From the category archives:


Critical Literacy for New Media

by Dr Davis on April 6, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Monnin, Katie. “Developing and Envisioning a Critical Literacy Perspective in a New Media Age.” The NERA Journal 44.1 (2008): 39-46. Web. 15 January 2014.

The article looks at English Language Arts (6-12) and its place in critical literacy studies. Monnin gives a history of critical literacy in the ELA classroom. She introduces the Great Books movement, intended to show students how great people thought and encourage them to think that way, too (40). Then NCTE advocated for a wider range of readings (41). She then moves through the New Critics and reader response theorists. She argues that critical literacy in ELA is multimodal (42). Then she suggests an assignment, which is describing character development in a new media composition. Her second assignment is to infer themes. Basically she says to treat new media as if it were old media and let the students read/watch it and write the same sorts of compositions they were writing.

Since I know that character development is not taught or learned well, due to the large number of searches on TCE for this information, I am skeptical of the first assignment and as she does not develop any new media centric assignments, even as simple as show how the music contributes to whatever or examine the costumes for xxx…, I would say this is neither useful nor credible. Thankfully my blog is self-published, so null findings still go up.



Facebook in Bus Comm

by Dr Davis on April 3, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Decarie, Christina. “Facebook: Challenges and Opportunities for Business Communication Students.” Business Communication Quarterly 73 (2010): 449-52. Web. 15 January 2014.

The article argues that the ability to use Facebook well and wisely is essential. It says that Facebook encourages strong writing, interpersonal communication skills, and Web 2.0 literacy. To show how Fb encourages strong writing, the author points out poorly written status updates and asks students what opinion they form about the writer. For interpersonal communication skills, she arrived at school one day and saw that a student who was not an FB friend had carried on a discussion with another over boring teachers and not going to class. She opened that in class and let the class comment on it. Showing that people who are friends of your friends can see your status is an important piece of information. Another student was given the opportunity to pitch a project to the university president. While preparing for his speech, he opened the FB page and saw that he was featured shirtless and drinking a beer hands-free. A friend snapped a picture of him in his professional attire and the student uploaded it immediately, before he went into the president’s office for the meeting. Finally the professor details her own experience meeting a writer online and pitching the idea of her publishing his blog entries as a chap book. Students read and commented on her pitch letter; they also asked for details about how the online meeting had happened, how the relationship was developed, and, finally, about the author’s answer. This allowed the students to see the use FB could be put to for both forming new networking relationships but also for developing business opportunities.

When I began reading I did not think this article would be very credible. However, the three very simple examples she gave, and her argument that FB promotes strong writing, were persuasive.

facebookI tell students not to post things they don’t want their future employers to see, but perhaps I should again have students google the other students and read through their FB posts for something that could be damaging to their futures. The stories in this article will be very useful for communication disasters to tell my students about.



Curiosity and Technology

by Dr Davis on April 3, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Arnone, Marilyn P., Ruth V. Small, Sarah A. Chauncey, and H. Patricia McKenna. “Curiosity, Interest and Engagement in Technology-pervasive Learning Environments: A New Research Agenda.” Education Technology Research and Development 2011 (59): 181-98. Web. 15 January 2014.

The authors argue that technology can stimulate students’ curiosity. They consider how students who grew up in a tech-rich environment act and what they do when their research takes unexpected turns (182). The literature begins with the history of curiosity studies and discusses the connection between curiosity and exploratory behavior. A 2009 study showed that acting on curiosity and finding information indicates competence (183). The authors focus on curiosity in new media environments and discuss contextual factors (185). They discuss triggered situational interest (188) and engagement: participative, affective, and cognitive (189). They move through situational, personal, and contextual contributions. Learning modalities are introduced with ambient learning, “the next generation of mobile learning” (191). They also discuss cyberlearning (192), personal learning networks (193), and social media and collaborators (193). This is a work which sets out a research agenda to be pursued.

The idea of being curious and being able to find answers as a measure of competence is interesting. This doesn’t actually relate to the RrNm project, despite the fact that I thought it might.

Useful ideas: information literacy as an indicator of competency.

RrNm Ann Bib


Teaching Digital Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on April 2, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“Teaching Digital Rhetoric: Community, Critical Engagement, and Application.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 6.2 (2006): 231-59. Web. 1 May 2012.

