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Recommendations from “Ms/Use of Technology Reflections on Feminist Pedagogy from the Technological Front Line”

A potentially generative list of recommendations appears at the end of “Ms/Use of Technology Reflections on Feminist Pedagogy from the Technological Front Line” for those of you at various points of teaching online or preparing to teach online:

  • Inform the students of the pedagogy and the idea behind it. Students need to be aware that the decisions that go into a course are not arbitrary, particularly when the procedures seem so radically different from other large blended classes. While some may ultimately still desire authoritarian instruction, once engaged, skeptics might eventually come around; students informed of feminist pedagogy may start to question their assumptions of the relationship between instructors and students and develop critical thinking and lifelong learning skills, patterns, and awarenesses that go beyond the actual course.
  • Break down the hierarchy of class physically and intellectually. Using technology to support multiple interpretations, encouraging collaborative learning, allowing students to contribute to the process or content, or encouraging students to be responsible for their own learning is not necessarily obvious. That does not mean you cannot make technology serve your needs. While you will need to facilitate this nonhierarchical mode to support students, you might be surprised to learn from them new ways of using technology in the classroom. A feminist approach requires such questioning of assumptions about teaching practices and goals.
  • Students’ voices can be incorporated even in large classes with a little effort and the use of technology. There can be spaces for individuality and personal perspectives even in a huge blended class with a sea of faces or long list of names online. Technology, when used improperly, can isolate, whereas critical and thoughtful engagement can lead to student connections and a dynamic educational community.
  • Make technology work for you, not the other way around. Technology has a way of asserting dominance over our classroom environments when we are not aware, so be mindful of design biases. Think about your class goals and what you want students to do or be able to complete. What are you trying to accomplish with each technology — to give students a voice, encourage Pedagogy Published by Duke University Press 506 Pedagogy collaboration, allow alternative interpretations of the text? Does this technology support your goals, or does technology constrain? Make conscious efforts to push the boundaries of what is possible, but always test these technologies beforehand, to be more informed about the unintended consequences. We found that sometimes working with technology can be a hassle, but sometimes it is worth the hassle if it maintains the pedagogy. Know this up front, and allot time for it (and ask for help).
  • Don’t take on technology and/or large lecture classes alone — use all the resources at your disposal. If we have learned nothing else, it is that teaching a large blended class using feminist pedagogy with so many challenges should not be done alone. Teaching like this should always be a community process. While not all teachers will have the same level of support or resources on their campus, all should at the least avail themselves of the software and hardware companies’ technical support. Additionally, many online forums, blogs, listservs, or other resources for teachers are sponsored by vendors and professional organizations. Social media platforms such as Twitter can also serve as access to resources and connections to other educators.
  • Ask yourself who is on campus to support you — and not only official technology or teaching support. Talk to colleagues engaged in postpositivist pedagogies. Communicate your vision to the people around you and open the class up; invite the supporting people to come to the face-to-face class, to log in to the online class, to get the full context of what is going on. It took all of us to make this class work in a feminist way: collaboration between Cecilia the instructor, knowing the content and managing the classroom; Kathryn the teaching assistant, facilitating face-to-face and online communication; Aimee the instructional designer, supporting the selection of technology and design of the online portion; as well as others in an educational community with a common vision. Breaking down hierarchies by valuing others’ voices and experience, including those of students, makes all feel like legitimate members of the class, more invested in making it work, and proud of its successes.

Martin Luther, Media Pioneer

NYT: Long Before Twitter, Martin Luther Was a Media Pioneer

“The 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses is being celebrated at institutions across the country, showing how deftly he used the media of his day.”

“Americans may know the basics of how Martin Luther was said to have nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, condemning the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences, but they probably don’t realize how Luther strategically used the media of his time: books, paintings, prints and music.”

Materiality is where — is how — our knowing begins

WordStar fit. It complemented Martin in the same way, perhaps, as Jack Kerouac’s famous typing of On the Road on a 120-foot roll of paper or Auster’s cigarettes and Olympia typewriter. “The best writers,” concludes Torn McCarthy, “have always understood that to write is to both grapple with, and to some extent, allegorize the very regime of technological mediation without which writing wouldn’t exist in the first place.” The technological regime McCarthy is speaking of here is writing’s interface, by which I mean not only what is literally depicted on a screen (menus, icons, and windows) but also an interface in the fuller sense of a complete, embodied relationship between a writer and his or her writing materials-the stance and poise and “feel” invoked by William Dickey. In other words, McCarthy is speaking of what we earlier termed materiality, the materiality of both word processing and of writing more generally. This materiality often has implications for interpretation, and it always has implications for preservation and documentation, for history and for memory. This is the scholar’s art. But materiality also grounds us. It demystifies. Materiality is where — is how — our knowing begins.

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing. Harvard UP, 2016. (Tumblr)

Social Media & First Year Writing: Opportunities & Challenges

First Year Writing Faculty Meeting, August 24, 2016

‘We no longer search for news, the news finds us.’

