Digital Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse Rotating Header Image

Looking ahead to the Autumn Quarter and 2018-19

Autumn Quarter, 2018

  • Friday, September 21st: Assignment & Project design workshop
  • Friday, October 12th: Teaching Gen Z (Tricia Hermes)
  • Friday, October 19th: no D-WRD session — we recommend attending the 2018 Fall Forum on Teaching and Learning: “Teaching in Today’s Political Environment”
  • Friday, November 2nd: preparing for student Digital Writing Portfolios: assigning, supporting, collecting, reading, and assessing

Winter Quarter, 2019

  • Friday, January 18th: Teaching writing in online courses, ongoing — with Alan Ackmann (Business & Professional Writing), First Year Writing contexts; readings  provided beforehand that will help us explore disciplinary contexts
  • Friday, February 1st: Strategies for generative & additive annotating web pages and PDFs
  • Your ideas, requests, recommendations?

N.B.: infants and children are always welcome at D-WRD sessions.

August 22, 2018

Digication’s old-to-new conversion tool

If you’re in the group who has been waiting patiently for Digication’s conversion tool, it’s now available — it allows you to convert any of your previous “old” Digication sites into the “new” Digication format. Here’s an example:

NYT site before conversion:

NYT site after conversion:

You’ll see that there are some spacing issues and little things I’ll need to tinker with.

It’s a pretty straightforward process — look in your Portfolio Tools drop-down menu, and you’ll see “Try Upgrade” —  easier than Digication’s documentation implies: 

Katie Martin and Edward Evins have generously supplied us with their examples:— you’ll need to be logged in to Digication to access them (Private within DePaul):

Here’s the before 
And here’s the after



Again, you’ll undoubtedly need to do some post-conversion tinkering with spacing and alignment, but I haven’t found that part to be overly cumbersome so far. 

Feel free to be in touch if you try it out and want any help or problem solving! If any of you are game for sharing, it would be nice if we had one more before-and-after example.

Thanks for reading!

August 21, 2018

New QM update on Readability

Good timing for us, given our emphasis on typography and readability: the new, updated Quality Matters 6th edition — the one of the primary standards for reviewing online courses — includes an increased emphasis on Readability, both for review and for scoring:

“Readability can be defined not on a letter-by-letter basis, but by how the combinations of letters are read within a larger body of text. In other words, readability is defined by how easy it is to read words, phrases, or blocks of copy such as a book, a web page, or an article.” (Web Typography Overview)


July 31, 2018

WSJ writing algorithms

May 21, 2018

Spring Quarter, 2018 sessions

Here’s the lineup so far:

  • Friday, April 6th: 10:00-11:00 a.m.

    Teaching WRD Courses Online, with Tricia Hermes and Erin MacKenna Sandhir. We have a small collection of correspondences with students from our online courses (anonymously) that we would like to share on Friday, and that we think can help to characterize the shifting roles and kinds of situations that online faculty occasionally encounter. We’d like to begin, in writing-workshop fashion, by asking “How would you respond to these emails?”

Interestingly, we could just as easily receive these kinds of emails in our face-to-face classes as well, but we want to use this opportunity to think together about the role of technology (in general) and e-mail (in particular) in our online work. Other possible productive outcomes:



  • As part of our ongoing Teaching Online D-WRD series, this will be a good time just to check in and to ask about problems, challenges, opportunities, new assignments, methods, strategies, etc.
  • To look ahead to any specific D2L tool and feature workshops – quizzes? Grades? Video? Something else?
  • Revisit critical and rhetorical interface issues – both human and technological – and how we can establish a rhetorical presence that can lead to increased student engagement
  • Sugary treats.

Infants and children are always welcome at D-WRD sessions!

  • Friday, May 4th: 10:00-11:00 a.m.
    From WRD to the Workplace: Intersections between First Year Writing and Professional Writing. Many First Year composition students mistakenly see the main goal of classroom writing as developing skills that will help them succeed in college, but sometimes have a harder time imagining the how the skills learned in WRD 103 and 104 can enhance other areas of their lives. This D-WRD session, led by Alan Ackmann, will explore how concepts often discussed in First Year Writing, such as reflection, multi-modality, rhetorical analysis, design, and writing with technology also transfer into professional contexts, and ways we as instructors can make these links more meaningful for our students.

