Digital Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse Rotating Header Image

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
  • Friday May 29th: TBA & looking ahead to 2015-16

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.”

Two models: Faigley & Shipka

“Images and words have long coexisted on the printed page and in manuscripts, but relatively few people possessed the resources to exploit the rhetorical potential of images combined with words. My argument is that literacy has always been a material, multimedia construct but we only now are becoming aware of this multidimensionality and materiality because computer technologies have made it possible for many people to produce and publish multimedia presentations.” — Faigley, “Material literacy and visual design.” (175)

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 8.45.13 PM

“As an alternative, I propose a goal-directed multimodal task-based frame- work for composing that I have been developing in classes since 1997. Based in part on Walter Doyle’s definition of academic tasks, the framework is geared toward increasing students’ rhetorical, material, and methodological flexibility by requiring them to determine the purposes and contexts of the work they produce.” Shipka, “A Multimodal Task-Based Framework for Composing.”

“Take, for instance, an objective often associated with first-year composition programs, asking students to use course readings or outside sources as the basis for an argument. Rather than requiring students to produce a thesis-driven, linear print essay that is, more often than not, intended for the instructor alone, students approach this objective by contextualizing it in ways that are of interest or importance to them. They decide how, why, where, and even when that argument based on specific readings will be experienced by its recipient(s). Following these decisions, they begin generating the complex action sequences leading to the realization of their final product(s).” — Shipka


D-WRD Commons D2L Site

Our D-WRD D2L Commons site is up and running. We can use it to practice setting up modules, creating assignments, and experimenting with different strategies for managing good, robust discussion forums

I can add you any time as a “Teaching Assistant,” which gives you good observing status, or — even better — I can add you as an Instructor, which allows you to edit the course, create modules, and administer the course along with the rest of us. Also, as an Instructor, you can export any materials that we develop here and import them into your own course! Email me your preference — Teaching Assistant or Instructor. 


Via the The New Yorker.

Integrating the critical terms and vocabulary from the course

One challenging transfer-and-reflection activity in a course is helping students to integrate the critical terms and vocabulary from the course in their Digital Writing Portfolios.

Possible solution: during one of your concluding classes, ask students in groups of 3-4 to brainstorm critical terms and vocabulary from the course — what methods, ideas, concepts and tools did you learn about? Invite a reporter from each group to share them on the whiteboard: 


“So too for electronic portfolios …”

From Davis & Yancey:

As important, the genre of the scrapbook fosters such an approach: as a vernacular genre, it is relatively unregulated, and its open-ness invites meaning-making for both composers and readers. Composers are free to select texts and to make texts, including photos, inside a scrapbook frame; the experience of the making of the scrapbook composition is enacted by readers, tracing their own and others’ meanings emerging from the reading, a tracing through which meaning is created. Such a reading lends itself to multiple interpretations—is the Charles Moore scrapbook about the San Francisco earthquake, the family’s experience, and/or the composing practices of the time?

So too for electronic portfolios. In some ways, electronic portfolios, although often based in school settings, are the 21st century version of scrapbooks in their newness, their open-ness, their ability to provide space for many different kinds of artifacts and modalities, their ability to point readers to many different paths, their ability to incorporate and inter-relate and layer the modalities of the age—layout and design; word and image; video and audio; rendering and voice-over. Moreover, they are not bound yet by expectation or school restrictions, not nearly fully conventionalized as a genre, at least not in the EWM major. Accordingly, students use the space to roam from personal compositions to school writings and back, providing multiple possible readings and interpretations through the interaction of multiple artifacts, tracing the connections they make across multiple sites of literacy, in the process using the screen to represent more fully embodied composing. Here Lester Faigley’s (1999) argument “that texts are not transparent and that reading and writing are situated acts” rings true both for us and for the composers we study (p. 174).