No matter where the students were from, the amount of information coming to them via their mobile phones or the Internet – via text message, on Facebook, Twitter, chat, Skype IM, QQ, email, etc. – is overwhelming; students are inundated 24/7. As a result, most students reported that they rarely go prospecting for “hard” news at mainstream or legacy news sites. Instead they inhale, almost unconsciously, the news that is served up on the sidebar of their email account, that is on friends’ Facebook walls, that comes through on Twitter. (The World Unplugged)

Internet use is a near ‘constant’ for some teens

Teens ages 13 to 17 are also going online frequently. Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile phones, 92% of teens report going online daily — with 24% using the internet “almost constantly,” 56% going online several times a day, and 12% reporting once-a-day use. Just 6% of teens report going online weekly, and 2% go online less often. (Pew: Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015)

Students do most of their socializing online (Pew: Teens, Technology and Friendships)

Andrea Lunsford isn’t so sure. Lunsford is a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University, where she has organized a mammoth project called the Stanford Study of Writing to scrutinize college students’ prose. From 2001 to 2006, she collected 14,672 student writing samples—everything from in-class assignments, formal essays, and journal entries to emails, blog posts, and chat sessions. Her conclusions are stirring.

“I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization,” she says. For Lunsford, technology isn’t killing our ability to write. It’s reviving it—and pushing our literacy in bold new directions.

Clive Thompson on the New Literacy 

  • Students write more than previous generations
  • Students are more aware of the purpose for writing and the audience
  • The writing composed in social media has a performative role; writing is an enactment

No Phone Journals

Inspired in part by Sherry Turkle’s “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.” and in part by our own open-minded curiosity, 13 students in WRD103 volunteered to surrender their phones for four days — Tuesday, 10/13 to Friday, 10/16 — and to keep a phenomenological journal during that time. 

Read some un-edited journal entries, below. The next step is to think about how to turn these experiences, questions, and observations into Op-Ed essays, or other reflective projects: 

Katy: “I actually had to use an alarm clock and watch”

Alex: “first instinct: tweet about it, and I did via instead of the app (since I hadn’t had my phone taken for more than 5 minutes before I did this)”

Sam: “Insight: I actually have a skewed version of time and less patience. I have to wait for someone to email me back. I HAVE TO WAIT. WITH NOTHING TO DO… no Snapchat, Instagram, nothing.”

Charlie: “Notable differences I’ve noticed are that I miss my music. I can’t say I miss anything else.”

Cristina: “I asked my roommate several times to borrow her phone and I am pretty sure she got very annoyed.”

Gabi: “I keep feeling like I was missing something …”

Paulina: “I was talking to them, but they were doing something on their phones. “

Anela: “Right before I had to give my phone in I got really shaky and nervous.”

Dzejna: “As I was writing my name on the pink post-it and wrapping the rubber band around my phone, I felt a sense of anxiety and excitement in my stomach.”

Tania: “The first day sucked the most out of all 3 days.”

What is Hate Speech?

There are some possibly good, productive, and generative writing prompts here:

ACCESSIBLE SYLLABUS: Accessible classroom resources promote student engagement and agency

leaf Via Tulane: Accessible Syllabus 

Looking ahead to 2016-17

  • A session on PechaKucha — 20 slides, 20 seconds each
  • Using student progress features in D2L 
  • Typographic principles of design applied to slideware 
  • Identifying rhetorical purposes in multimodal composing projects 
  • Using Qualtrics, a powerful survey software, for which DePaul has a site license, with Joe Filkins, from DePaul’s Enrollment Management and Marketing
  • Tools that support student peer review — we’ve done this one a couple of times, but there are always new platforms and methods to explore, so we should re-visit it once in a while
  • Composing and editing video (ditto!) 
  • In class, real-time polling software
  • Using social media in writing courses: opportunities and challenges, and there are plenty of both
  • Your ideas: is there a software program you’d like to learn? A teaching-with-technology method or issue you’d like to read about or practice? Email me, pretty please, and we’ll add it to the agenda.

DWRD & WRD202 — Professional Writing for Business

Friday April 1, 2016
300 SAC 10:00-11:00 a.m.

leafPlagiarism in Business/Professional writing courses, and the problem of templates (Mechenbier PDF)

leafA grade-level approach to professional/business discourse analysis, using presidential-campaign speeches as a potential springboard

leafD2L Assignment Grader app

leafSyllabus (re)design



2015-16 D-WRD Sessions

 Upcoming 2015-16 D-WRD Sessions

Winter & Spring 2016

Friday, January 15th: Commenting on student work (with Darsie Bowden) and Digication’s updated Conversations feature

Friday, January 22nd: Teaching Portfolio Workshop

Friday, February 5th: Learning & Teaching Online

  • FITS Pedagogically Distinctive Features of Online Learning at DePaul initiative, with Sharon Guan, FITS Director; high level of instructor presence and student-instructor interaction; Chicago as classroom and global experiences

Friday, February 19th: Learning and Teaching Online: Interaction & Engagement

Friday, April 1stD-WRD & WRD202 — Professional Writing for Business 

Friday, May 6th: Assigning, Supporting, and Assessing Student Presentations


D-WRD session notes: QM Plus/Pedagogically Distinctive Features

Notes from last Friday’s session on QM Plus/Pedagogically Distinctive Features: Victoria Van Kirk Pride, Andrea Yelin, Kristin Rozzell, Victoria Hohenzy, Sarah Brown, Bridget Wagner, Tricia Hermes and I had a very productive session on Online Learning & Teaching, and it was particularly great to have both FYW and WRd202 folks in the room.

Sharon Guan, FITS Director, joined us to give us some background on QM Plus/Pedagogically Distinctive Features from both institutional and pedagogical perspectives. If you’re familiar with Quality Matters — — you’ll know that DePaul uses it for assessing the design of online courses, employing its extensive rubric for reviewing our courses. The QM Plus/Pedagogically Distinctive Features initiative focuses on those aspects of our online courses that have to do with engagement and interaction, which are not usually part of the course-design process, but part of the teaching. (In this regard, Sharon referred to those of us in WRD as “pioneers.”)