The article quotes from some highly collaborative sources to argue that “our notions of literacy continue to migrate” (234). Then says “we are in the very late age of print,” and that most writing already happens digitally (234). Issues of access are presented as being escalating, rather than minimized, over time (236). Technological devices’ rhetorical role, impacting multiple levels of writing practice, are brought up (237). The article defines digital writing as something created on a digital device and primarily distributed wirelessly [like this blog post] (238) and digital rhetoric as communicative acts that include sound, words, and images and are made, maintained, and shared electronically (243). The article states that a sharply defined supportive community is necessary in a course with digital writing/rhetoric (244). Also students need to be engaged in understanding and delimiting digital creations and rhetoric themselves (245). Besides the community and the critical engagement, students also must see the relevance of digital writing/rhetoric to their lives (247). Situated practice is necessary, but a course in digital writing/rhetoric must begin with a “theoretical and practical framework for examining digital work” (249). Professors should not just take advantage of student experiences for the class, but learn from those student experiences (250). Assignments such as online ethnographies, technology community maps, and digital media and/or website creation for those communities are discussed. Rather than simply critiquing the rhetorical aspects of a digital work, students should both critique it and its effect on their lives, self-identity, etc. A series of fairly simple (but time-consuming) activities are given (252). The article discusses the need for learning how to learn about technology (253) and discusses “a pedagogy of patience” (254) in which we teach students that they don’t have to know all tech as it comes out or all at once and that learning takes time. Then they apply it to their assignments by saying that students need to be given the time to learn what they are expected to use (254).

iStock professor lecture small group white boardThe article has a lot of good assignment ideas as well as some reasonably firm grounding in rhetoric and digital rhetoric, although it also assumes a great deal on the part of the reader. The article does NOT list the authors, but simply says they all took a certain course in professional writing at Michigan State in 2004. The lack of identification of authors is troubling to me, even though I published on TCE anonymously for a number of years. The fact that Duke chose to publish and copyright the material makes up for the lack of authorship in terms of credibility. The article is placed within the currents of conversation about digital writing and digital rhetoric in a reasonable way. However, the idea that we will teach students not only literacy skills but tech skills and rhetorical theory and critical analysis and give them time to learn and practice the new technologies and literacies is intimidating and I wonder how it can be done in a single classroom.

The article pushes the commercial analysis assignment (from my fyc course) by saying that, rather than simply analyzing the commercial, students should “create a parody of the ad that highlights the elements they have analyzed and critiqued” (253). I think this could be very effective and in a group creating a parody might be less intimidating. Handling the humor of a parody is an extremely complex skill and not one that I am confident I could do. (Though it would be fun to listen to some parodies of songs!) The final element of the assignment as conceived includes a critical reflection on why they chose to engage the points they did in the way they did.

“How do we … facilitate our students’ “messy transition” to a multimodal culture while still acknowledging their current individual, culturally situated literacies?” (“Teaching Digital Rhetoric” 248)

RrNm Ann Bib

This work is quoted in my Early Notes.


Digital Storytelling: VR Difference?

by Dr Davis on April 1, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Xu, Yan, Hyungsung Park, and Youngkyun Baek. “A New Approach Toward Digital Storytelling: An Activity Focused on Self-efficacy in a Virtual Learning Environment.” Educational Technology & Society 14.4 (October 2011): 181-91. Web. 1 May 2012.

This article covers an experiment in which one group created digital stories in Second Life while the other created them off-line, attempting to discover where learning was better or more frequent. They introduce storytelling and then digital storytelling, making sure that they foreground the writing of/in digital storytelling as essential. They had a questionnaire to judge writing self-efficacy and used the Flow State Scale both as a pre- and post-test. The changes were significant for the online writing experience of digital storytelling, but not for the other group.

The study took place in South Korea with South Korean students, so it might not apply to the US. The study involved only two classes and a total of sixty-four undergraduates. However, the two groups were equal in number. If they did in fact do a pre-test, they didn’t show those scores. In addition, both the scales were originally constructed in English and translated, so they might not have been equally reliable in Korean.

What this is useful for is offering a way to potentially better utilize digital storytelling in the classroom to improve student writing. It also could be repeated to see if the experience holds up in the US. It would be fairly easy to do with two classes, but much harder to do with any more than that.

RrNm Ann Bib


Assessing New Media Compositions

by Dr Davis on March 31, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Sorapure, Madeleine. “Between Modes: Assessing Student New Media Compositions.” Kairos 10.2 (2005). Online journal. Web. 6 November 2013.

