From the Editors’ Introduction: “The socio-cultural and economic changes attending new technologies and globalization—not to mention the response to such changes—suggest to us that now is the right time for this journal. Teacher-scholars are questioning prevailing methodologies for analyzing literacy practices, revisiting foundational theories of literacy, and unpacking the ideological meanings of literacy at work in educational policy and scholarship. It is a transformational time for Composition—as Allan Luke asks in this issue, “Can the field keep up?” We believe more conversation between Literacy and Composition scholars can help provide generative ways to meet this challenge head-on.”
We began Friday’s session by noting that D-WRD has had regular attendance at every single session since we began four years ago, in AQ 2009. I think that not every professional development unit and initiative on campus can claim that. I think it’s great and am always so grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a teaching community and for the collegiality and collaborative problem solving.
We spent some time on Friday reflecting on the notion of “professional development” and how our version of it — which looks to mutual support and collective expertise rather than only to institutional imperatives — values the personal, pedagogical, and professional aspirations of our participants.
We briefly reviewed a couple of our initial 2009 readings that continue to inform the D-WRD ethos — sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly:
- Feenberg’s Transforming/Critical Theory of Technology: http://www.insiteproject.org/book/transforming-technology-andrew-feenberg/
- Selber’s Post-critical Framework: http://composing.org/digitalwrd/selbers-post-critical-framework/
- Normal Research Collective (from the journal Social Epistemology): “Postmodern Pedagogies and the Death of Civic Humanism”
From the New Yorker: “LAPTOP U: Has the future of college moved online?”
“’Humanities have always been cheap and sciences expensive,’” Ian M. Miller, a graduate student who’s in charge of technical production for a history moocintended to go live in the fall, explained. ‘You give humanists a little cubbyhole to put their books in, and that’s basically what they need. Scientists need labs, equipment, and computers. For moocs, I don’t want to say it’s the opposite, but science courses are relatively easier to design and implement. From a computational perspective, the types of question we are asking in the humanities are orders of magnitude more complex.’ When three great scholars teach a poem in three ways, it isn’t inefficiency. It is the premise on which all humanistic inquiry is based.”
From the organizers of the 2013 Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing:
The University of Minnesota will be hosting the 2013 Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing in St. Paul, MN. Feel free to pass this information along to department colleagues. See the link below for more details and let us know if you have any questions. We hope to see you in November! https://sites.google.com/a/umn.edu/gpacw13/home
What effect does our portfolio assessment method have on our
students’ perceptions of writing?
Our portfolio assessment method invites students to engage in learning on a variety of levels. Students are invited to extend their view of writing beyond the closure of “term papers” and the artificial boundaries of semesters, to see writing as involving recursive processes of critical thinking, expression, rethinking, and revision. The portfolio encourages students to consider the responses of various readers-the professor in the original course, a Writing Center peer consultant, the portfolio evaluation committee-in their revision processes; writing becomes collaborative and interactive, a dialogue with the ideas and voices of others. Students are encouraged to demonstrate the range and variety of “voices” of social and ideological languages that they have learned to manipulate.
As James A. Berlin observes, “The portfolio in a postmodern context enables the exploration of subject formation. As students begin to understand through writing the cultural codes that shaped their development, they are prepared to occupy different subject positions, different perspectives on the person and society” (65). The annotation students write invite them to engage in a complex process of metacognition and metadiscourse, to situate their discourse for a specific audience, engendering the “self-reflexiveness about writing” that Kathleen Blake Yancy identifies (104). Most important, the portfolio requirement invites students to claim ownership and authority over their writing, to review the papers they have written in college, to decide which ones they think are best, and to articulate their writing strengths. In Karen Greenberg’s words, portfolio assessment “sends the message that the construct of ‘writing’ means developing and revising extended pieces of discourse, not filling in blanks in multiple-choice exercises or on computer screens. It communicates to everyone involved—students, teachers, parents, and legislators—our profession’s beliefs about the nature of writing and about how writing is taught and learned” (16).
From Harrison, Suzan. “Portfolios Across the Curriculum.” WPA: Writing Program Administration 19.1-2 (Fall/Winter 1995): 38-49.
Friday May 3rd: Composing with Audio II: Listening and Assignment Workshop
Friday May 17th: Student Portfolio Roundtable
– Background Reading: “Politics and Perils of Portfolio Grading”
– SQ Survey Responses
Friday May 31st: Technology & Literacy Professional Development:
– Reading and discussion: “Technological Ecologies and Sustainability”
– How to respond to job ads with descriptors such as “teaching with technology,” ” digital composition,” “multimodal composing,” and “electronic portfolios”
– How to discuss your teaching with technology and D-WRD participation on your CV and in your cover letter
In the March issue of College English, two articles address the subject of “digital spaces.” The same issue also includes a second entry in the “What Is College English?” (WICE) feature that was introduced in our November issue. Enjoy these two articles and more in the College English March issue.
[If you have any problems with the NCTE links, you can access these articles via the DePaul library's full-text database: http://depaul.worldcat.org.ezproxy1.lib.depaul.edu/oclc/1564053]
“Occupying the Digital Humanities” questions the digital humanities’ dependence on interpretation and critique as strategies for reading and responding to texts.
“Digitizing Craft: Creative Writing Studies and New Media: A Proposal” identifies and examines a digital arm of creative writing studies and organizes that proposal into four categories—process, genre, author, and institutionality—through which to theorize the “craft” of creative production, each borrowed from Tim Mayers’s (Re)Writing Craft: Composition, Creative Writing, and the Future of English Studies.
Many studies have found that technology has helped individual classrooms, schools or districts. For instance, researchers found that writing scores improved for eighth-graders in Maine after they were all issued laptops in 2002. The same researchers, from the University of Southern Maine, found that math performance picked up among seventh- and eighth-graders after teachers in the state were trained in using the laptops to teach.