And Kristin’s daughter recited a poem for us!

Sharon shared examples from her own teaching, examples from other departments, and observations from her institutional bird’s-eye view about how teachers enact good, productive instances of engagement and interaction.

If you’re using one of our newly redesigned WRD104 or WRD202 master course shells, we focused on these bolded elements:

  • Course Overview and Introduction
  • Learning Objectives (Competencies)
  • Assessment and Measurement
  • Instructional Materials
  • Course Activities and Learner Interaction
  • Course Technology
  • Learner Support
  • Accessibility and Usability
  • (And then, parenthetically, just to remind us: what’s the current state, thinking, and methods regarding student-to-student interaction? Research has shown that online courses with high levels of student-to-student interaction have a positive impact on learning.)

Unbolded entries represent the kinds of materials that FITS Instructional Designers can help us “pre-load” into our D2L courses ahead of time. 

After Sharon’s presentation and some very compelling & generative teacher talk, we decided to build on this opportunity and scheduled another DWRD Online Teaching & Learning workshop — Friday, February 19th, 10:00-11:30 in SAC 300. Sarah Brown will join us, especially for those who’d like to work with videos and screencasts, which often prove to be excellent tools for engagement. If you can’t make it, let me know, and I’ll be sure to collect materials for you.  

Thanks for reading!

Providing feedback & comments on student work

Nancy Sommers, “Responding to Student Writing.” College Composition and Communication, Vol. 33, No. 2 (May, 1982), pp. 148-156

Chris Anson, “What Good Is It? The Effects of Teacher Response on Students’ Development.” Writing Assessment in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of Edward M. White. Ed. N. Elliot and L. Perelman. New York: Hampton Press, 2012. 187-202.

See below for session notes:


Cinnamon rolls & typography

From “Postmodern pedagogies and the death of civic humanism”

5.2. Collaborative and collective pedagogies 

A more widely discussed means of moving beyond textbook-centred pedagogy are collaborative and collective practices. Non-private collaborative and collective teaching practices—such as team teaching, the presence of participatory observers in the classroom, collectively generated syllabi, assignment sequences, and public responses to student work in classrooms in which students also participate in agenda setting—are strategies that can be used to resist the conventional hierarchical stratification of academic work. Such classroom practices not only offer alternative sites for research (the production of knowledge within and about the academy), but also serve a performative function that informs the collective practices of the students themselves.

In English Studies collaborative strategies have been taken up by feminists and other progressive teachers as a way to resist the conventional hierarchical stratification of academic work—a tendency that is seen as inherent in patriarchal discourse. Of course, some teachers have adopted collaborative strategies simply in the interests of efficiency and as a means to develop better communication skills and critical thinking skills in a vocationalist framework. Collaborative work encourages students to work together, it overcomes some of the deleterious effects of individual competitiveness, it can be a way of making students more responsible for their own learning and it can encourage students to take a more active role in the course. While we recognize the gains that can be achieved with collaborative pedagogies, we advocate a more rigorously antihierarchical set of’ collective’ practices. Collaboration work, as we understand it, may be done by participants who agree to a particular division of labor in order to complete a large project, or they may devise a system of interactive feedback, etc., in producing separate projects.

Collective work, by contrast, requires members of the collective to work through to consensus on every aspect of the goals and conditions of production, a project that confronts the breaks or fissures that may prevent such consensus both in their own practices as well as in the discursive practices of the class. Collective work is a means to overcome the limits of individualism in which conventional institutional and social hierarchies are almost always maintained; a student collective grounded in a specific political/intellectual agenda, for instance, will have greater resources with which to contest the authority of the teacher than the same students will have as individual ‘free agents’.

5.3. Computer network-enhanced pedagogies

Some theorists have advanced the claim that internet and hypertext technologies offer ready ways to realize the liberatory possibilities of postmodernism in the literature classroom. The possibility that students could have access to a broad intertext with a high degree of control over the possible connections that may arise in reading a complex text sounds appealing. However, hopes for student empowerment through technology are generally conceived within a consumerist framework of prefabricated choices. While we reject these terms, we have experimented with the use of electronic texts as one of several means to reconfigure the local academic course as a public site of interaction and intervention.

“Postmodern Pedagogies and the Death of Civic Humanism.” Social Epistemology 11 (1997).

“Kids These Days & Paper Textbooks”

Via Brandon Keim — links to research articles:

“Only four percent of the population studied opted to use an e-textbook. The print version is still greatly preferred by college students.”

“Although the present student cohort is the most technologically savvy to ever enter universities, students do not prefer e-books over textbooks regardless of their gender, computer use or comfort with computers.”

“Textbook use and reading assigned readings were unrelated to their choice to use an e-book. When available, students chose to use the printed book; however, when the e-book was the only format available, they used it.”

“Generally, both users and non-users of e-books prefer to use the printed version of textbooks especially if the text is continuously used.”

(“Kid these days”)

Naming What We Know

Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies
Edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, 2015

Naming What We Know examines the core principles of knowledge in the discipline of writing studies using the lens of “threshold concepts”—concepts that are critical for epistemological participation in a discipline.