Since computer use changes the writing experience, the article argues that assessment must also change and suggests that the litmus test should be the effectiveness with which the modes (image, text, sound) are combined. Discussions of assessment indicate the importance of new media, but many assessments are based on the print component. The strategy of borrowing from other fields to teach and assess, Sorapure argues, decontextualizes the guidelines from their own field and puts rhetorical theory at risk of marginalization. Sorapure constructs a definition of new media as a combination of modes and the combination both creates and defines the “coherence in digital texts.” She then argues that metaphor and metonymy are two primary meaning-making activities. Her presentation of the student assignment is straightforward: create a collage illustrating Ginsberg’s quote on controlling the image to control the world using Photoshop. Visually all of the work is pleasing, but as a multimodal composition activating both metaphoric and metonymic relationships between verbal and visual is the most effective; Sorapure provides student examples and her assessments. She then introduces a second assignment (with links) and assesses them in the same way.

The argument for multimodal assignments to be assessed beyond the written is strong. The inclusion of specific examples and developed narratives of assessment is helpful. Problematically the assessment is not quantitative and is only one element, which Sorapure discusses. She mentions technical or aesthetic challenges as possible other elements. This assessment model is insufficient to stand alone, but does add depth to multimodal assessment.

This assessment could be added to my assessment rubric for digital storytelling without difficulty. It would add a level of complexity to the assessment which could possibly allow the better videos to be more accurately described.

“Metonymy designates a relation based on combination; modes can be metonymically related when they are linked by an association, as when lines from a poem are combined with a melody from a song. It is a relation based on contiguity between elements in different modes.”

RrNm Ann Bib


Visual Knowledge in the Legal Field

by Dr Davis on March 30, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Sherwin, Richard K., Neal Feigenson, and Christina Spiesel. “What Is Visual Knowledge, and What Is It Good for? Potential Ethnographic Lessons from the Field of Legal Practice.” Visual Anthropology 20 (2007): 143-78. Web. 1 May 2012.

The article says the legal system requires competing reconstructions of reality (defense and prosecution), with a theoretical grounding in social constructionism. Visuals are less likely to be individually interpreted (Pink 2006: 49), though their creation is not always reality based. The article then looks at the question of “what kinds of knowledge and meaning are created, and with what outcomes, when they are visually and digitally constructed” (150). They argue that visual thinking is pre-conscious and rapid, thus forming lasting impressions that can be (and sometimes are) wrong (155). Visual images have greater impact, convey more information, bring out the emotional response of the real thing, and can appear to lack human intervention (156). In addition, visual images allow meaning to be grasped at one time, a meaning assumed to be the whole available, and yet some meaning remains implicit, which they convey subconsciously (157). Narrative theory (159) and media as message (161) are discussed as well as the impact of the modern malleability of images (164). The article ends with the statement that “the production and interpretation of visual knowledge requires a new intellectual framework” (168).

Not only does the article contain quite a bit of development in social constructionism and narrative theory, it also makes its points using actual court cases in which digital images were shown and made a difference to the outcomes of the cases. Some of the outcomes were not positive (as far as the authors were concerned). Whether there actually was media manipulation is beyond my knowledge; however, our photoshop culture makes it obvious that there could have been. The article is replete with discussions of visual images, their development, and their manipulation.

The background in visual knowledge research is valuable. The physical difference in how we process images versus written words is presented in a straight-forward manner, with citations for follow up. Discussing context of visual images would certainly impact visual knowledge and would be something I could do with my history and theory of rhetoric graduate class.

RrNm Ann Bib


Where I Started: RrNm Pedagogy

by Dr Davis on March 28, 2014

Visual Rhetoric Essay in which I discuss my first visual rhetoric assignment and how I led the students through it.

Visual Rhetoric in FYC in which I link to early presentation notes on visual rhetoric.

“Visual Wealth” a TEDTalk by Marian Bantjes, a graphic artist. I noted that the video would be good to show when teaching visual rhetoric.

Visual Design in the Composition Classroom

Thinking about “Kentucky Higher Ed” has some thoughts on higher ed in general and a comment on technology that I follow up with “We do tend to use it to preserve the archaeology of the academic past (Prezis and lectures).” Then I talk about my digital assignments.

Digital Presentation: Commercial Analysis, in which I discuss the commercial analysis for my fyc course.

Digital Versus Print: Is that the Real Issue? in which I respond to Dr. Lee Bessette’s Inside Higher Ed article on Textbook v Digital.

FYC Retrospective 3 talks about visual and digital rhetoric in my classroom.

Utilizing Extant Tech in the Classroom on using cell phones, Tweets, photography, computers, podcasts, and the flipped classroom.

Blogging Pedagogy, which mostly links to the U of Texas website Blogging Pedagogy.

Working Through What it Means to Teach Digital Literacy from way back in 2009 is me trying to figure out what I am doing with new media.

Blogs and New Media in Academic Practice, mostly a description of a different article.

Incorporating New Media while Teaching FYC–an instructor who turned her first-year composition course into a documentary production class.

