Prepping for DMAC 2018

Photo by Christopher Gower on UnsplashToday, I made my way to Columbus in preparation for the Digital Media and Composition Institute, also known as DMAC. In more than one way, this has been a career aspiration of mine for well over a decade, and I’m very much looking forward to the immersive, sustained experience of working with colleagues over the next 10 days.

I first learned about DMAC, then CIWIC, when Cindy Selfe and Gail Hawisher were still at Michigan Tech, from my mentor and dissertation director, (and, eventually, co-author on Because Digital Writing Matters), Danielle Nicole DeVoss, as she had pursued her own graduate studies there. To make a long story short, I feel like part of my academic heritage is deeply rooted with CIWIC/DMAC, and in many ways I feel like I am returning “home” though I have never actually attended the workshop.

At another level, this spring is also quite important for me as a moment to pause, reflect, and refocus. Since 2003, I have had the incredibly good fortune of leading countless conference sessions, day-long workshops, and multi-day or even multi-week institutes. This has come about from my long and productive relationship with the National Writing Project. I’ve been humbled and honored to have started the Chippewa River Writing Project at CMU, and to have been invited to dozens of writing project sites – as well as other school districts and professional organization events – over the past decade.

However, one of the things that I miss is simply being a participant in a workshop, to be fully immersed so I can soak up ideas and wisdom from other participants and facilitators. This is not to say that I don’t enjoy opportunities for leadership, because I certainly do, and I’m looking forward to at least half a dozen different opportunities this summer, not least of which is facilitating our own weeklong CRWP leadership institute, returning to Rhode Island to help facilitate the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy, and also coordinating our Beaver Island Institute for science and literacy. I look forward to all of these, and to my time at ISTE and NWP Midwest, among other conference events. All this will be wonderful, too.

Still, there’s something to be said for just having one’s mind in a state of “being.” DMAC will allow me that time and space. And, I will get to meet other like-minded scholars, reconnect to my writing roots, and think critically and creatively about digital composition. In short, it will be intellectually engaging and fun.

And, I’m at a point in my career where, not needing to “pivot” or “redefine” entirely, what I really need to do over the next ten days is get refocused. I have a number of specific projects that I want to work on over the next 10 days, many of which are connected to my teaching, scholarship, and service.

With teaching, in particular, I’m trying to imagine the possibilities for a class I am teaching this fall, a seminar class for honors freshman, that I have entitled “Our Digital Selves.” There’s quite a bit of work that I need to do this summer in order to figure out exactly how I want to teach the course. First, I’m looking to a colleague and leader in the field of digital badging for composition, Stephanie West-Puckett, and the work that she has begun at URI with Writing 104. Titled MakerComp, she helps her students move toward self guided inquiry and significant projects, bundled in a system of badging.

Additionally, I’ve been “away” from writing for a significant amount of time. I have certainly been busy with some smaller projects this year, I have not gotten refocused on a book-length project since the publication of Argument in the Real World, From Texting to Teaching, and Coaching Teacher-Writers in 2017. I have a number of writing opportunities ahead of me, as well as potential collaborators with whom I would like to work, and so these next few days will give me lots of time to consider possibilities and develop project proposals.

Finally, of course, I am interested in learning how other people design professional development experiences for their peers and colleagues. I’ve been struggling to try to figure out how, exactly, to help re-invigorate our own writing project site’s work, connect to our masters in educational technology program, and consider new possibilities for CMU’s education program at large. I hope that watching the DMAC team in action as facilitators will be good for me, too.

In short, I need DMAC.

I am deeply fortunate to have a patient and flexible wife who is managing the chaos at home, as well as an employer in CMU who has given me significant financial support to attend this DMAC Institute. I am thankful for these blessings in my life.

And, I’m looking forward to the work ahead.


Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

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A Kid’s Eye View of Digital Rhetoric

For my first post on the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative blog, I figured that I should make a multimodal composition. So, I used the technology that we had available to interview my daughters about their thoughts related to “digital rhetoric.”

Enjoy!

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Cross posted at “Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative.”

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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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