And interestingly, the physical—the felt sense of touch—haunts the eportfolio, which through its display on the screen tends to flatten three-dimensional composing processes and texts. Despite the fact that materiality is different for eportfolios and scrapbooks – and “in the face of claims that computer-mediated language and images have broken with the past and have lost reference to the perceived world” – these texts show that students still compose with an eye to the “material consequences” of their work (Faigley, 1999, p. 197). In other words, through the eportfolio’s ability to welcome artifacts and commentary, EWM students have demonstrated that they compose in and across three dimensions, that they evoke the senses in describing their composing, that they use the resources of the digital to show us what capacious, material-rich composing is like for them. What’s missing here is the handling that defines the materiality of the scrapbook—for both composer and reader.

Notes toward the Role of Materiality in ComposingReviewing, and Assessing Multimodal Texts.” Computers & Composition, 31.1 (2014). 13-28. 

Meet your Common Core students

Via Common Core State Standards Initiative

Production and Distribution of Writing:

 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

D-WRD Background Readings

How do we approach text?

“… how do we approach text? Do we read linearly (from start to finish), or do we seek out snippets (using a table of contents, an index, or the “Find” function for searching an online text)? Do we skim or engage in “deep” reading? Do we read quickly or slowly? Answers to these questions are often shaped by the character of the text. Is the material familiar or new to the reader? How complex are the words, the syntax, and the concepts? Functionality is also a consideration in defining reading (reading for information, for conceptual understanding, for enjoyment, or to kill time), as is the physical medium (a scroll, a paperback, an iPhone).”

— Naomi Baron, “Redefining Reading: The Impact of Digital Communication Media.”

Lauren Greenfield: Fast Forward

CFP: Social Media in Pedagogy and Practice: Networked Teaching and Learning

Call for Papers
May 2015 Special Issue of
Journal of Faculty Development

Guest Edited by:
Russell Carpenter, Eastern Kentucky University

Theme: Social Media in Pedagogy and Practice: Networked Teaching and Learning

While many forms of social media are no longer considered “new,” their instructional uses continue to both inspire and challenge faculty and students. A variety of social media permeate the classroom whether used for pedagogical or personal purposes. Many instructors also use social media in their personal lives, but its role and potential in the classroom are still evolving. While the dynamic nature of social media provides a number of pedagogical opportunities to engage students in productive ways, integrating social media into class sessions and projects also presents new challenges not faced with other instructional technologies. This special issue invites scholars to highlight the most successful and promising strategies for integrating social media into the classroom while also considering the challenges these technologies present for teaching and learning. Authors might consider the best practices for integrating social media into the classroom for instructional purposes, theories and principles that support the decision to incorporate social media into classroom settings, challenges faced and approaches for overcoming these challenges, and projects that incorporate social media along with learning outcomes. Submissions might also explore, theorize, and assess innovative concepts, approaches, and strategies for classroom instruction using social media.

Framing questions can include but are not limited to:


Spring Quarter Workshops

Our Tentative Schedule:

  • Friday, April 4th: 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Using Qualtrics — survey software
  • Friday, April 25th: 1:00-2:00 p.m.: WRD Teaching Online Workshop:
    • Student participation: how to foster it, how to support it, and how to identify and work with non-participating students
    • Designing and managing successful & interactive discussion forums and discussion prompts
    • Students’ relationships with each other in online courses and how those relationships affect peer-reviews

@ Columbia College: “Discarded: The Afterlife of Everyday Electronics”

January 13 – March 7, 2014
Opening Reception and Performance by Kyle Evans and James Connolly: February 13, 5:30-8:30pm

Many people crave the best technology available, seeking out the newest game system, phone, computer, tablet, programs, and more. Manufacturers are well aware of this demand for technological advances and make the smallest changes to their items in order to sell the “new” model the very next year. Further, many electronics are intentionally built not to last; planned obsolescence in technology is nothing new, but seemingly increased over time. Between the shoddy quality of gadgets and new items coming out annually, people insist they need the next upgrade. There is no slowing down to this hyper consumerism of technology resulting in a surplus of “useless” electronics.