My own new media experience, put into a single post for job applications.

Advances in Adoption of New Ways of Knowing about how the more things change the more they remain the same. “Augustine marveled, in the year 400, at the sight of Ambrose reading in silence…”

New Citations Problems discusses the issues of citing Kindle sources.

Digital Presentation: Commercial Analysis are my notes on the first (and successful) attempt to use commercial analysis in the fyc classroom.

Digital Writing: What Counts? #digiwrimo is about my experience in November with digital writing and what exactly I think it means.

Digital Rhetoric is about the Digital Blog Carnival.

Specializations is about the many hats I wear as a professor, including new media experience. It is more a musing piece.

Videos is a link to a piece called What is Video?

Valuing Digital Scholarship talks about the difficulties that digital scholars are encountering.

Working Through What it Means to Teach Digital Literacy is exactly what it sounds like.

Fast and Furious: Blogging for Digital Scholarship notes on not being impressed by “groundbreaking” work.

Digital v Print links to and comments on an article that is discussing the shift from print to digital, both in the academy (the article) and my own personal experience.

Posts I Will Get Around to Reading has links to various posts.

How to Use Twitter as an Academic

Does Technology Unnecessarily Complicate?

Digitally Related links and my notes on them.

Despite the Fact: Blogging Conferences about another saga in the “take my post down.”

“Grading” the Digital School/Life is about tech used in a 7th grade classroom and its implications.

Why You Should Tweet

Conversations with Twitter

Ideas for Developing a Discipline-Specific FYC Course responds to a different article and develops my own ideas.

Notes on Sources from #fycchat

Can Tech Teach? about folks without basic skills.

Live Blogging, my experiences through March 2011.

Beginning to Articulate a Coherent Theory of Why I Integrate Technology Into My Classes

Tech Features Useless if No One Uses Them

Cheating with Phones

Computers and Writing: Some relevant websites and articles

Using Web 2.0 in the English Classroom

Online Course Creation: Resources

Does reading the internet count as reading? and why I think it should.

Blogging Class is a math professor’s course announcement and my thoughts on it. (Casting Out 9′s)


Where I Started: RrNm Conference Notes

by Dr Davis on March 28, 2014

Before this project was proposed, I already had an interest in the topic of research in rhetoric of new media. I have been slowly collecting books related to this. I have been collecting (if not actually reading) articles in the areas related to rhetoric of new media. I have been attending conference presentations.

I am going to post links to the other blog posts within TCE that are related to this topic, just to give a broad background of where my ideas on this have ranged.

This section is on conference presentations.

Conference Notes
CCTE: “Evaluating Student Writing when Multimodal Rhetoric Changes the Interface”, which includes notes from two sets of presentations.
1. “‘What’s TEXT got to do with it?’: Assessing Visual and Textual Elements in First-Year Writing Projects” by Carol Johnson-Gerendas & Stacia Dunn Neeley @ Texas Wesleyan U
2. “Resistance to Multimodal Composing among Advanced Writers: Assessing Expertise and Medium” by Carrie Shively Leverenz @ Texas Christian U

MLA: Rhetorical Historiography and the Digital Humanities, which includes notes on two presentations.
1. “Touch Memory Death Technology Argument: Reading Onscreen” by Anne Frances Wysocki @ U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
2. “Digital Archives as Rhetoric: Emerging Opportunities for Research and Design” by William Hart-Davidson @ Michigan State U & Jim Ridolfo @ U of Cincinnati

SCMLA: Technical Writing II, which includes notes on three conference presentations.
1. “Voices of Collaboration: Integrating Styles Separated by Time, Writers, and Purposes” by David L. Major @ Austin Peay State U
2. “Making the Most of New Technologies” by Linda Gray @ Oral Roberts U
3. “Constructing Visual Arguments” by Shuwen Li @ U of Arkansas- Little Rock

SCMLA: Technical Writing I, which includes notes on four conference presentations.
1. “An Xtra-Special Use of New Media in the Technical Writing Classroom” by Brian Blackburne @ Sam Houston U
2. “To Google Docs or Not: Making More Informed Choices with Technology” by Deb Williams @ Abilene Christian U
3. “One Font, Two Fonts, Red Fonts, Blue Fonts: Teaching Design Software to Technical Communications” by Michael Charlton at Missouri Western U
4. “Technical Writing and Social Media: A Contradiction of Terms and Realities” by Elizabeth Tebeaux @ Texas A&M

PCA: Understanding Visual Rhetoric
This is the talk (with related images) by Shuwen Li @ U of Arkansas-Little Rock on Understanding Visual Argumentation. I use this A LOT in my freshman classes to discuss ethos, pathos, and logos. I also use it in my graduate history and theory of rhetoric course.