A question plaguing many education researchers is how to draw broader inferences from such case studies, which can have serious limitations. For instance, in the Maine math study, it is hard to separate the effect of the laptops from the effect of the teacher training.
Educators would like to see major trials years in length that clearly demonstrate technology’s effect. But such trials are extraordinarily difficult to conduct when classes and schools can be so different, and technology is changing so quickly.
From the most recent issue of Computers and Composition (December 2012):
“Exploring the Digital Divide on the U.S.-Mexico Border Through Literacy Narratives”
Building upon the work of Scenters-Zapico’s (2010) Generaciones, this article examines the digital literacy development and practices of two students passing through three different educational institutions on the U.S.-Mexico border. The author makes the argument that literacy narratives such as the ones shared here are vital for complementing the work done by broader quantitative studies on the digital divide, as they document differences that may be otherwise overlooked. In exploring the very different narratives of two students transitioning through high school and into a two-year college or four-year university, this article complicates understandings of the digital divide by exploring technological divides between educational institutions and the role that gateways, external sponsors, and self-sponsorship play in students’ technological literacy development, especially when confronted with limitations on access. The discussion and findings have implications for writing program administrators as well as composition teachers and researchers, including those teaching in online environments.
DePaul Library full text link.
Edited by Robert T. Koch, Jr., Tammy Winner, and Nicholas Mauriello
It has been ten years since Gunther Kress (2003) argued that “a linguistic theory cannot provide a full account of what literacy does or is; language alone cannot give us access to the meaning of multimodally constituted message; language and literacy now have to be seen as partial bearers of meaning only “(p. 35). How has Composition Studies addressed this need for a theory or theories of multimodality, and what media, processes, and pedagogical elements have emerged that seek to answer Kress’s call?
A cursory look at the recent job advertisements within the field of English shows clear distinctions between digital literacy, digital humanities, technical writing, and professional or workplace writing. What are these distinctions? Are they arbitrary classifications, or are they all calls for varying forms of multi-modal writing? If they are calls for multi-modal writing, what does this mean for the development and place of multi-modal writing in Composition Studies? Is it a genre in and of itself, something to be held separate alongside technical, creative, and academic genres? Or is it perhaps a style of writing that cuts across, and is insinuating itself into, traditional departmental classifications, despite the job announcements?
This new online and open-access publication – Debates in the Digital Humamities — has a section on Teaching the Digital Humanities (Part V), in which pedagogy, writing, and academic essays play a major role.
- Digital Humanities and the “Ugly Stepchildren” of American Higher Education
- Graduate Education and the Ethics of the Digital Humanities
- Should Liberal Arts Campuses Do Digital Humanities? Process and Products in the Small College World
- Where’s the Pedagogy? The Role of Teaching and Learning in the Digital Humanities
- Visualizing Millions of Words
- What’s Wrong with Writing Essays
- Looking for Whitman: A Grand, Aggregated Experiment
- The Public Course Blog: The Required Reading We Write Ourselves for the Course That Never Ends
Winter Quarter beginning-of-the-term notes:
- Your First Year Writing sections have been linked to Digication, and you can confirm that — always a good idea — by logging into Digication, clicking on Courses, and noting that your course is listed there. You can also look under People in your course, and see students listed there. If they have any previous and accessible portfolios from other classes, you’ll be able to view them.
- We will confirm later this week that our First Year Writing Portfolio assignments are also linked — a midterm portfolio (optional) and a final portfolio (required)
- We have a shared, programmatic First Year Writing Digital Portfolio assignment here –https://depaul.digication.com/fyw/Portfolio_Assignment3 – where you’ll find both specific, concrete prompts for reflection and more open-ened generative prompts. Please let Michael know if you’d like any help deciphering or using them.
- We also have a DRAFT assignment for an alternative “curated model” digital portfolio here –https://depaul.digication.com/fyw/Alternative_Curated_Method – in which students compose a portfolio based on a selection-and-reflection process but not anchored by a reflective essay. Again, let Michael know if you’d like to talk through those possibilities.
- Finally, if you’re newish to digital portfolios — or even if you have experience — and would like to read some background into the writing-pedagogy and critical backgrounds for digital portfolios (student/writer identity formation, the ethics of disclosure, how reflection gets taught, the problem of performance vs. reflection), we have a small D-WRD library on those topics to help fill in some of the blanks.
Call for Papers:
Computers and Composition Special Issues
“Designing | Writing”
Jonathan Alexander and Julia Reinhard Lupton, guest editors
Benjamin’s prescient figure of the “author as producer” has given way to the “author as designer,” at once a wordsmith, a typesetter, and a marketer who is expected to demonstrate some fluency with fonts and layouts as well as branding and publishing platforms. We invite proposals for a special issue on the topic of “Designing | Writing.” The mediation of text through numerous contemporary digital platforms has sparked consideration among a range of scholars in English studies about the relationship between textuality and design. Scholars in multimedia studies and rhetoric and composition note how writing is often placed in robust relationships to images and other design elements in multimedia “texts,” as well as how text itself is frequently graphically altered for a variety of aesthetic and rhetorical effects. Theorists of literature note the many ways in which textual layouts might constitute ideological claims, arise out of ideological assumptions and values, or occupy a brand niche. Students of literary forms such as poetry trace the manipulation of textual forms as itself a powerful form of meaning making. We invite scholars from rhetoric and composition, visual studies, design history, and literary studies to consider the ways in which writing and design are entering into new relationships with each other in the age of blogging, Twitter, the graphic novel, indie publishing, brand communities, fan fiction, and DIY everything.