  • Metaconcept: Writing Is an Activity and a Subject of Study
  • Concept 1: Writing Is a Social and Rhetorical Activity
  • Concept 2: Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms
  • Concept 3: Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies
  • Concept 4: All Writers Have More to Learn
  • Concept 5: Writing Is (Also Always) a Cognitive Activity

Table of Contents and Yancey’s Introduction: “Coming to Terms: Composition/Rhetoric, Threshold Concepts, and a Disciplinary Core”

21st Century Literacies: NCTE Position Statement

21st Century Literacies
Position Statement

Updated February 2013
Adopted by the NCTE Executive Committee, February 15, 2008

Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy. Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies, many literacies. These literacies are multiple, dynamic, and malleable. As in the past, they are inextricably linked with particular histories, life possibilities, and social trajectories of individuals and groups. Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies.

Common Core & Reading

Karma could be in your class some day.

Navigating Technological and Literacy Contexts in First Year Writing

Tricia presenting on “Navigating Technological and Literacy Contexts in First Year Writing” at the 2015 Council of Writing Program Administrators: Sustainable Writing/Program/Administrators.

From Douglas Eyman’s Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice

From Douglas Eyman’s Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice, chapter 4, “Digital Rhetoric: Practice”:

Textual Appropriation and Remix

  • At (a no longer extant site), Kristin Thomas produced poetry from the subject lines of spam email, a practice she began in 2003. On her site, she noted that she saw her work as “a little bit Found Art, a little bit Whimsy, and mostly, just to find a way for me to find a peaceful intersection between digital communication and my life” (qtd. in Hurvitz, 2006). Although likely not the first person to create poetry from spam, Thomas’s work received a great deal of attention and inspired others to create their own spam poetry (or “spoetry”). The genre of spam poetry has become quite popular, and a number of fine examples can be found on the website of the Spam Poetry Institute (, which bills itself as “an organization dedicated to collecting and preserving the fine literature created by the world’s spammers.”


What Is Code?

Via Bloomberg Businessweek

The Internet Doesn’t Exist

Via The Baffler: The Internet Doesn’t Exist

“The ‘Internet’ does not exist. Instead, it is many overlapping filter bubbles which selectively curate us into data objects to be consumed and purchased by advertisers.” As she also said, a bit less academically, “Browsing is now determined by your consumer profile and what you see, hear and the feeds you receive are tailored from your friends’ lists, emails, online purchases, etc.”

What we call the Internet—and what web writers so lazily draw on for their work—is less a hive mind or a throng or a gathering place and more a personalized set of online maneuvers guided by algorithmic recommendations. When we look at our browser windows, we see our own particular interests, social networks, and purchasing histories scrambled up to stare back at us. But because we haven’t found a shared discourse to talk about this complex arrangement of competing influences and relationships, we reach for a term to contain it all. Enter “the Internet.”

The Internet is a linguistic trope but also an ideology and even a business plan. If your job is to create content out of (mostly) nothing, then you can always turn to something/someone that “the Internet” is mad or excited about. And you don’t have to worry about alienating readers because “the Internet” is so general, so vast and all-encompassing, that it always has room. This form of writing is widely adaptable. Now it’s common to see stories where “Facebook” or “Twitter” stands in for the Internet, offering approval or judgment on the latest viral schlock. Choose your (anec)data carefully, and Twitter can tell any story you want.

We fall back on “the Internet” because it gives us a rhetorical life raft to hang onto amidst an overwhelming tide of information or a piece of sardonic shorthand to utter with a wink and a grimace, much like “never read the comments.” It also reflects a strange irony about today’s culture: despite being highly distributed, and despite offering an outlet for every subculture and niche interest and political quirk, what we think of the Internet often does feel rather uniform and monolithic.

Composing & Reading on Mobile Devices

Some resources for thinking about the role of mobile devices in our writing classes:

Mobile Learning @ DePaul

Pew Research

Baron, Naomi. “Do Mobile Technologies Reshape Speaking, Writing, or Reading?” Mobile Media & Communication 1 (2013): 134-140.

  • Does the ephemeral nature of onscreen text affect the amount we read, the genre read, frequency of re-reading, reading speed, and memory for and understanding of what has been read?

  • How much does screen size affect the same issues?

  • Is readers’ concentration broken by availability of other resident programs (e.g., games) or an internet connection (Bosman & Richtel, 2012)? How do such interruptions compare with breaks in concentration when reading in hardcopy?

Baron, Naomi. Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Pigg, Stacey. “Emplacing Mobile Composing Habits: A Study of Academic Writing in Networked Social Spaces.” College Composition and Communication 66.2 (2014): 250-75.

This article details the material, locational, and time-use dimensions of student writing processes in two networked social spaces. Drawing on case examples, the findings show how composing habits grounded in the materiality of places can build persistence for learning in a mobile culture. Public social spaces support these habits, enabling some students to control social availability and manage proximity to resources.

Multimodal Composing on Mobile Devices — CCCC Workshop.

Writing with Thumbs: Composition and media on mobile devices — Elon project.

In How We Think, Katherine Hayles defines hyper reading as “a strategic response to an information-intensive environment, aiming to conserve attention by quickly identifying relevant information, so that only relatively few portions of a given text are actually read.”

CHE: How Some Professors Deploy Mobile Technology in Their Teaching.

Scott Warnock: Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction

We’re thrilled to announce that Professor Scott Warnock from Drexel University in Philadelphia will offer a workshop on Friday, May 15th, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.,  in SAC 300: “Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction”:

  • Efficient and generative uses of discussion forums in both Online and Face-to-Face classes
  • Managing workload and labor issues
  • Current thinking in Writing Studies related to Online Writing Instruction

Professor Warnock is the author of Teaching Writing Online: How and Why (NCTE, 2009), a foundational text for our initial DOTS cohort, subsequent D-WRD workshops, and many hallway conversations. He is Co-Chair of NCTE’s Committee for Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction — and he maintains the popular blog, Online Writing Teacher.

