Sunday, February 7, 2010

So far, so good....

I’ve already taken Jon’s 322 class (North of the Rio Grande), and although the structure runs along similar lines (pimpin’ out a Wikipedia article, writing blogs, etc...), there are also several adjustments that have been made to the curriculum which I actually see as improvements. For example, in 322 we were racing against time to try to start articles and get them nominated for ‘Did you know...?’ status. The fact that we’re not doing this in this semester could be because all our articles have already been started and at this point are not eligible for DYK, but in my mind: the lack of pressure is all for the best. Competing against time for my first Wikipedia experience was overwhelming and stressful. Even though my group did manage to get a DYK, I felt that I had started my Wikipedia writing style off on the wrong foot, and as a consequence had to go back to the drawing-board halfway through the semester when I realized that wikipedia is (lo and behold) written like an encyclopaedia, not an opinion page or a collection of related quotes. The annotated bibliography is an especially handy tool. I feel that my organized notes on the book I read will enhance my section on Alejo Carpentier’s baroque style because they are all laid out neatly and plainly for me to pick and choose what I want to use; not to mention sections that my group members could also use. Perhaps it’s not a bad idea to do this sort of thing with the other articles and books as well.

I really love the idea of blogwriting for a weekly ‘assignment’. This ensures that the class has read the assigned reading and also allows us to cast all of our thoughts out before we go to class and really delve into the themes, characters, and nuances of each book. I feel particularly passionate about being able to write my blog about whatever pleases me at the time. There’s a seed of freedom there (and, of course, it’s environmentally friendly). :)

The readings always seem like a lot at the time, but I’m enjoying that we are spending at least one week of classes on each half of the books. It was wonderful to start out with Asturias and transition into Carpentier; two authors with similar writing styles, but to different ends. Asturias with his mythical tales of religious proportions, and Carpentier who uses historical and cultural references to bring the marvellous , instead of the magical, into the reality that he associates with both his Cuban and European identities.