Digital Writing Practices

The Course Goals and Practices of E110 tell us that students will compose print and digital texts:

The composition process is more than just putting words on the page or screen. In addition to writing print-based texts, you will also practice composing online, often making use of visual and audio forms.”

And this is exciting work! It represents an opportunity to thoughtfully and purposefully explore a range of textual production and consumption (and in between) with students. But, like all of our course goals and practices, it’s easier said than done.

I (Caitlin Larracey) spoke at the most recent faculty retreat to share tips, tricks, and frameworks behind digital writing. My slides are below.

There are a range of resources throughout the slides to direct your attention to scholarship about digital/multimodal writing, resources about assignments, and assistance with the technological side of it.

I wanted to add here though the insightful points added to our discussion by Alice Boone and David Kim. Alice talked about “playbor,” asking us to consider the platforms students use to write on in the classroom and the monetization of that work (that we often characterize as play). David noted that, though there may be “simple” or “easy” ways to consider digital writing in the classroom, it’s also important to have an understanding of the technologies that you are asking students to use – their interfaces and mechanisms, underlying assumptions and business models.

We welcome more discussion of digital writing in composition and hope these conversations can happen on the blog, in our classrooms, and at future professional development events.

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Brown Bag Multimedia Resources

Our first Brown Bag of the semester on teaching multimedia was a roundtable discussion of different ways that instructors currently teach multimodal assignments in English 110, and we addressed concerns about structuring and grading multimodal assignments. The Student Multimedia Design Center’s representative, Hannah Lee, was present to give access to resources and help with practical concerns. We had a lot of materials present in the Brown Bag that we wanted to make accessible as models for all English 110 instructors.
Caitlin Larracey allowed us to look at her materials, which range from prompts such as the Remediation on YouTube, Social (Re)Media, and Proposal Vlog assignments, as well as supporting materials such as how to work with Storify in the Affordances Discussion Activity. Her materials are included below:
I also shared some of my own materials, particularly the prompts and rubrics I’ve used in my classes to teach multimedia assignments. The Website Prompt and Rubric are an assignment I’ve taught several times now, and I think work particularly well for my goals in a remediation assignment. The Multimedia Prompt and Rubric are for a project I ran once and liked but then changed, and I’m trying the blog assignment in the Daily Work and Participation Prompt for the first time this semester. My materials are included as well:
Finally, Hannah Lee sent over links that may be of use to anyone designing a multimedia assignment, which can be found in the Multimedia Literacy Research guide, in the Faculty Resources section.
She highlights specifically:
  • This video journaling template, from the University of Illinois’ ART 250: Writing with Video course, serves as a useful outline for process-based writing about the video production process.
  • This common rubric from Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program can be used to assess multimodal compositions.
  • The RISE model (Reflect, Inquire, Suggest, Elevate) may be helpful for peer-to-peer critiques and instructor-to-student feedback.

She also points out resources that might be helpful when thinking about multimodal assessment:

  • Digital Writing Assessment and Evaluation contains a collection of chapters on assessing digital compositions. Published by Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press. The full text of the book is available for free online. 
  • Computers and Composition devotes an entire issue (Volume 31, March 2014) to multimodal assessment.

Feel free to make use of these materials, and continue to share how E110 instructors are using multimodal projects in our classroom!