Professor Warnock’s background in Composition, Technical Writing, and Writing Studies ensures a productive and timely session for anyone teaching with technology — either face-to-face or online. There is time built into the agenda for that most important component of technology workshops: conversation.

And treats will be provided by the department. 

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Michael Moore — —  by Thursday, April 30th. 

Hope to see you there!

Blogs Aren’t Better Than Journal Assignments. They’re Just Different.

Although some instructors are phasing out journal-keeping assignments in favor of a class blog, a study has found that blogs are not inherently better instructional tools.

Drew Foster, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, recently said so in a paper, “Private Journals Versus Public Blogs: The Impact of Peer Readership on Low-Stakes Reflective Writing,” published in Teaching Sociology.

With all the hype about blogging, Mr. Foster decided to give it a try in an introduction-to-sociology course he was teaching. He was surprised to find that the quality of the students’ writing was better than what he’d seen in private journals he’d graded as a teaching assistant in another intro course.

That got him thinking about the differences between the two media, so he decided to do some research. He compared more than 2,000 blog posts and journal entries from intro-sociology classes at Michigan.

He expected the blogs to yield reflections that were more thoughtful, but that wasn’t what he found. It’s not that one format is better than the other, he discovered, it’s that they’re different. Public blogs encourage students to take intellectual risks, and private journals encourage them to take personal ones.

“The initial big surprise of the study is that blogs, in fact, are not objectively better assignments,” he said. “There are a lot of blog enthusiasts out there in the sort of faculty world who are really, really breathlessly lauding the positive benefits of assigning your students blogging.”

From CHE: Blogs Aren’t Better Than Journal Assignments. They’re Just Different.

Expertise with New/Multi/Modal/Visual/Digital/Media Technologies Desired …

From Claire Lauer — whose “Contending with Terms: ‘Multimodal’ and ‘Multimedia’ in the Academic and Public Spheres” we read when D-WRD was first getting started — has a new and related article, “Expertise with New/Multi/Modal/Visual/Digital/Media Technologies Desired: Tracing Composition’s Evolving Relationship with Technology through the MLA JIL.”


  • Traces 17 technology-related keywords through 20 years of the Modern Languages Association’s Job Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 7.04.17 AMInformation List
  • Reports on usage trends for each of the keywords and discusses trends in rank, position titles, and Carnegie Classification
  • Discusses how trends can be understood through the lens of significant developments in the field of computers and writing
  • Argues for greater precision in our definitions of terms and ownership over our use of terms to better legitimize the work we do


This article reports on the results of a detailed examination of the past two decades of MLA Job Information List advertisements to identify the changing ways in which members of the field of rhetoric and composition have talked about the kinds of texts, technologies, and composing practices they are looking for in the teaching and research of new hires. This study catalogued the ways in which seventeen technology-related keywords have been used in MLA job advertisements over the past two decades. It discusses how trends can be understood through the lens of significant developments in the field of computers and writing suggests future trajectories. Finally, it argues that by taking ownership over the way we name and define the new composing practices and technologies we have come to value, we will be better positioned to guide the development of our students and articulate the importance of our work in a way that ensures its continuation.

D-WRD session: using Online Rooms in D2L with John Buckvold

John Buckvold will be facilitating our 4/17 D-WRD session — usual time, 10-11 a.m. — via the Online Rooms feature in D2L. John has added a News Item to the D-WRD D2L site with instructions for how to connect to our Online Rooms, and how to participate.

If you have any trouble accessing the D-WRD D2L site, let Michael know.

The purpose of the session is to see how John facilitates Online Room events, and we have a Multimodal Composing topic for discussion.

You can join us from home, or your office, or Starbucks, or wherever you might be tomorrow morning. Hope to see you there — and thanks, John!


Highly recommended: John embedded some nice explanatory slides — guidelines, tips, best practices — in his Online Room session that you can view in his recorded version. 

John’s notes:

One of the major benefits of Online Rooms (or whatever replaces it) is that those who weren’t able to attend can still see what they missed by going to the archives.  So, for example, if you happened to be sunning yourself at Fullerton Beach Friday morning while the forum was being held, no problem–you can just follow the procedure below to review it.  And an added plus–you can skip over all the yadda, yadda, yadda parts. 


Here are the simple steps to access the recording of our forum:

The link to our site:

  1. Go to More (upper-left corner) and hit the dropdown arrow;
  2. Select Online Rooms;
  3. Go to the link for the forum and a dropdown menu will appear;
  4. Select “View Archives”;
  5. Select the forum and proceed from there;
  6. If you’re having trouble, call Alex Joppie at 773.325.1099


From “The Taming of Tech Criticism” — Baffler Magazine, Evgeny Morozov:

What does it mean to be a technology critic in today’s America? And what can technology criticism accomplish? The first question seems easy: to be a technology critic in America now is to oppose that bastion of vulgar disruption, Silicon Valley. By itself, however, this opposition says nothing about the critic’s politics—an omission that makes it all the more difficult to answer the second question.

Why all the political diffidence? A critical or oppositional attitude toward Silicon Valley is no guarantee of the critic’s progressive agenda; modern technology criticism, going back to its roots in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century, has often embraced conservative causes. It also doesn’t help that technology critics, for the most part, make a point of shunning political categories. Instead of the usual left/right distinction, they are more comfortable with the humanist/anti-humanist one. “What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?”—a clever rhetorical question posed by the technology author George Dyson a few years ago—nicely captures these sorts of concerns. The “machines” in question are typically reduced to mere embodiments of absurd, dehumanizing ideas that hijack the minds of poorly educated technologists; the “humans,” in turn, are treated as abstract, ahistorical émigrés to the global village, rather than citizen-subjects of the neoliberal empire.

