The (Updated) Gist
July 24, 2008
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For those who have despaired of finding time to read my thesis drafts, perhaps a Wordle of the first chapter might convey the gist:
Hat tip Dead Voles.
I wonder if I can submit one of these in place of an abstract? Perhaps I should ask Wildly, who has a post up with the alarming words: “Yesterday, when I made the final change to my thesis”… Does this mean there is a new doctor in the ‘sphere? :-)
Updated to add that Carl from Dead Voles suggests a pedagogical application for Wordle:
I imagine requiring students a week before an early-semester paper is due to come to class with a wordle printout of their introductory paragraph. I would then put them in work groups and have them attempt to interpret each others’ wordles to see how close they could get to the author’s intended meaning. In the process I think they would be clarifying in their own minds what ‘extra’ is needed beyond mere words to communicate a meaning and frame an argument. The additional benefit is that this would move their procrastination window up a week.
(Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that there is a certain… resemblance between Carl’s suggestion, and one of my actual assessment tasks this term, which allows students to post extremely rough and schematic notes about course assessments to a blog – precisely with the intention, as Carl phrases it above, to move up the procrastination window… My version is significantly less attractive for students to distribute to their peers…)
Carl also suggests a group exercise for the readers of both blogs: comparing only the wordles of Carl’s dissertation chapters, and my own – what would readers suggest are the primary differences between our work? :-)
And Carl suggests a different sort of exercise – one that seems strangely topical for the dissertations of L Magee or G Gollings: how would one redesign Wordle to take into account relations, as well as frequencies, among the words?