The Designs of Academic Literacy: A Multiliteracies Examination of Academic Achievement

By Michael Newman | Go to book overview
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Chapter 8
Playing the Game

In the past two chapters, I explored operations and information types as components of a game consisting of channeling course content from a source to a goal. These two sets of categories provide better access to what is happening as students take courses than does a descriptive analysis alone or one using less precise categories such as study strategies or text types. Nevertheless, the focus in each case was on the role of the operation or type of information, which can give the mistaken impression that types of information and operations act in isolation. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this chapter, therefore, I show how information types and operations interacted by widening the angle of the lens so to speak, and starting with a less highly theorized depiction of the study activities. In so doing, I reveal aspects of the participants’ academic life that were missed in the close-in examinations of formal categories. I do this by looking at the game in three main stages, procuring information, channeling it, and displaying it for a grade in what I called in the last chapter “the endgame.”


PROCURING INFORMATION

Students can first get information in one or two main formats: written or oral. The predominantly oral sources included, in order of frequency, lectures, discussions in recitation, conversations with classmates or professors, videos, and student presentations. Written ones consisted of, also in order of frequency, textbooks, instructor

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