

Summary of HTW Activity Posts: A Reading Overview & Mindmap Commentary

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore! ~ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

In a few separate blog entries, I’ve commented on the thinking prompted by classmates’ HTW Activities  (Leslie’s, Daniel’s, and Suzanne’s). As I put these in the mix with my own reading response on WiFi and Mobile,  my mind wandered to some odd places as I attempted to fit all of these into a coherent set of connections — rhizomes again. What popped into my head was the famous phrase from “The Wizard of Oz,”

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…oh my!

Why? Great question. I think it’s because so many of us might be considered Millennials in our embrace of technologies and networking (even if not in age range), and as such, we often use that technology without “seeing” deeply into its structure. These activities and readings bring those areas to the surface, and activities like those mentioned above — involving reflective assessments of who and what we are within that structure / network — brought that home to me.

For example, Summer‘s collaborative Popplet activity invited all of us to visualize how we are part of a cloud — a cyborg. The connections made by others, overlapping nodes, first reinforces the concept of cloud networking — supporting the argument that we are not operating in isolation, but are simply part of a transparent network of links and shared spaces. While I can appreciate that assertion on its face, when I think of how we as humans are still flesh-and-blood nodes (the organic) who are deeply entrenched in physical-based f2f communities, I wonder if this explanation isn’t a bit facile given so much of our field’s scholarship on the need to create pedagogy and learning spaces that embed f2f awareness and practices. As a composition instructor, reflective awareness of how I create lessons that embed technology (see Kairos publication review as an example of this focus).

Maury and Jenny both tackled Networking. Maury’s focus on network nesting really resonated with me, given this week’s Foucault readings and our work with mind maps and Google drawing. Visualizing the networking of our individual lives, and thinking about the hardware side of it all in my own HTW assignment (partnering with Chvonne) really exposed the 3- and 4-dimensionality of this space we’re exploring. Experimenting with the node-connection possibilities of IFTTT, and reading over classmates’ experiences with it, brought to mind the idea of mechanical vs. organic once again, but it seems the potential for complete creative independence is limited for the user. Here’s a repeat of my post onto Maury’s Google document to illustrate what I mean:

I lingered in the start gate on this one because I first had to ask myself what connections would be most useful to me. I’m not heavily embedded in FB, and I am fairly conservative when it comes to sharing or moving any photos (so no, I don’t Instagram). As I mentioned in my comment on Daniel’s post, this “meaning-making” or “meaning-making facilitative” program seems to add that organic back into the mechanical of networks, allowing us to become part of the “packet switching” function, I think. So, after I concluded what type of connection I’d find useful, the process was quite intuitive. But it did make me see the constructedness of the choices as boundaries. For example, I combined the NY Times with an email (I know, how unimaginative), but the predesigned options for “this” allowed no creativity on my part in terms of what I might value about the NY Times. So as a system or network node creation activity, this is still rather controlled.

Finally, when looking at Jenny’s Popplet of personal networks,  it’s interesting to note the variations among us. In our home, we do not own any SmartPhones and no game systems (unless our grown kids are visiting), so my network diagram is pretty simplistic. It’s a lot of hardware based hubs, which I chose to diagram through basic coloring.

So, here is how my current mindmap reflects all of these encounters (as well as my continuing journey through Foucault:

mindmap update 26 Jan.

26 January Mindmap Update


All in all,  my concept of the structural and conceptual scaffolding of networks, while certainly expanded through technology into both visible and transparent hubs as well as connections, seems much deeper now than when I started this class. Yet I’m also aware that sometimes, things aren’t always what they seem, and the very same boundaries and rule systems of meaning-making as exist in f2f discourse communities have the potential to infuse the way we use technologies.

First Connections: From Readings to Mind Maps

This initial attempt to make visual connections — a digital/visual synthesis — of our materials this term first proved daunting. Although, I must admit, over time I have become more of a visual learner/thinker than I ever thought possible. For a time, I was all about the text, the linearity. However, perhaps because of my experiences with digital media and freshman composition, the broader canvas offered by visual media seemed to allow me more freedoms. On a meta level, this network as a framing device is allowing me to “ping” on connections in ways I might have taken longer to make. I must say, this is an exciting way to begin. I fear, however, that without Popplet, my walls would be covered in sticky notes before too many weeks would pass!

My choices reflect the primary readings from week one, which — in my mind — established a useful groundwork of terms and concepts with which to frame my thinking. Combined with Foucault’s approach to discourse by examining the networks and “negative spaces,” the discussion of ‘rhetorical situation’ by Vatz, Bitzer, and Biesecker — for me, anyway — helped to ground the more philosophical Foucault into the realm of the practical, into potential application. My assigned “How It Works” readings on WiFi / Mobile fit neatly into this emerging web of connections because they all focused on the characteristics or qualities of the objects — the technological media that facilitates the connections. For me, this layering of materials suggests a need for a 3-D rendering, which isn’t possible with Popplet as far as I can tell. But it would be an interesting project.

ENGL894 Knowledge Mindmap

Initial Connections: Creating the Network Nodes