“Funk, Flight, and Freedom” – 2015 CCCC Chair Adam Banks’ Address

Yik Yak


CHE: Responding to Offensive Posts on Yik Yak [the one above is not an example of that], Professors Stage Social-Media Takeover
NYT: Who Spewed That Abuse? Anonymous Yik Yak App Isn’t Telling

Spring Quarter 2015 D-WRD Sessions

D-WRD sessions are from 10:00-11:00 a.m. in 300 SAC:

  • Friday April 17th: Using Online Meeting rooms via D2L (or maybe Zoom), facilitated by John Buckvold — you can join us in 300 SAC for this event, or from home, or some other distant location
  • Friday May 1st: What is the relationship between Multimodal Composing and Reflection I? Bring two student multimodal composing projects + reflections
  • Friday May 15th: What is the relationship between Multimodal Composing and Reflection II? Revising reflective prompts workshop

The relationship between Multimodal Composing and Reflection sessions postponed until September in the Autumn Quarter — stay tuned!

But plan to attend Scott Warnock’s Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction on May 15th. 

What is the relationship between multimodal composing & reflection?

From Shipka’s “Negotiating Rhetorical, Material, Methodological, and Technological Difference: Evaluating Multimodal Designs”:

The questions associated with the SOGC do not, by contrast, ask students to detail what they learned while accomplishing a task, or how they felt before, during, or after composing a text. They do not ask students to indicate places where they think their work is strongest or where it might be improved, and they do not ask students to offer a grade justification. Rather, they ask students to focus specifically on the texts they produce in response to a task and to catalog the various rhetorical, material, methodological, and technological choices they made with their work. After cataloging their choices, students are asked to describe how those choices impacted, positively or otherwise, the meanings their texts are able to make.

“The SOGC is not intended to serve as text in which students simply describe what they did (or thought or felt) throughout the process of composing a text, nor is it intended to serve as a place where students simply describe and assess their final products. Rather, the SOGC is intended “to bring more of the dynamics of communication to consciousness‘ ” (W356-7).

Shipka, Jody. “Negotiating Rhetorical, Material, Methodological, and Technological Difference: Evaluating Multimodal Designs.” College Composition and Communication. 61(2009): W343-366.

Associated questions:

Photoshop at 25

NYT: “Photoshop at 25: A Thriving Chameleon Adapts to an Instagram World”

Terms for multimodal composing

From McKinney, Jackie Grutsch. “New Media Matters: Tutoring in the Late Age of Print.” Writing Center Journal 29.2 (2009): 28-­‐51. Print.

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 For the semiotically inclined, see Social Semiotics, from the Glossary of Multimodal Terms:

“In the context of multimodality, the implication is that all modes should be studied with a view to the underlying choices available to communicators, the meaning potentials of resources and the purposes for which they are chosen. From a social semiotic perspective, this includes study of how communicators create texts (including the role of technology) and how people interpret texts.”

A thousand words.

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From Casey Cep, A Thousand Words: Writing From Photographs, New Yorker Magazine 2/26/14.

“Writing from photographs seems as though it should produce the same effect, sharpening the way we convert experiences and events into prose. I suspect that it also changes not only what we write but how we write it. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the selfie coincides with the age of autobiography.”

Print is not dead to them.

2. Print is not dead to them.
Today’s college students, much like most professionals, feel comfortable in front of a screen. A majority said they preferred a digital format when reading, studying, taking notes, and doing problem sets. That preference for digital was most emphatic when it came to doing research, with 92 percent of students saying they preferred working on a screen.
That said, a substantial portion of students said they preferred to do those course-related activities with paper and ink‹about 40 percent, depending on the activity.
Those students came of age in the smartphone era, but they are still accustomed to learning with analog course materials;. Only 10 percent of them ever used an electronic textbook in high school, and although many of them are now aware of e-textbooks, only 26 percent have bought one. Some common reasons they gave for not buying e-textbooks were that screens make their eyes tired, working on a computer makes them prone to distraction, and it¹s easier to mark up a printed page than a digital one.

PowerPoint in the Courtroom

From the Marshall Project: PowerPoint Justice

At least 10 times in the last two years, US courts have reversed a criminal conviction because prosecutors violated the rules of fair argument with PowerPoint. In even more cases, an appellate court has taken note of such misconduct while upholding the conviction anyway or while reversing on other grounds (as in the case of Sergey Fedoruk). Legal watchdogs have long asserted that prosecutors have plenty of ways to quietly put their thumb on the scales of justice —such as concealing exculpatory evidence, eliminating jury-pool members based on race, and so on. Now they can add another category: prosecution by PowerPoint. “It’s the classic ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’” said Eric Broman, a Seattle attorney who focuses on criminal appeals. “Until the courts say where the boundaries are, prosecutors will continue to test the boundaries.”



Winter Quarter 2015 sessions

C&W 2015 CFP — deadline October 31, 2014

Computers and Writing 2015

Call for Proposals

This year’s theme, Technoliteracy In(ter)ventions, seeks to explore how technological innovation continually forces us to redefine what it means to be a “literate” society in the 21st century.  Personal, professional, and academic spaces are perpetually co-opted by new inventions. At the same time, interventions are often required—for those who fear these new technologies, as well as for those who succumb to digital addiction. 

