Why teach digital writing?

A nifty overview of the necessity, the resistance to, and the process of teaching writing in networked digital environments.

Computers are not “just tools” for writing. Networked computers create a new kind of writing space that changes the writing process and the basic rhetorical dynamic between writers and readers. Computer technologies have changed the processes, products, and contexts for writing in dramatic ways—and rhetoric theory, composition practice, and writing instruction all need to change to suit how writing is produced in digital spaces.popup

Writing is radically changed by internetworked computer technology. Everybody says that—and researchers in the field of computers and writing have been exploring the implications of this claim for 20 years. But are we really REALLY ready to accept the implications of that claim, even some rather disturbing implications?

The conclusions strike me as persuasive, but they would, wouldn’t they?:

We have anchored digital writing practices to the extension of modes and media, and to the fact that writing, today, means much more than working merely with alphabetic text or with print pages, but that computer applications and digital publishing spaces allow us to weave and orchestrate multiple sign technologies (e.g., images, voice and other sounds, music, video, print, graphics), layered together across space and time to produce artifacts that can be interactive, hyperlinked, and quite powerful.

Fostering, supporting, and enhancing students’ abilities to write within and across digital spaces is complicated by a matrix of media, of rhetorics, of technologies, and of various institutional values. All of these variables and values create the shape of the context for digital writing. Digital writing makes visible needs that writing courses and curricula and programs that we haven’t previously articulated, or needed to articulate. These needs complicate and extend the pressures we already feel and that we already exert—perils and possibilities related to teaching and working spaces, evaluation, class size, access to computer labs, access to wireless teaching spaces, design of curricula, staffing and labor, and more. Many more.

The piece itself is a pretty good hybrid of traditional scholarly discourse and online techniques — be sure to click some of the ‘s…

Via morgan’s log

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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