Digital Humanities

Nathalie's Thoughts

more researching for chapter

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As I’m interested in digital rhetoric and writing my chapter on using tumblr, I’m continuing my research in the area. Today, I read Cynthia Selfe and Gail Hawsiher’s article, “The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class.” Even though the article is dated (1991), some of the main points they raise are important to consider when writing in digital spaces, but especially s once I’m writing about the use of tumblr in a composition classroom. Selfe and Hawisher describe the positive remarks writing teachers make about using computers in the classroom – it allows for more writing, allows for more conferences online, more collaboration, more sharing, more getting to know one another (133). But Selfe and Hawisher warn teachers to also think about how computers can effect or possibly contradict our pedagogies, as emphasized in the positive notions of computers. They describe a small study they completed and concluded thoughts such as students in peer groups would be completing the task because the teacher assigned it not because they were actively engaged in it. Although, they don’t let the reader know if there were guidelines handed out for this kind of peer-review session or what kinds of assignments were happening. The more interesting part of the essay is when the authors discuss Foucault’s discussion of Bentham’s panopticon, where inmates converse over networks with one another. They apply this to computers concluding that “electronic spaces, like other spaces, are constructed within contextual and political frameworks of cultural values” (137). I found the chapter useful – I’m never really theorizing computers or Word – I suppose I don’t because I was born into this age, where I primarily did school writing on my computer, no matter where I was. But, I’m interested in electronic and digital writing spaces, as I do require students to blog (this semester it’s tumblr), and they are also required to use digication, where they post everything they write, in addition to collaborating with peers and completing peer-review in that space. It seems to me that tumblr allows for students to be as free and open as they want. At least, this is what they have expressed in their reflections on tumblr. In researching online this week, I found this wiki on Digital Writing which I actually found on tumblr. The wiki supports the book, Understanding and Creating Digital Texts: An Activity-Based Approach, by Richard Beach, Chris Anson, Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, and Thomas Reynolds that was just published this past October. The books provides, “examples for using a range of different digital tools—blogs, wikis, websites, annotations, Twitter, mapping, forum discussions, etc.—to engage students in understanding and creating digital texts. It therefore integrates reading and writing instruction through goal-driven activities supported by uses of digital tools. The wiki provides support tools for the book, for each specific chapter. This is the tumblr page for the book.I’m waiting on this book to arrive in the library to look at it in relation to the tumblr assignments I”m working on in class  now with students. So, I’ll be continuing research this week for writing the chapter. Any recommendations are welcome.

While on a tumblr page for writing pedagogies on line, I found this video that is a summary of The Shallowsb by Carr What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, which is a good conversation to have with students as we ask them to do more and more digital writing. The cat videos – to wikipedia page on pandas made me laugh.


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