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Selber’s Post-Critical Framework & Digital Literacy in First Year Writing at DePaul

Writing and technology are historically linked and our reflective approach to integrating digital literacies and communication-and-design technologies in the FYW Program depends on research, scholarship, and the same rigorous intellectual practice that already informs our teaching.

Not “Just a Tool”

For example, we know that technologies, whether mundane, like a pencil, or more complex, such as a course-management system, are not unbiased, value-free systems, but assume certain kinds of uses and usually have deeply embedded cultural expectations. They can limit or broaden the decisions and choices of both students and teachers. They invite new possibilities for composing, editing, and sharing; they also ask for different kinds of expertise and labor.

 Teaching with technology is not new to our field: the first research on computer-mediated pedagogy was published in composition studies in the early 1980’s and the first electronic portfolios were developed in the late 1980’s, also in writing programs. We draw on a rich tradition of putting pedagogy before technology, letting the former dictate the latter, and foregrounding the literacy aspirations of students and the expertise of teachers.

For these reasons, the FYW Program at DePaul is nicely situated to be a leader in efforts and initiatives when it comes to teaching with technology.