Posted in Discussion Questions

Cushman problem setting discussion, day one wrap up:

Thank you so much Courtney, Coby and Adam for leading this first discussion. It’s always difficult to be first, and it’s super difficult to sit through those first few minutes of silence. The three of you did a great job of engaging each other and the rest of the class.

Thanks for letting me jump in here and there. I get excited about this stuff, so I was jazzed to talk about it with you. One really important thing I want to reiterate: class discussions, particularly about reading like this, are about learning for me too. I don’t know all the answers, even though I teach these readings and use them in my own scholarship. Your questions are valid and interesting, and your ways of figuring stuff out are super important to our class, to you as future professionals, and people you work with and the communities you live in. Keep asking questions and talking to each other. This is how we do better work.

Some questions and ideas that I think are worth returning to as you read, and re-read for Wednesday:

  • To what extent is problem setting about recognizing a problem, and to what extent is it about inventing a problem? Invention is important here. Think about the connection to rhetorical ecologies/rhetoric.
  • Keep thinking about the role of vulnerability in problem setting, technical communication, professional writing.
  • Keep thinking about the role on ambiguity and openness.
  • Keep thinking about the difference between problem setting and problem solving. Think about the difference in “addressing a problem” vs “solving a problem.” What are some examples of problems we address vs problems we solve?
  • Keep working with the idea of problem setting as temporary framing, as creating temporary stability and clarity– to what end? Why is this important? How does it connect to PW/TC?
  • Keep thinking about the difference between ways of working and work practices. Is there a difference? How does this relate to attunement?
  • This question from Coby at the end of class is worth returning to as well: Can you problem set for the future? What might that practice look like? Can you think of examples?




I am a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition and Purdue University. I currently teach first year composition. My research interests include threshold concepts in composition, invention strategies, service-learning, community engagement, and professional and technical writing.

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