Ok, you’ll just have to go read hippo86’s rant/rave for yourself. The Hippo (“Hip”) opens like this:

Why aren’t people talking???!!! Damnit, sh*t, fu*k!

That’s Comment #17 to hints of connected dialogue. The writing is a little sloppy: there are missing spaces, incomplete references, and a slew of pathos which might interfere with the quality of the logos, or add – pending readers’ stylistic preferences. “Hip”, though, has actually applied the model I have been showing you all semester. Really, you don’t think I have gone to the time, labor, and care of crafting these blogposts full of references to your good thinking and contributions to our conversation only for my own personal amusement, do you? Please!

Let’s start with the serious critique from keithjagger:

“Maybe it’s Steph’s way of expressing frustration with our replies and the connections we may or may not be making, but I’m not sure going so far as implying that our responses are “Random firing or neurons” or questioning the relevance of what we wrote is an appropriate response. We are all educated people; I do not think any of us would be writing something we randomly conjured up or something totally irrelevant.” (Comment 13).

Ouch. I hope my respect for the intelligence of each and every one of you is clear, yet I can sense how that phrasing might have pinched a nerve. :-/ W26s1 articulates the mode of student engagement that I have sought: “We shouldn’t be doing assignments based on what we think Steph wants to see, but based on what she wants us to learn” (Comment 15). I have to tell you, overcoming the trained sensibility described by metalcircus to give the teacher what (you think) she wants has been brutally tough to overcome.

“In past class situations, had I been asked to do something like this, there would have been a blog post, and then maybe 3 or 4 questions to answer after the post. I would have written what I know the teacher wanted to hear and not even looked at how other students responded. This is a lot different” (metalcircus, Comment 9).

This kind of teaching/learning is “different” for me, too. Every class I teach is distinct, the dynamics unfold along unique parameters, even if the subject matter is the same and I keep the same assignments from semester to semester. The challenge of the task is for real: the matters we engage in/through class are a microcosm of the whole shebang out there in the wide wide world. Can we allow ourselves occasional space to vent, knowing the emotion is not personal and we’ll all get back on track? I hope it is ok that I chuckled at two expressions of candour in the blog replies:

“Without relevance to the context or content (which in this class is broader and broader every time we look up)…” aisforastronaut, Comment 12

“Steph asked for us to write a “map of the conversation”…. raise ur hand if you have any idea what this means? no one? okay… thats the first problem.” Oddity33, Comment 10

Here we are; the learning curve (for each of you, and for me) has been what it has been and we (you) have one week to rock out on your final paper. You are well-positioned to do so. Honest. Check out what you collectively know about doing research, applying the semiotic method, and adding to a conversation.

“Nothing ever really completely clicks until I’m writing about it in this blog. It all just finally hits me and makes sense. Writing AS Communication. It works.” ~ metalcircus, Comment 30, sordid process)

“I believe the key is to keep the conversation going. no one has to be right or wrong, only different. Difference is the way we learn about things, throwing ideas around with opposite minds is the way we learn how to take a step back and look at something from a different angle. This is how we should be learning everyday.” ~ oddity33, Comment 29, sordid process

“We have this movie, Babel by which we are surrounded. The movie seems quite confusing at times, but through our own questioning of what we have seen, we begin to understand.” ~ keithjagger, Comment 12, capturing a moment

“Stpeh has been trying all semester to establish connections amongst students using the wiki page and also between students and the rest of the world. Taking advantage of these avenues is something she wants us to consider.” ~ keithjagger, Comment 12, capturing a moment

“…in Serendipity? Steph draws our attention to the different perspectives of one act (both the bomb threat of “My Day in Sentence” and the shooting in “Babel”.) I think by exposure to several perspectives on one act our understanding of that act is deepened and enriched.” ~ likeboldcolors, Comment 13, capturing a moment

“…things are connected and this is important because connections help make us feel comfortable, safe, and like we are not alone in the world. People learn from each other because of this connections as well. Rather than having one professor tell us what he or she thinks of the world – we get our peers telling us different things and helping us come up with our own addition to a conversation whether it be about Babel in relation to the Wiki or this course or the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict or gay marriage, or gun control, or the use of technology in the classroom, etc etc etc. We all have something to add to the conversation- we just have to do it!” Anon136, Comment 1, hints

“…maybe in conversing with each other, establish the context…” likeboldcolors, Comment 2, hints

“In order to establish a “good” connection, one should first look at the context of a situation and analyze whether the thing that’s trying to be connected has any relevance to it.” ~ rocketsredflair, Comment 3, hints

“…we see our own thought processes (that had been disorganized throughout wordpress to begin with) organized through her response. And overall, that was the point she was trying to make in class, if we can just take an idea that we want to get across to a certain group, we gather evidence to help support our point and write to that audience.” ~ shorty763, Comment 4, hints

“To think critically we have to take steps before we can rightly answer a piece of work that we are selves do not understand. The context does not need to be agreed with but needs to be understood to comment…. The point of strangers reading my work is for them to understand the point of clarity I am trying to describe, what will my readers reactions be?” ~ carmella7, Comment 5, hints

“…the boundaries are within the dialog that is connected and that can be continued; the writer and audience make the boundaries.” ~ aligirl22, Comment 6, hints

“I realized that I have to read each blogpost 2 or 3 times to get a better understanding of what’s being said.” ~ ciaobelllla, Comment 8, hints

“Engage further in conversations to create new ones? Quotes and connections are what tie our blog posts together. This could, perhaps, be a boundary that we are experiencing. Our dialogue is connected, both in the classroom and in blog posts. We, as writers, must establish an audience which creates a boundary within itself.” ~ ciaobelllla, Comment 8, hints

“We’re all supposed to be working together here, and obviously it isn’t happening as much as we’d all like. I can confess that I haven’t always been doing my part, but I guess it’s hard sometimes. Opening up the dialog between classmates could add a whole new dynamic to all of our writing. We’ve done peer review in the past, but this really is where the ultimate peer review should be done (even including steph in reviewing). As it’s getting late in the semester, will we ever get to use this to its full potential? Will we all just delete our accounts after the semester is over? This is a good way to bring a class together and a good way to think about every kind of topic.” ~ metalcircus, Comment 9, hints

“…the idea that before we start writing our responses, we should take time to analyze what has been written and ask questions. There has to be a reason the article we are responding to was written and a way we are connected to it.” ~ keithjagger, Comment 13, hints

“…return to something old (like our first thoughts on Bable) and continuously reconstruct our ideas and thoughts on this. That isn’t just learning but it is applying what we have learned.” ~ kmb04, Comment 14