Potential panel and presentation topics may include (but are not limited to) the following categories: 

  • Literacies – (primary, secondary / multilingual / digital / oral / aural / written / digital / etc.)
  • Technologies – (specific devices, applications, tools)
  • Writing Studies
  • Inventions – (new creations / innovations with professional, personal, academic impact)
  • Interventions – (creating technological buy-in amongst skeptics / dispelling fanaticism)
  • Access – (universal access – economic / physical / etc. – accommodation)
  • Digital Humanities
  • Pedagogies – (instructional strategies, teaching)
  • Gaming
  • Social Media
  • Usability / User Experience
  • Individuals – (investigation of key players, historical figures)
  • Institutional – (examinations of educational / professional organizations)

Technology & Contemplation

In 2000, Gloria Mark was hired as a professor at the University of California at Irvine. Until then, she was working as a researcher, living a life of comparative peace. She would spend her days in her lab, enjoying the sense of serene focus that comes from immersing yourself for hours at a time in a single project. But when her faculty job began, that all ended. Mark would arrive at her desk in the morning, full of energy and ready to tackle her to-do list – only to suffer an endless stream of interruptions. No sooner had she started one task than a colleague would e-mail her with an urgent request; when she went to work on that, the phone would ring. At the end of the day, she had been so constantly distracted that she would have accomplished only a fraction of what she set out to do. ‘Madness,’ she thought. ‘I’m trying to do 30 things at once.’

From David Levy, “No time to think: Reflections on information technology and contemplative scholarship.”

Autumn Quarter D-WRD Workshops & Sessions

All workshops and sessions are in SAC 300, from 10:00-11:00 a.m.; we have the room until 11:30, however, for people who want to stay around for additional hands-on and one-on-one support:

  • Friday, October 3rd: Integrating multimodal composing projects with critical-thinking components: process descriptions; remediation; remix; Shipka’s “Multimodal Task-Based Framework”
  • Friday, October 17th: Lisa Dush’s workshop on WeVideo 
    Lisa’s workshop can be another example in our series of not only learning new software, but how to learn software. WeVideo is timeline-based, for example, as is Audacity, GarageBand, iMovie, and other platforms that we’ve worked with. 
    • Lisa’s workshop will be hands on: creating a video from still digital images, so if you want to try it out during the workshop, bring some family photos in digital format — on a flash drive, for example, or email them to yourself ahead of time.
    • You can sign up for a free account ahead of time here
    • WeVideo overview
    • Lisa’s review of WeVideo
  • Friday, October 31st: What is the relationship between Vincentian Values and Technology? 10-11 a.m. in SAC 300.
    • We’ll be joined by Fr. Udovic (thanks to Sarah Brown!), DePaul’s Vice President for Teaching and Learning Resources and Senior Executive for University Mission:  
    • Background reading: Levy’s “No time to think: Reflections on information technology and contemplative scholarship” (Levy)
  • Friday, November 7th2014 Fall Forum on Teaching and Learning
    10:00am – 2:00pm | Cortelyou Commons

Autumn & Winter Quarter Possibilities:

— Teaching portfolios? Focus on multimodal work?
— The Multimodal Essay
— Reviewing and practicing some models and methods that foster real, genuine, meaningful interaction and engagement in online courses, focusing on discussion forums and peer review work


Call for Digital Pedagogy Posters, CCCC 2015, Tampa FL

The CCCC panels for 2015 in Tampa are set, but the Digital Pedagogy Poster (DPP) organizers are just beginning to look for folks to present at CCCC in March. 

Send us your Digital Pedagogy Poster proposals!  

If you are experimenting with digital technologies in your courses or in educational units (i.e., Writing Centers, WAC programs, community media projects, etc.), please submit a proposal via this online form:
Last year’s sessions were both very well attended (over 150 attendees) and wildly interactive. We do our best to provide an engaged audience by setting up two rounds of posters back to back. During the first round, second-round poster presenters are part of the audience. During the second round, first-round poster presenters are part of the audience. Of course many others join in as well. There will be few times when you are not engaged in deep conversations about your project or the projects of others. An additional advantage for those living in the Southeast is that you can involve graduate and undergraduate students in the preparation and delivery of our poster sessions. One goal of the DPP has always been to meet and talk to students from the classes or organizations where digital pedagogies are enacted! 

If you would like to propose a poster presentation (as a team or individually), please fill out the form at this address: The deadline is October 13th. If that URL gives you problems, try 

If you are considering your options, here are answers to the questions most frequently asked about Digital Pedagogy Poster presentations:

  • Your participation this year will NOT count as your “one presentation” at CCCC.
  • We will have our own “room” for these posters, and they will be held on Thurs & Friday, not on Wed.
  • These posters will be reviewed (outside the formal CCCC review process, obviously). After the review, we will provide you by mid- to late-November with an official letter from the 7Cs indicating that your proposal was reviewed and that you will be presenting in Indianapolis. Names will also be in the Digital Pedagogy program (handed out on site) and in the CCCC online program.
  • If you would like to see a list of last year’s poster titles, go to


Find Your Scheduled Final Exam Times

Sometimes technology can make things easier.
Visit DePaul’s new online Final Exam Schedule:

Ask Big Questions: How Does Technology Change Us?

Ask Big Questions, co-founded by Rabbi Josh Feigelson, develops materials for fostering thoughtful and generative conversations in an era of diminished public discourse:

Can we change the world through better conversation?
We believe we can.