More info here.

Chicago Manual of Style on Facebook

For those of you on Facebook, The Chicago Manual of Style is recommended.  Recent and regular posts on editing, copyediting, proofreading, punctuation, and — they excel at this — computer-mediated communication.

Related: The Subversive Copy Editor.

Winter Quarter 2014 Workshops and Meetings

Friday, January 3rd, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: Library Technology Resources — meet in image titleScholar’s Lab, first floor. We can check out the Scholar’s Lab capabilities and scheduling, MediaScape tables and access, access, and group areas for collaborative and office-hours work, and meet the good folks at the Genius Squad. We’ll be joined by library staff and Genius Squad members. [postponed; to be rescheduled — stay tuned]

Friday, January 17th, 10:00-11:30 a.m. Workshop dedicated to composing and designing our Teaching Portfolios

Friday, February 21st, 10:00-11:00 a.m.:  
Teaching Online Courses — Principles & Practice

Friday, March 7th 10:00-11:00 a.m.

  • Hermes, Rozzell, Hohenzy: A CCCC digital pedagogy poster presentation on Mediation & Multimodality
  • Screencast-o-matic workshop

Another way to connect with the D-WRD Working group is to subscribe to our low-traffic email list,  where we share professional-development resources, problem-solve tech issues, and brainstorm teaching ideas.

New, free, online book and D-WRD resource: Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation

This new book will serve as a great resource for future D-WRD meetings, discussions and workshops: Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation

Committed to defending the Academic Essay? You might have a moment here.

The proposition: as a teaching community — as a shared inquiry — we consider this possibility: that we can no longer advocate for, defend, or assume that the traditional, conventional academic essay is necessarily more “rigorous” than newer, emerging literacy practices. If proponents of multimodal composing practices are obligated to defend their pedagogical aspirations and rhetorical claims, shouldn’t proponents of the traditional, conventional academic essay be willing to do the same?

Such a process could lead to productive and generative insights into why we teach the traditional, conventional academic essay, and whose interests are served.

To be “rigorous” now includes the need to be self-aware about these choices and why we make them.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to be able to say, down the road a bit, that in First Year Writing at DePaul, we explored the claims, possibilities, and challenges of multimodal composing and, as a result, we came away with new understandings of the academic essay; that we have new insights into the contemporary academic essay, why we teach it, and what it should look like?

From the FYW Autumn Faculty Meeting

Elkins: Writing with Images

James Elkins’s latest project: This is a project to help think about what it means to write with images.

I have been exploring the history, theory, and possibilities of writing with images.

By “writing” I mean fiction (traditional, experimental, conceptual) and sometimes nonfiction (including some more interesting art history, art criticism, cultural criticism, cultural theory, visual studies).

By “images” I mean principally photographs (and charts, diagrams, maps, photocopies, and other graphics) and sometimes drawings and paintings.

Elkins on Facebook.

AQ Teaching with Technology & D-WRD Working Group Notes

Autumn Quarter Planning Your Course & Teaching with Technology Notes

  • If you have any current assignments and projects that you’ve used in the past in conventional print or word-processing formats that you’d like to convert to a digital or an online format, we can do that — or if you have something more complicated and complex in mind, we can do that, too
  • How to use computer classrooms and laptop classrooms productively: activities, file management, and writing-studio method approaches — we can even meet in the classroom where you’ll be teaching and test-drive some activities, for example
  • Using DePaul Library databases for teaching & learning materials — linking, downloading, sharing — to use in your courses
  • Planning for your Digication assignments: introducing digital portfolios, assigning them, reading them, and assessing them
  • Looking at process and product contexts for multimodal composing, including visual rhetoric, remix, composing with audio, and resources for art and images that keep you and students in a safe harbor, copyright-wise
  • Using digital tools for collaborative writing, editing, and peer review
  • For those of you interested in the relationship between literacy practices and any of those possibilities, we can also read some recent scholarship that helps to put them into literacy, composition, and rhetorical contexts; this helps to balance the why and the how of teaching with technology
  • And anything else you want to work on!

