Computers and Writing 2011 – Day 1

Random notes and ideas from day one at Computers and Writing 2011:

Opening Town Hall

  • Susan Antlitz — how and why do we want interactive spaces for teaching?
  • Sharon Cogdill — how do technologies control us?
  • Bradley Dilger — reading and writing code, using small amounts of code to attain big results
  • Patricia Freitag Ericsson — break the silence and talk about what we do in our jobs: “Recuse yourself from knowing everything about everything.”
  • Dickie Selfe — encouraging us to think about the waste we create in techno rhetoric (literally, the garbage that our practices create and how toxic waste is affecting other countries and people)
  • Jeremy Tirrell — great data visualization using Google Earth to talk about geographic implications of our work; helping to construct multiple narratives about work in computers and composition
  • Janice Walker — are we still on the “lunatic fringe” of composition studies? Are we a field, discipline, or sub-discipline?
  • Q/A:
    • Gail Hawisher — maybe we should still be called computers and writing
    • Dickie Selfe — we need to move outside of our discipline to work with others outside, too

Session A: Student Production of Digital Media

  • Michael Neal, Florida State University Rory Lee, Florida State University Natalie Szymanski, Florida State University Matt Davis, Florida State University
  • Presentation Website and Description of the Major
    • Thoughtful assignments and annotated examples of student work
  • Notes from the conversation
    • Second year of the major and there are over 650 students
    • Support from Writing Center and Digital Studio
    • Students make choices about the technologies that they use to present different projects; can’t use the same digital platform more than once
    • What responsibility do we have to teach hardware/software in class? What should students do on their own or with other support?

Session B: Making Writing Socially Engaging: Asking Why New MediaDraws Us In

  • Presenters:
    • Eric A Glicker, Rancho Santiago Community College — blogging as a recursive process that moves students beyond the classroom
    • Gian S. Pagnucci, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and David Schaafsma, University of Illinois at Chicago — baseball poetry for a literacy project that is not academic
    • Dennis G. Jerz, Seton Hill University — are we in a post-blogging era now that Facebook is ubiquitous; is blogging becoming the new 5-paragraph essay?
    • Daisy Pignetti, University of Wisconsin-Stout — thinking about Twitter and active reading
  • Guiding questions:
    • How does social media create opportunities for writers?
    • Why is it that people find social networking pales as an engaging place to write?
    • How does social media invite peer-response and interaction?

Session C: Dynamic assessment practices for media and technology classes

  • Presenters:
    • Dickie Selfe, Ohio State University — wiki as a tool for intentional adaptive communities; determining how length and content of oral “nuggets” of one-hour interviews contributed to an overall effect in multimodal composition; assessment was modified based on experiences with audiences
    • Tim Jensen, Ohio State University — experimental assessment using digital media; students developing the rubric from the bottom up; discussing the assessment criteria that they developed helped describe group effort
    • Kathryn Comer, Ohio State University  — intro to digital media with a project proposal, informal studio discussion and formal workshops, and analytic reflection; could students make an argument for the composing choices that they made in their project?
    • Scott Lloyd DeWitt, Ohio State University — accounting for production by focusing on the final product (project title, genre description/rhetorical moves, technologies used, and materials/references) with students developing assessment criteria concurrently
    • Chris Manion, Ohio State University — how can we frame multimedia composition through a heuristic “habits of thought”?
  • Notes
    • Question in dynamic assessment processes: Do students actually participate in a democratic design, or do a few students dominate?
    • Do we only focus on the product? Is the writer her/himself the product? — Helping students focus on the process of assessment as a part of the instruction.
    • Improving student work not only over one term but, as instructors, improving our assignments and modeling excellent student work over time

Session D: Schools: Where the public and private collide

  • Presenters: Ann D. David, University of Texas at Austin Amy E. Burke, University of Texas at Austin Audra Roach, University of Texas at Austin
  • Notes
    • If teachers use smart phones themselves, and most students have access via phone, what is it that keeps us from using them in class?
    • Audience inquiry in social networks: search for patterns, examine self-representation, weigh affordances, author study
    • Writing in motion:
      • Writing in short bursts, different tempos
      • Moving between pieces of writing
      • Frequent peer response
      • “Revision forward”
      • Time and space to move

The luncheon keynote was Tim Wu, talking about his book, The Master Switch. The dinner keynote was Gail Hawisher, who gave a look back and forward on the field of computers and composition.


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Author: Troy Hicks

Dr. Troy Hicks is a professor of English and education at Central Michigan University. He directs both the Chippewa River Writing Project and the Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree program. A former middle school teacher, Dr. Hicks has authored numerous books, articles, chapters, blog posts, and other resources broadly related to the teaching of literacy in our digital age. Follow him on Twitter: @hickstro

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