  • Friday, May 18th: open, come-and-go-as-you-please Digital Writing Portfolio & Digication workshop as we prepare for upcoming portfolio assignments and submissions. That’s the end of week 8, so the timing is good. We can also look at strategies for assigning, supporting, collecting, reading, and assessing Digital Writing Portfolios
Digication released some substantive improvements last Friday, so you could get some hands-on practice and support with test-driving those, as well —
Updates include:
  • Improved design and functionality for the Rich Text Module, Module Prompts and Conversations
  • Improved design and functionality of the settings panel for editing styles
  • Improved Table Module Design Customizations


March 19, 2018

Winter Quarter 2018 D-WRD Sessions

Friday, January 19th 10:00-11:00 a.m., 300 SAC

Typography  — some background on typography as a 21st century literacy — we’ll begin with a background reading and discussion with Pete Vandenberg: Serafini, Frank, et al. “Typography as Semiotic Resource.” Journal of Visual Literacy. 37(2): 1-16. 2012. PDF is in your email.
Then we’ll look at a couple of software programs where people compose and design typographically rich texts and documents: InDesign, Illustrator, and, if there’s enough interest, Photoshop.  At DePaul, we have access to —  which is the standard for web-based video software training, and part of our plan is to choose a few of these introductory training materials related to typography, and test-drive them ourselves. Here are two possibilities:
33 Laws of Typography:
Many of the training modules and videos come with exercise files, where you can follow along and work with textual and content that’s being covered in the training.
If you’re new to all of this, don’t worry: we’ll go slowly, with building
blocks such as contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, and other layout fundamentals, and I’ll provide one-on-one support.
Access to software:
There are some real collaborative possibilities here, but we’ll start with
our brief reading about typography first and then see who might be
interested in completing a few modules and exercise files
together, over the next few weeks, as your time allows and then come
together to meet again, share notes, observations, problems, and possible applications:
  • Syllabus (re)design
  • Assignment design
  • Creating your own D2L banner
  • Designing an event flyer
  • Thinking typographically about the Digication — or any digital writing portfolio — interface
  • Becoming conversant with typographical conventions and vocabulary in writing, composing, and literacy contexts
We’ll plan in more detail once we know who the participants are, but
imagine a month-long activity, with ongoing updates — we’ll pick the pace! — in our D-WRD D2L site.
Digication upgrades:
11:00 a.m.-noon, 300 SAC
  • Since January 19th is also the day that Digication is releasing new upgrades and features, the timing might be good to have a look at them together, and try them out while we’re already together. If your schedule allows, please plan to join us!

Friday, February 16th, 10:00-11:00 a.m., 300 SAC

Forms of multimodal reflection, with Erin Workman.

Erin’s session description:

We’ll begin with a background reading and discussion of three generations of reflective scholarship: Yancey, Kathleen. “Introduction: Contextualizing Reflection.” Rhetoric of Reflection, edited by Kathleen Blake Yancey, Utah State UP, 2016, pp. 3-21. PDF available here:

Then we’ll explore different types of assignments emerging from the third generation of reflective scholarship that encourage students to reflect in multiple modalities and media, including: 

  • Visual mapping (Workman)
  • Digitally-mediated video and audio reflections (Journet et al.)
  • Selfies in digital portfolios (Clark)
  • Ubiquitous digital reflection (Silver)
  • Reflective tagging in digital portfolios (McDonald)

We’ll focus most attention on visual mapping by (1) engaging in a visual mapping activity, (2) exploring different digital platforms for mapping ( and, and (3) viewing and discussing visual maps composed by FYW students.

Friday, March 2nd, 10:00-11:00 a.m., 300 SAC postponed until Spring Quarter

Student Digital Writing Portfolio Roundtable; Digication check-in and recap from the Autumn Quarter and Winter Quarter.  This will be our 2nd Student Digital Writing Portfolio Roundtable, in which we invite 3-5 FYW students who  used Digication in the Autumn Quarter and are using it now, in the Winter Quarter, to share their portfolio development and reflective experiences — positive, negative, or otherwise. The first student roundtable was illuminating and insightful, and I’m sure this one will be, too. Plus: sugary treats.


November 30, 2017

Digital Writing Portfolios & Digication Workshop

November 4, 2017

Mini-Case Study: Digication

The Anatomy of a Digital Writing Portfolio

Purpose: to prepare students for the wide and interesting range of rhetorical decisions they will be making as they compose and design their Digital Writing Portfolios. 

Rhetorical context: writers, composers, and designers should be prepared to explain and to justify every textual and graphic element on the page — why that font? (what other resources/choices did you have)? why that font size? why that much/little white space? — why the picture of the Bean sculpture (what other resources/choices did you have)? why that background? why that link? why that color?

If you can follow that rigorous line of thinking through to its logical conclusion, it would suggest that even the slightest mark, or a bolded phrase, or a tulip, or a frog, or a hyperlink will require some kind of rhetorical justification; if the writer cannot provide one, maybe it shouldn’t be there?

This is not unlike how a good writer can do the same  justification work with a finished essay: reader-based tone, arrangement, level of detail, types of support, etc.

Mini-Case Study: Kaelin D.: UCWbL Portfolio

Kaelin D. — Political Science & English/Creative Writing double major — recently composed a portfolio using the new version of Digication (2017). She has generously allowed us to use her Home Page as a mini-case study of her rhetorical decision-making process:

When I asked Kaelin about the floral theme — or metaphor — and why she made that choice, she explained that she wanted to create an ethos that matched her interests in, and her commitment to “nature” and gardening. That led to a discussion of the rhetorical effects of color — in this case, integrated with text via a background image (fixed vs. repeated; Kaelin’s is fixed). Kaelin’s rhetorically conscious choice integrates these modes — text, image, color — making good use of a “layered” effect.

In literacy-practice contexts, Kaelin may have benefitted from working on her high school newspaper, where she learned layout and typography. 

We also discussed her rhetorically conscious choice of the Enriqueta typeface — “it looks like Georgia, which I like a lot” — and its readability on a screen. 

Compare the typography of the body text in the above (before editing) and below (after editing):

  • We unjustified the body text in order to facilitate readability.
  • We unindented the first sentence of each paragraph — indenting that first sentence is a writing for print convention — and added white space between paragraphs, which is a digital writing convention. Both are rhetorically conscious choices.
  • Note how the left-justified text rubs right up against the text-box frame; that can be adjusted via “padding,” under Settings gear > Font paintbrush > Padding +/-

Possible Classroom Use?

If you have ever been in a Creative Writing workshop, you might recall a convention of focusing on one writer’s work, while she sits there, not participating, but listening, while workshop participants try to reverse engineer her work, and to identify her intended rhetorical effects

This could make for a productive in-class digital writing portfolio workshop activity, if you have a student willing to volunteer her work. 

Winter Quarter 2018 Plans 

This mini-case study focuses only on Kaelin’s introductory Home Page. After we collect Autumn Quarter digital writing portfolios, we’ll identify a few that we can use for more detailed & generative  reverse engineering and rhetorical justification analyses. The result could be productive for both students and faculty.

We’ll also invite students in for a Student Digital Writing Portfolio Roundtable discussion, feed them sugary treats, pepper them with questions, and connect even more dots!

October 30, 2017

Literacy acceleration & speed

Acceleration occurs in two related ways. First, in the smaller sense, literacy technologies and practices tend toward speed. That is, they aim to achieve some end faster. Second, in the large sense, literacies can accelerate: appearing, changing, merging with other literacies, or fading at a faster rate. For instances of literacies appearing, one must only think of the fact that MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter all arrived within a three-year span, 2003–2006, and quickly became popular literacy practices. A form of literacy can rise to importance and fall out of practice in a short amount of time.

For instance, knowing how to use hypertext markup language (HTML code) was an important aspect of electronic literacy in the 1990s, but is now fading. Some teachers may recall developing pedagogies around multiuser domains (MUDs), Second Life, and MySpace; these, too, have largely faded. An established form of literacy may remain but in an altered form. E-mail was a dominant form of electronic communication in various life domains, but has lost most of its social use to Facebook and texting, leaving it to fulfill the more formal communication needs of business and education. As literacies remain, they change: web browsers have moved from multiple windows to multiple tabs for multitasking purposes and continuously offer extensions to control more of the online experience; Facebook continues to update its functions and appearance; and cell phones have added keyboards for faster texting, application software (apps) for specific tasks, and speech recognition and activation software (e.g., Siri for the iPhone).