If you’d like to meet before classes start, don’t hesitate to email Michael.

D-WRD 2013-14 Notes

We’re canceling the D-WRD Working Group for the Autumn Quarter to make room for the Portfolio Pedagogy Task Force, and we’ll pick up in the Winter Quarter and Spring Quarters. We can make good use of this pause by scheduling one-on-one sessions if you want to learn any new software, work on any of the possibilities from the above list, or read some scholarship together.

Some planned sessions for the Winter Quarter and Spring Quarters:

  • A session on teaching online courses, for which we have some great local and disciplinary materials, methods, and expertise available
  • A session on using tags in Digication and the metadata structure behind them
  • A session dedicated to another Student Writing Portfolio Roundtable
  • A  session on the relationship between multimodality and our x-sections, so that we can explore the relationships between multimodality and multilingual contexts
  • A session dedicated to strategies for responding to and commenting on student work — drawing especially from Teaching with Lunsford Handbooks and The St. Martin’s Handbook Instructor’s Notes — in the new comment feature in Digication
  • A session dedicated to composing and workshopping our Teaching Portfolios

There’s plenty of room for additional workshops, sessions, and discussions; if you’d like to add one, just email Michael.

That’s how the D-WRD Working Group works, just as a reminder: we learn, practice and explore what you want to learn, practice, and explore. D-WRD is primarily designed for the professional development of part-time and full-time colleagues who may not be on campus regularly enough to take advantage of the many workshops, events, and other forms of support that DePaul offers to its faculty. We focus on practical, pedagogical work and collective expertise in an environment of mutual support that you can use in your classroom; we read widely and situate teaching-with-technology scholarship in local contexts; and we help you develop your own Teaching Portfolios where you can reflect on and showcase your teaching & learning expertise. We’re also pretty informal: you can come and go as needed.

You need not be technology giddy to participate in D-WRD. We’ve had plenty of folks who are firmly embedded in print literacies and those who are highly skeptical of all things digital. We’re a big tent, and the wider range of perspectives we have, the more likely we are to adjudicate productively some of the claims about teaching with technology.

Another way to connect with the D-WRD Working group is to subscribe to our low-traffic email list,  where we share professional-development resources, problem-solve tech issues, and brainstorm teaching ideas.

Computers & Writing Conference

The Computers & Writing Conference is a yearly conference where teachers interested in literacy and teaching with technology meet for presentations, workshops, networking, and sharing both practice and scholarly research. The 2013 conference was held at Frostburg State University and the 2014 conference will be at Washington State University.

For people who can’t travel to the conference, a range of online, streamed, archived opportunities are available, including an active online conference component. A good example of conference resources is the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative’s excellent 2013 collection of keynote and session reviews:

” … check out reviews of keynotes and individual sessions that delve into what it means to write digitally, teach composition with and through technologies, collaborate across curricular boundaries, and develop and extend methodologies for research.  In their keynote addresses, Gee, King, and Stolley discuss digital writing as making across boundaries–making at times difficult and complex, but necessary and rewarding.  Individual sessions focus on a range of topics related to computers and writing, including the intersection of race and the digital, MOOCs and their impact on our work, composing with aural and fan rhetorics, and evolving pedagogies for the 21st-century writing classroom.”

Related and useful resources:

Literacy in Composition Studies — #1

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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.”

Read the journal online (PDF)

Digital Rhetoric poster from CCC

Click for shareable PDF:

Friday, June 1 notes and plans for 2013-14

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:


MOOCs and the Humanities

From the New Yorker: “LAPTOP U: Has the future of college moved online?”
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“’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.”

2013 Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing

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!


Digication portfolios at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago