Academic Cypher

In hip hop culture, the cypher is a circle of MCs, B-boys/B-girls, beatboxers, etc who freestyle and/or battle one after the other without interruption, exchanging rhymes and flows back and forth or around. The cypher is where training takes place and skills are tested, where people collaborate, and where people create "off the top" or written/choreographed, tapping into the place where thought and action come together to share energy and advance the craft...the Academy should aim to do the same.

Category: MindMap (page 1 of 2)

Timeline: Mindmap, Popplet, and Layout/Design

Last MindMap: Thank Goodness

For the last MindMap, were were to organize our MindMap by concepts. I started this process by listing all the theorists as a guide. After this process, I stopped because I realized that I do not have any concepts by which to group these theorists. So, I went with the things that come to mind when I think of this course: human agency, non-human agency, tracing, and hierarchy.

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The biggest thing I’ve learned from doing the MindMap and the other blogs is that I learn the way I learn and it works for me. This has been the most challenging semester I’ve ever had in my entire life. Even more so than the semester in which I took 2 PhD level classes, my mom passed, and I taught 2 classes at 3 different schools. This entire semester I have been thinking: “There is something wrong with me. I should not be here. Apparently, I am not smart enough to get a PhD.” It took dealing with the MindMap concepts for me to realize what lies at the heart of my issues is my learning style. I am not a visual learner. I have never been in my 30 years of living. I have no desire to be a visual learner, creating this MindMap did not help me to grapple with the concepts presented in the readings. It obfuscated them. Every week I had to push myself to figure out how to condense and connect the things I’d read in order to do the MindMap. I am linear. I like straight lines. I like lists. I like short/concise annotations or long lists with no complete sentences and no visuals. That is how I learn. I like privacy to try out new ideas. This approach, however closed off and inadequate it may seem to others, got me here. I did the MindMap because I had to do it. Do I understand it: No! Am I glad I did it: Yes! I am glad because now I know for certain what works for me and what doesn’t. The processes (MindMap/ Visualize All the Things) felt like steeple chase from my days of track in high school.




MindMap#11: Neurobiology

Never thought I’d be typing the words Neurobiology. This week’s mind map was the easiest one for me. As I was doing the reading, I was thinking of connections. I imagined myself drawing lines from How Stuff Works to Dendrites and Axons and then drawing connections between Buses and Action Potential and Snapchat. I did all of these things for this week’s mindmap. The neurology jumped out at me, especially in regards to Action Potential, which I felt captured movement in Snapchat perfectly. In my reading notes I discussed:

The movement of the nerve impulse forward via the opening and closing of channels and the inability of information to be sent backwards made me think of Snapchat communication as a nerve impulse. The user taking the snap after being sparked by an event or situation. The user receiving the snap and having that small window of time in which to consume the information. This entire process is not as fast as a nerve impulse and much simpler, but worth exploring.

These connections were important to me because I think this week’s reading finally helped me to understand the network as metaphor.


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MindMap #10: Ecologies

This week’s mind map made me regret the week by week layout of my mind map. The week by week mapping has forced me to circle back to the top in order to connect to weeks that are on the opposite side of the screen. Anyhow, I added the following nodes: niche, Frankentheory, ecology of composition/writing process, and distribution,emergence, embodiment, and enaction.

I connected most of these nodes to CHAT, ANT, and Ecologies. These stood out to me because I see Syversons reworking or re-framing of the writing process as being similar to the remapping of the rhetorical canon done by Prior et al. I also felt that this Frankentheory approach was similar to ANT. Actor Network Theory pulls from a variety of areas. It is interdisciplinary even though it centers on re-framing sociology. As I’m writing this, I feel I should have made a node that said re-framing. It seems that much of what we have done in the course focused on re-framing existing ideas or theories flattening them and removing any binaries or dichotomies.

I think these things jumped out at me because I am starting to think that Snapchat may require a Frankentheory approach because the conversations about Snapchat continually frame it as something that it is not, so much so that everyone has just accepted this new conversation as the truth. I think I want to push back against that.

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MindMap #9: Affordance and Ecology

This week’s MindMap was difficult for me because I spent the week at CCCC, which means that productivity was out the window. I attempted to do work every night, but usually I was mentally and physically exhausted. So, I was thrilled to read Norman’s work on affordances. It was clear cut and straight to the point (and I understood every word). This is the first time that has occurred since reading about the rhetorical situation (Week 1). This excitement faded, however, when I read Bateson and realized that I, once again, was not making connections. I have yet to see how affordances connect to Bateson’s ecology of the mind. The focus on environment jumped out to me. I thought that could possibly be looked at in the sense of what the environment affords us (?).

For my mindmap, I added nodes about systems because I saw the ecology as a system/network in the same sense of genre systems, activity systems, and network/hardware systems (from HowStuffWorks?). I made affordances a separate primary node because it functions differently for me, right now. I added the nodes user, designer, qualities/characteristics versus affordances. I focused on the user and designer because of the focus on interface and design in Norman’s article. I also thought about this being a network in the sense that the user, designer, and the affordances are connected and impact one another. I haven’t thought that through just yet. I also focused on the difference between affordances and qualities/characteristics. I was one of those people guilty of conflating the definition of affordances. These nodes will remind me that what a thing affords and it qualities/characteristics are not the same thing.

MindMap #8: Latour

Latour has been added to the list of people I plan to avoid forever (along with Foucault). I did not enjoy reading about ANT. I have read about and used ANT before in digital humanities; however, I did not read Latour. I cannot remember who I read, but I remember enjoying it. This was not as mentally exhausting as Foucault, but it wasn’t a walk in the park.

As for my mindmap, I added redefining social, actor, and social. I presented these in the sense that the entire first section was focused on redefining social. There was also a focus on expanding on what social sciences can now do. I like the idea of moving away from social being presented in the same way as “wooden.” There is much more to social than a position as a descriptor. Actor was connected to everything (because inanimate things also work as actors). This made me think of the saying: everything is rhetoric and everything’s an argument. I interpreted this more as everything is connected/interrelated than everything is actually an argument/actor/rhetoric.

MindMap #7: Hypertext

My additions to this week’s MindMap’s focused on Joyce and Johnson-Eiloa. I was intrigued by the way that hypertext challenged linearity and authority. All of these theories move away from a linear and flat presentation of writing and rhetorical discourse to a non-linear and dynamic presentation. This is significant if we are to think of networks as being active.

Hypertext provides a different perspective on the way in which author and audience interact. The removal of the binary between author and reader.

“Hypertext readers not only choose the order of what they read but, in doing so, also alter its form by their choices” (19).

This was significant in regards to my exploration of Snapchat, wherein I am trying to gain a better understanding of the interactions between user and recipient. How does Snapchat function as a network? Is Snapchat a network?

I connected all of these new nodes to the rhetorical situation (because of the focus on author and reader). I know that connections can also be made with Latour’s ANT; however, I haven’t done the popplets for that theory just yet.