Sunday, January 13, 2013

Random Bullets of Recommitting to Writing, with a side dash of MOOCs

Between MLA and a bout of illness, I've fallen off the writing cliff big time. Here's a self-reminder list about why I need to climb back up.

  • Unless I want to move to a non-pseudonymous blog where I can talk about MOOCs and brag about my posts on Twitter, the way everyone else does, my writing life lies elsewhere and I ought to knock off talking about them while I work on the book. 
  • Ditto for the comically inept and silly MSM posts about lazy professors and the rest of it. 
  • Double ditto for the MLA debates over the "dark side of Digital Humanities," which is an interesting discussion but a distraction.
  • Jonathan Rees's recent post about disaggregating knowledge and separating it from the workers who own it (a MOOC practice reminiscent of labor-busting in the olden days) reminded me of this New Yorker article in which Atul Gowande argues that a Cheesecake Factory model of consistency might help improve medical practice. While Gowande makes a good case for this in medicine, it occurred to me that this is the MOOC model, too. In the "I'll teach/lecture, and you can be my tutor/assistant/handmaiden" model now being hyped for local professors, we're all going to be the  sous-chefs doing prep for a meal that we never get to create. If I'm going to be stuck in a food assembly line arranging arugula leaves on a plate hour after hour, day after day, for the creative foods that the MOOC superchef/lecturer hands down for us to replicate, having your own writing as a focus is going to have to replace the satisfactions of teaching.
  •  Time to get to work. 

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