A significant effect of accumulation and acceleration is that what counts as effective reading and writing becomes a moving target—over time and from context to context. People in various situations must keep up with the latest changes, whether they involve using Facebook for social purposes, employing social media for workplace goals, or learning the latest course management softwareLiteracies are increasingly tied to contexts that value and reinforce speed and brevity. Much has been written to disparage “fast literacies” such as text messaging and multitasking, with the implied or openly stated conclusion that education should provide a bulwark against these anti-intellectual practices (Carr 2010; Edmundson 2004; Faigley 2006). I respond to some of these criticisms throughout the book and articulate a nuanced, productive relationship between “slower” and “faster” forms of literacy. If we take accumulation and acceleration as defining features of contemporary literacy, then a goal for educators should include helping students gain versatile, dexterous approaches to both reading and writing so they are prepared to navigate a wide range of ever-changing literacy contexts.

From Daniel Keller, Chasing Literacy: Reading and Writing in an Age of Acceleration.

October 8, 2017

AQ 2017 D-WRD Workshop Schedule

Stay tuned for more 2017-18 dates!

Friday, September 15, 10:00 a.m.-noon 300 SAC

  • Hour one: Assignment Design — Assignment & Project Workshop: bring an assignment in any state of readiness for workshopping
  • Hour two: New Digication open workshop

Friday, October 6, 10:00 a.m.-noon 300 SAC
Digital Writing Portfolio & Digication workshop

  • Why do we use Digital Writing Portfolios in First Year Writing? We’ll begin with a review of the pedagogy behind Digital Writing Portfolios
  • How do we use Digication? — hands-on practice: we’ll present an overview and step-by-step process of creating a Digital Writing Portfolio in Digication from scratch 
  • Where do we find good resources & support? We’ll show you. 
You can help us prepare in advance by sharing any questions you already have, or gaps in the portfolio composing & designing process where you need clarity — e-mail them to Michael before Friday, pretty please! 
Friday, October 20:

D-WRD cancelled — recommended: 2017 Fall Forum On Teaching And Learning: Race & Social Identity in the Classroom

Friday, November 3, 10:00 a.m.-noon 300 SAC 

  • Preparing for Digital Writing Portfolios — pedagogy, reflection, examples — and Digication follow-up workshop: practice and problem solving.
August 28, 2017

At the WRD DOTS training table, summer 2017

DOTS participants from WRD and other academic units were introduced to online course design principles, practices to increase student interaction and engagement, and technology tools that allow for quality online learning & teaching.

DOTS home.

Aligning Practice with Purpose: Online Teaching & Learning
Post-DOTS Synthesis.

June 29, 2017

Identifying Rhetorical Purposes and Audiences for Multimodal Composing Projects

Friday, 5/12 D-WRD Session notes:

Aligning Practice with Purpose

Because thinking about audience and purpose always leads to concerns about assessment, we began today’s session — Bridget Wagner, Tricia Hermes, Margaret Poncin and me — by reviewing our multimodal assessment resources and practices since 2010:

When we first implemented a programmatic approach to multimodal composing projects and assignments, there was exactly one dependable and widely known source that we could draw on for assessing such work: Borton and Huot’s 2007 “Responding and Assessing” in Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers

Then there was Odell and Katz’s 2009 ‘”Yes, a T-Shirt!’: Assessing Visual Composition in the ‘Writing” Class'”: “Computer technology is expanding our profession’s conception of composing, allowing visual information to play a substantial role in an increasing variety of composition assignments. This expansion, however, creates a major problem: How does one assess student work on these assignments?”   

More recently, Shipka’s arguably more sophisticated, generative, and rigorous Statement of Goals & Choices (from her 2011 Toward a Composition Made Whole) brings together rhetorical contexts, deep reflection, and a guiding process for students to engage as they meta-cognitively articulate their choices and decisions. (Examples.)

A couple of weeks ago, a WRD speaker, Kristin Arola remarked in her talk, “Slow Composition: American Indian Rhetorics and Mindful Making Practices,” on her — and probably our — experience with students when we ask them after a multimodal project is finished and completed, “why did you choose and use that photo there?” The answer is often unsatisfying, and Arola attributed the problem to “fast rhetoric” and “rhetorical velocity” that doesn’t leave the student time to think about her choices and to document them as they happen. 

Our session today might be productively focused on the initial rhetorical purposes in multimodal composing projects: 

Lunsford, St. Martin’s Handbook:

Sheehan: Technical Communication Today:

Shipka, “Negotiating Rhetorical, Material, Methodological, and Technological Difference: Evaluating Multimodal Designs.” 

