Things I Learned Reading Student Projects This Week

In terms of my work, the past few days have pretty much been about reading student papers. Final projects in the writing technologies course are about the use of online communication technologies on campus; final seminar papers in the rhetoric of social engagement class are about everything from YouTube to Ecuadorian politics.

Some of the things I've learned from reading all this good stuff:
  • all about T9, which I'd never even heard of; T9, for anyone else in the dark, automates text-message entry; I think I'll post something later about T9 in relation to other forms of automated composition tools

  • the deal with JenniCam, the first webcam; I mean, I'd heard about JenniCam before, but one terrific seminar paper got me thinking about how webcams like JenniCam (and they're not all this way) reveal the everyday in some challenging ways

  • oh so much about Ecuadorian politics!, which I knew .01 about before reading another great seminar paper

  • the many permutations of how away messages are used in IM communication; I've read about this before in student work, but two papers in particular this semester got me thinking about how users have colonized this little niche in IM software to make the tool useful in sooo many unexpected ways

  • from another paper, I got a good sense of the sheer volume of texting many undergrads engage in; from another project on texting, a nice breakdown of reasons undergrads text instead of, say, making a call

  • about this video comprised entirely of kinetic icons; from the same student project, I got a renewed sense of the value of outstanding, thoughtful design in written composition

  • the existence of a Facebook group called the word "gay" is not a synonym for "stupid"; as of this morning, the group has 13,275 members

And there's a lot more, but I'll stop the list there. After reading all of this work—and yes, I still have a few more to go—I was reminded of how incredibly thorough and inventive students can be at the end of a term. With a ton of stuff going on and all kinds of pressure, with time constraints and limitations of all kinds, amazing work still gets done.

So thanks everyone for all the lessons and insights!


  1. katka9:40 AM

    T9 was huge in phones when I was in Slovakia, and a total pain in the ass. Think grammar check.

  2. No doubt! In playing around with it a bit, I found that I was always being routed toward words I didn't want. Grrrr!

  3. ergh! that's what that was ... they use it in Ecuador too ... especially annoying (as I suppose katka knows) when you're functioning in multiple languages ...

    i was supposed to text my friend's daughter that we were waiting for her on guayaquil but i kept getting stuck with guapo ...

  4. Totally! T9 is a serious expression boss!