Jump Street (jazz argot for "the top")

Conversations about Conversations about Conversations
(Note--This title was suggested by an H.L. Mencken article, "Criticism of Criticism of Criticism")
Morgan Gresham's and Mike Jackman's Interactive Review of

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by Beth Baldwin

"I will at least say that I'm very excited by what my students and I have experienced in our electronic conversations with one another, very excited by the possibilities that computer telecommunications and networks provide for those of us who are interested in conversational pedagogies. But, those of us who go into that space do so as pioneers, without having a great deal of narrative at our disposal to tell us what it's like or what to expect. My teaching collaborator and I will continue to share our experiences with others in the hope that more teachers will join us in enacting what at this time is merely an experimental model for learning." (--Baldwin Chapter 3)

Some more tidbits to whet your appetite:

Interested yet? If so, read on!


Beth Baldwin's dissertation combines conversations with her "inter-course" collaborator Bob King and textual evidence from their class's electronic conversations. Between the conversational chapters lie the chapters of interpretation, as she suggests it should be - conversation being the primary material of knowledge-making. Therefore, the conversations both frame the dissertation and reoccur at crucial points, nicely combining form and content. Beth argues that a conversation-based pedagogy should replace the academic essay as the central concern of composition classes. Her students' conversations are written, computer mediated, and are considered to be an "authentic," "genuine," and "natural" form of communication which she contrasts to the "monologic" essay. Yet other voices in composition conversation have for a decade or more taken issue with the same adjectives in analyzing expressivist philosophies and in offering insight into orality and speech genres. We suggest that these voices are too important to leave out of the mix. We also suggest that conversation needs a concise definition. Conversations has been published on the world wide web in hyptertext format. Heeding Eric Crump's call, we offer ideas for the use of hypertext style to help with the presentation of documents on line. We find ourselves in strong agreement with Beth's assertion of the great power of conversation to make meaning.

We've tried to stay conversational in both the form of our review and in our creative process, following Beth's lead. We want our review to show a formal embodiment of our ideas - lots of linking back and forth between us, melding conversations, some of the section jointly done perhaps, with linking back to the document and to other documents.

You can tell who we are easily if your browser supports colors and images, especially if you are using Netscape 2 or above (highly recommended):

Morgan: Something Morgan says is purple and is aligned left. There's also the nifty image of Morgan's name.

Mike: Something Mike says is green and is aligned right. And he's got a nifty image of his name too.

Return Conversation HTML Style Adjective Process