“I argue for the importance of requiring that students assume responsibility for describing and evaluating the purposes and potentials of their work. I argue that students who are required to produce “precisely defined goal statements” for their work become increasingly cognizant of how texts are composed of a series of rhetorical, material, and methodological “moves” that, taken together, simultaneously afford and constrain potentials for engaging with those texts (Beach 137–38). Instead of relying on instructors to “tell them what their problems are and how to remedy those problems” (127), students become more sophisticated and flexible rhetoricians, able to describe and share with others the potentials and limitations of their texts.” (347)

One possible outcome: in some instances — during times of political or cultural polarization, say — rethinking conventional notions of audience and readers by focusing on the idea of publics and counterpublics (Michael Warner). 

Public: a space of discourse organized by the discourse, usually a dominant discourse: white, male, successful, heterosexual, urban and American; growing up to speak like an NBC News broadcaster, for example. This kind of public comes into being only in relation to texts and their circulation.

Counterpublic: members are not merely a subset of the public, but constituted through a conflictual relation to the dominant public.

Warner’s concept is more complex than that, but we can already see some possibilities for analytic and invention/composing uses in the writing classroom:

We brainstormed a possible prompt

  • Identify a “public” and its associated “counterpublic”
  • Analyze the rhetorical strategies and assumptions of each
  • Compare and contrast them in two columns
  • How do their texts circulate? In the New York Times? Via graffiti? A web site? Protest signs? Twitter? In specialized venues?
  • What values do the public & counterpublic seem to have?
  • Do they share any values?
  • What counterpublics are you—or have you been—a part of?

Can you articulate a public/counterpublic multimodally?

We can followup in the AQ on the public/counterpublic concept if people are interested, along with these other suggested session topics & workshops:

  • Video shooting and editing
  • Typographic principles of design applied to slideware
  • 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.
May 12, 2017

Spring Quarter 2017 D-WRD Sessions

We have two D-WRD sessions scheduled before the end of the school year, during which we can also plan and schedule AQ 2017 sessions if you have ideas, proposals, requests, or recommendations for future agenda items:

Friday, April 28th: Teaching Online Writing Courses — FYW, Professional Writing, other Upper-Division Courses
SAC 301 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

An open-ish agenda for updates, problem-solving, assignment design ideas — will include options in monitoring student progress and assigning readings that result in documented reading. If you have anything to share here — problems, assignments, projects, methods — please do!

Friday, May 12th: Identifying Rhetorical Purposes in Multimodal Composing Projects:
— note the time change: 12:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.

Following up on last year’s conversation: how to help students identify readers (public and counterpublics) —  and possible rhetorical effects for multimodal composing projects — and how to assess them.

And we’ll use both sessions to look ahead to the Autumn Quarter. 

If you can’t make these sessions but would like to talk about them or get access to the associated materials — pretty-please email me and we’ll set something up. 

If you don’t know what any of this means, you can still come for the sugary treats. 

Thanks, Tricia Hermes, for helping to pull this together!

April 20, 2017

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.
December 12, 2016

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.”

November 5, 2016

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)

August 23, 2016

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:

July 15, 2016

ACCESSIBLE SYLLABUS: Accessible classroom resources promote student engagement and agency

leaf Via Tulane: Accessible Syllabus 

July 12, 2016

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.
June 1, 2016

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



April 2, 2016

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


February 12, 2016

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!

February 7, 2016

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:


January 15, 2016

Cinnamon rolls & typography

October 9, 2015

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).

August 26, 2015

“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”)

August 6, 2015

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.

August 3, 2015

Common Core & Reading

Karma could be in your class some day.

June 20, 2015

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.

June 19, 2015

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.”


June 18, 2015

What Is Code?

Via Bloomberg Businessweek

June 12, 2015

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.

June 5, 2015

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.

June 1, 2015

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!

May 5, 2015

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.

April 30, 2015

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


April 16, 2015

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.

March 29, 2015

“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

March 13, 2015

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. 

March 6, 2015

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”

March 5, 2015

February 20, 2015

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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 4.14.29 PM

 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.”

January 15, 2015

A thousand words.

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 10.24.04 PM

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.”

January 1, 2015

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.”



December 26, 2014