Blog Post

Digital Futures: Sunday at C&W

Today was the last day of the Computers and Writing 2011 conference, and what a beautiful day in Ann Arbor!  The sun was shining brightly on my walk into campus, and still is as I write this now.   

I got a late start (sorry 8:30 presenters) and started my day with panel K06, "Practical Approaches to Keeping Writing in Motion."  Meredith Zoetewey talked about frugal technologies, "lean methodologies," and FOSS (free and open source software), encouraging us to embrace the "F" in FOSS.  Free = liberty, which invites innovation, she argued. 

The second speaker in the panel, Shelah Simpson, talked to us about ideas for using youtube to teach traditional academic argumentation.  I like this idea, but I also think that video can be used to teach non-traditional forms of writing, as well. 

Tamara Girardi spoke third about the effective use of blogs in a writing class, which she claims must move beyond using them as a reading response depository.  I heartily agree with this point, as I've had to participate in some blogs as a graduate student that weren't very dynamic or pedagogically sound.  I also wonder about the implications when we ask our students to put a lot of their writing out there in the public sphere as part of an assignment.  Should all writing be published writing? 

Finally, K06 wrapped up with Abigail Grant, who challenged us to think of ways to incorporate texting into our writing classrooms.  I'm not sure where I stand on this issue.  I agree that texting is a writing genre, but I'm not sure it's one I want going on in my classroom while we're doing other things, like workshopping student drafts.  I do think, though, that actually bringing up the  topic of texting in class for discussion instead of just yelling at students for doing it is an interesting approach. 

Town Hall 03: The Future(s) of Computers and Writing wrapped up the conference for all involved.  Lauren Mitchell made a fascinating claim that there could be more linking between writing, architecture, and digital spaces.  I wonder what this kind of collaboration would look like or result in.  Byron Hawk made a call for more attention to the ways sound is being used in composition, calling us to think about sound and theorize it in new ways.  In many ways, my recent work is an attempt to answer calls like Hawk's. 

During the town hall Q & A, several C&Wers made predictions about the future, so if you missed it, here is a summary:

Cindy Selfe: C&W will/should value differences like race and disability in more ways in future conferences.  Students need to begin speaking for themselves, instead of us speaking about them.  We need a born digital book for tenure. 

Anne Ruggles Gere: we will publish something out of this C&W conference, but what will it be, and what will it look like? 

Others: We need to focus more on teaching writing online.  We should be more inviting to 2-year college faculty.  More born-digital books and dissertations to come.  Folks seemed hopeful that born-digital work is gaining respect and the ability to be archived. 

After the town hall, I grabbed my box lunch and headed home, mulling over my weekend at the conference.  Some highlights of the weekend, for your enjoyment:

  • The collaborative atmosphere.  From day 1 in the GRN, I felt that both junior and senior scholars in the field were open and willing to help and mentor one another. 
  • Lunch with Kate Hayles.  See my post from Friday.  Awesomeness. 
  • Meeting other sonic literacies folk: Kyle Stedman, Gary Hink, Timothy Briggs, Steven Hammer, Mary Hocks, and others.  Thanks for coming to my panel and being so willing to talk sound.  I'm listening! 
  • Hearing other people (besides my own crazy mind voice) talk about assessing new media.  I'm not insane.  Who knew. 
  • TWEETING to #cwcon and reading others' tweets.  You CAN be in more than 1 place at once. 
  • The food.  If you were there, you know.  Yum. 
  • Being in close physical proximity with so many wise Computers and Comp peeps: Cindy Selfe, Cheryl Ball, Michael Neal, Bump Halbritter, Byron Hawk, Jim Brown, Anne Gere, Dickie Selfe, Kate Hayles, Cynthia Haynes, Victor Vitanza, Meredith Zoetewey, and many more.  I hope some of your dedication and brain power rubbed off on me. 

Cheers to C&W 2011 and all the organizers for making it happen.  I had a great conference, and looking forward to 2012. 


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