We don’t have many opportunities today to develop relationships with people of different backgrounds who may hold different viewpoints. When we have those opportunities, we are able to see beyond our differences to discover what we have more deeply in common. By having conversations around life’s “Big Questions,” we can create understanding among people on campus, in our communities, and around the world.

A recent example that might interest you if you engage in critical and reflective uses of technology in your courses: How Does Technology Change Us?

The “ask and share” section seems particularly generative, and could be used in F2F discussions, a D2L assignment, or in an online course:

DeVoss: Writing Matters, Matters of Writing

Here are Danielle DeVoss’s presentation slides from her talk at this year’s First Year Programs Writing Showcase at DePaul.

Before D2L

From a 1967 book — Teaching by Correspondence — in which Chicago plays a role: “In 1892, Dr William R. Harper, who had already experimented with correspondence teaching to help train Sunday school teachers, became President of the University of Chicago and immediately established a correspondence teaching division of the University’s Extension Department.” (3)

From the chapter on efficiency and organization:

Every step which can be taken to reduce the time between posting to the school and receiving its reply helps to overcome the barrier of time which separates students from their teachers. The American School in Chicago, for example, provides the students with a map showing postal zones and the time taken by mail from each zone to reach the school, so that wherever students live they will know the time they must allow for mail service (Fig. 1).

Time-saving practices

In organizing a correspondence school, there are basic time-saving practices which not only effect economy in the use of staff, but give speedier service to students because they reduce the number of records to be kept and expedite compilation of essential records. (67)

Teaching by Correspondence: UNESCO Source Book. Longmans/Unesco, 1967.

Lepore’s “Disruption Machine”

From Jill Lepore’s The Disruption Machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong:

Christensen and Eyring’s recommendation of a “mix of face-to-face and online learning” was drawn from an investigation that involves a wildly misguided attempt to apply standards of instruction in the twenty-first century to standards of instruction in the seventeenth. One table in the book, titled “Harvard’s Initial DNA, 1636-1707,” looks like this:

Initial Traits Implications
Small, face-to-face classes High faculty-student intimacy
  Low instructional efficiency
Classical, religious instruction High moral content in the curriculum
  Narrow curriculum with low practicality for non-pastors
Nonspecialized faculty Dogmatic instruction
  High faculty empathy for learners
  Low faculty expertise

In 2014, there were twenty-one thousand students at Harvard. In 1640, there were thirteen. The first year classes were held, Harvard students and their “nonspecialized faculty” (one young schoolmaster, Nathaniel Eaton), enjoying “small, face-to-face classes” (Eaton’s wife, who fed the students, was accused of putting “goat’s dung in their hasty pudding”) with “high faculty empathy for learners” (Eaton conducted thrashings with a stick of walnut said to have been “big enough to have killed a horse”), could have paddled together in a single canoe. That doesn’t mean good arguments can’t be made for online education. But there’s nothing factually persuasive in this account of its historical urgency and even inevitability, which relies on a method well outside anything resembling plausible historical analysis.

C&C Digital Press: Stories That Speak to Us

From Computers and Composition Digital Press: Stories That Speak to Us

From the description:

Stories That Speak to Us—a digital collection of scholarly, curated exhibits—is designed to investigate literacy narratives from a number of perspectives: to explore why they are important, what information they carry about reading and composing, why they might be valuable, not only for scholars and teachers, but also for librarians, community literacy workers, individual citizens and groups of people. As the editors and authors collectively suggest, literacy narratives are powerfully rhetorical linguistic accounts through which people fashion their lives; make sense of their world, indeed construct the realities in which they live. Literacy narratives are sometimes laden so richly with information that conventional academic tools and ways of discussing their power to shape identities; to persuade, and reveal, and discover, to create meaning and affiliations at home, in schools, communities, and workplaces, are inadequate to the task. For this reason, the collection focuses on the work of both narrative theorists and literacy educators.

From NCTE/SWR: Agency in the Age of Peer Production

From the Introduction:

image titleIn this “age of peer production,” a phrase coined by Chris Anderson, words, images, videos, and sounds can be easily shared, debated, and developed over today’s networked computers. Instead of feeling alone, isolated behind closed classroom doors, focused on books printed five, ten, even twenty years ago, today’s educators can collaborate on documents, pedagogies, and assessments in unprecedented ways with peer-production technologies, asserting a teacherly agency by banding together to create ideas and practices that are better than the sum of what any teacher could have developed alone.

“The age of peer production can mean technological innovations such as wikis, blogs, and video-sharing and social networking sites; but we believe it also needs to include offline efforts such as mentoring programs, orientation meetings, brown-bag luncheons, and the general ethos of a sharing community. If peer production is to assume its own “age,” then it must be more about values than about tools, which are replaceable and easily outdated.

“Of course, things are never as utopian as we imagine they could be. This study tells the stories—both successes and failures—we experienced when we experimented with peer-production tools to fundamentally change the nature of composition teachers’ agency at a large research university. We found that in many instances these technologies did positively affect the experiences of our teachers and students, as well as our program’s standing in our university, but we also found that these tech-driven innovations had to be balanced by serious investment in developing face-to-face community.” (1-2)

Visit book site.

Clark U. Seeks to Define ‘Liberal Education 2.0’

 Via the Chronicle of Higher Education:

“The pieces of liberal education that I think have been the great strength in this country—and as someone who was educated outside of the United States, I’m very appreciative of liberal education today. The pieces that I think have been tremendously valuable are what I would call classic liberal education. So things like critical thinking, good writing skills, rigor of analysis in the major. All the things you would associate with great liberal-arts colleges and research universities.”