On Writing Groups and Introducing the Writers of Purple Prose

Inspired by Paul Silvia’s How to Write a Lot (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Lot-Practical-Productive/dp/1591477433/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267233871&sr=8-1) I organized a group of like-minded faculty members and we began a writing group in the spring of 2010. Silvia notes that writing groups are wonderful for exchanging ideas and establishing some accountability for one’s own informal writing deadlines.

While I had a good run of productivity during November, with regularly scheduled writing time each night, it tapered off during the holidays and I soon found myself slipping back into old habits (waiting for large chunks of time, then brain dumping in a frantic sort of way to meet deadlines).  We had our second meeting today and it’s turning out to be a lot of fun.  I organize the group roughly as follows (names changed to protect the innocent):

– Bernardo, our spiritual leader and guru, is a full Professor who has been an academic for over 80 years (okay, maybe this is a slight exaggeration).  He is focused on his legacy now, and his dream is to bring together older adults together with young children so that elders can share what they know.  Spending much of his career in K12 education, he is determined to spend his remaining time bringing together these communities in order to improve education and make young people curious about the world once again.

– Le, a new first year Assistant Professor, recently graduated from a prestigious university and is now interested in forging his own path, independent from his advisor.  He is currently finishing up a few remaining projects with connections back to his alma mater, but he is also beginning to map out space in the games and learning territory and hopes to do some good in this domain.  Like Bernardo, he too is passionate about harnessing the power of informal learning to change education for the better.

– Spike, an outgoing and charismatic individual, is a relative noob to academic publishing, but he is enthusiastic about learning and brings great ideas and energy to our weekly discussions.  A long time instructor and entrepreneur, Spike is exploring ideas concerning his own teaching and the articulation of those ideas into scholarly articles.  He is currently attending workshops with UCF’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and wants to use digital media technologies to teach visually and make coursework engaging in large sections.

– Thomas, a fifth year Assistant Professor, is (hopefully) on the verge of tenure and thinking about how he wants to spend the next phase of his academic career.  He considers much of his work from 2005-2010 to be exploratory in nature and he looks forward to moving into a more empirical period of work to test some of the products and projects that he has worked on during this time.  He enjoys writing and interdisciplinary work, but he is probably most passionate about designing interactive widgets for teaching and learning.

This is our team, and we’re forging ahead to build regular writing schedules and keep the group updated on our progress.  Onward, Purple Writers!

3 Responses to “On Writing Groups and Introducing the Writers of Purple Prose”

  1. Aramis says:

    Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d’Artagnan out on a first adventure.

  2. spike says:

    Best Practices for Integrating Game-Based Learning
    into Online Teaching

    This is a fine piece. Really clean. Almost ( but not quite) like Billy Joel’s lyrics on “The Stranger” album….Every word in the right place, right amount of words used, didn’t beat the horse just led in the right direction.

    I’d like to have a further discussion with you about the place and use of “serious games” and Mike’s comment that they might not be in competition with the Halos and Grand Theft Autos of the world. (They might be…and why not? Why can’t Newton and Twain be like a Big Mac)

    I liked your examples of games…that helped. I’m a firm believer in the strength of using the media and since I read your paper online I wanted it to be an online experience. I showed my son one of them (crayon physics) and he wanted to download it (hmmmmmm).

  3. admin says:

    Thanks Max. Let’s talk. Maybe over some Smokey Bones. And yeah, CPD is a good one — I always use that as an example in class to showcase innovative game mechanics (with low-tech graphics).

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