PCA: Tech Comm, Visual Rhetoric
This is notes from a presentation on “Reconfiguring ‘Visual Rhetoric’ for Technical Writing” by Carlos Salinas @ U of Texas-El Paso.

Computers & Writing 2010: Third Panel, which contains three sets of notes.
1. “Rediscovering Their Voices” by Kendra Gayle Lee @ U of South Florida
2. “Technologies for Transcending a Focus on Error: Blogs and Democratic Aspirations in First-Year Composition” by Cheryl C. Smith @ U of South Florida
3. “Sound Off with Style: Teaching Students w Op-Ed Column” by Quentin Vieregge @ U of South Florida

Computers and Writing 2009 “Confronting Assumptions”

Adams Center: “Teaching and Learning” includes results from research on links and images added to texts

MLA: :Sites of Digital Composing in the Classroom”, which include notes on three conference presentations.
1. Kristine Blair @ Bowling Green U on tech in the classroom
2. Christine Tully @ U of Findlay on digital reviews
3. Joy Bracewell @ U of Georgia’s “Integrating History: Producing a Particularized Digital Pedagogy”

PCA: “Oh Fff” includes notes on teaching Aristotle’s appeals using film clips.

“Pt 1: The End of the Essay” is quotes from a presentation and my response to it. It is about using visuals and the multimodal classroom, back in 2008.

“The End of the Essay” are the rest of my notes on Norbert Elliot’s talk.

MLA: “New Media, New Pedagogies”
1. “Steampunk Online: Game Design as Narrative Pedagogy” by Jay Clayton @ Vanderbilt U
2. “Technologies That Describe: Data Visualization and Contemporary Fiction” by Heather Houser @ UTexas-Austin
3. “Better Looking, Close Reading: How Online Fiction Builds Literary-Critical Skills” by John David Zuern @ U of Hawai’i-M’noa

PCA: “Rhetorics of New Media roster” is notes on a panel I was going to attend. I don’t see any notes online, but maybe I have them in a notebook. This was in 2011.

MLA: “Literature and/as New Media” are notes from a round table of seven people. They were basically asking/answering the question: What is at stake with digital humanities for literature and the other arts?

MLA: “New Media and Blogging” is my comment on the irony of MLA being open/encouraging to bloggers and sticking them in the back of the room.

SCMLA: “Social Media and Effective Communication” has the notes from “Civic Blogs, Emails, Tweets: Re-examining 21st C Effective Communication” by Heidi Huse @ U of Tennessee-Martin

“Good writing must be the quintessential 21st-century skill” (NCTE).

Computers & Writing: “Writing in the Era of Digital Reproduction” are my notes from the keynote speech by Bill Cope from UI.

Computers & Writing: “Teaching Tech When Instructors are the Novices”

“Easy Tech for British Literature”
is a “handout” for my conference presentation on the topic.

CCCC: “Confronting Digital Literacy Myths in Theory and Practice” covers the talks in that session.
1. “The Digital Literacy Debate: From Technological Determinism to Student Agency” by Don Jones @ U of Hartford (CN)
2. “Myths of Decline and Ignorance: Engaging Writing Pedagogy and Popular Views of Digital Literacy” by Kelly Bradbury @ College of Staten Island (NY)
3. “The Pedagogy of the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives: Literacy Sponsorship in Action” by Michael Harker @ Georgia State U and Kate Comer @ Barry U (Miami Shores, FL)

PCA: “Genre Analysis of Facebook” is on “Perceived Interactivity and Genre: A Genre Analysis of the Facebook Interface” by Katie Retzinger @ Old Dominion U

CCTE: “The Once and Future World of Textbook Publishing- eBooks”

MLA: “Professoriat on the Social Web”

MLA: “EBooks as Bibliographic Objects- Enkindling”

Computers & Writing: Second Panel
1. “The Tyranny of the Virtual World” by Lynn Jettspace @ Purdue/U Indiana
2. “Confessions of a Blogagogue” by Marcy Leasum Orwig @ Iowa SU
3. “Beyond the Margin of Student Papers” by Jennifer O’Malley @ Florida SU

Computers & Writing: “Blogs 2: Writing on a Continuum”

CCTE: “The Pen and the Byte Offer Different Benefits”


Defining Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on March 27, 2014

For reading in the rhetoric of new media (among other things), I needed to come up with my definition of rhetoric. My major field in my PhD is in rhetoric, so you might think this is easy. However, it wasn’t for me.

What I eventually settled on is from John Clifford: “the power to make meaning and interpret experience.”