Blog Post

A (somewhat belated) Introduction

Hello fellow HASTACs (hay stacks?). I’ve been lurking about these forums and have seen some really great introductions from some intimidatingly prolific scholars, so I guess it’s time for me to toss out an introduction and let you know what I’m all about.

I am a PhD. student in Rhetoric and Composition at Washington State University. I’m trucking along through my second year as I write this, and I’ve finally narrowed down my areas of interest to digital literacies, rhetoric of technology, and second language pedagogy. My still-gestating dissertation work will focus on crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, specifically the ways in which online discourse communities develop around issues of labor and funding and the potential implications for critical scholarship and pedagogy. Of course, this will probably change and evolve into something completely unrecognizable before long.

I’m probably a bit of an odd-man-out as far as history goes: Before coming to WSU, I spent several years adjuncting. This has turned out to be a larger influence on my scholarship than I’d expected. Working at a community college in Miami, Florida (a long drive to Washington!) exposed me to a pretty diverse body of students, which included second language learners, non-traditional adult learners, and lower income students. This, in turn, has made me acutely aware of the challenges that non-traditional learners of all stripes face when pursuing a higher education, especially in terms of seemingly mundane things like time, money, and distance. I’ve also seen the different ways in which technology can help these students, such as allowing single parents to take online classes, providing cheaper access to texts and learning resources, or hinder them through lack of access, expensive proprietary software, or even not knowing how to do research online. As a result, I always try to keep my lessons accessible, my coursework practical, and my course materials cheap, and I’m extremely interested in open access technologies and issues of technological access and the digital divide.

Before that, I studied Creative Writing at the New School in New York, earning my MFA in Fiction (like I said, odd). This has also influenced my scholarship in unexpected ways: in addition to holding out delusions of being a novelist, I tend to default to the creative when designing assignment sequences and pursuing scholarship. For instance, I’m currently experimenting with using Max Brooks’ novel World War Z as a course text in an ESL writing class that I’m teaching. I won’t get into the logic behind that here, but I can say that it’s going pretty well so far!

I’m always up to talk, collaborate, or commiserate, so feel free to hit me up whenever. It’s good to meet you all, fellow Hay Stacks! 

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