Digital Humanities

Nathalie's Thoughts


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Olin Bjork’s “Digital Humanities and the First Year Writing Course”

Bjork’s chapter outlines how digital humanities helps to avoid the limits that the definition of a discipline creates. He argues, “composition studies is moving toward digital humanities even as it moves away from the material humanities, or that the humanities in becoming digital, have moved toward composition studies.” By outlining different projects in new media, DH and the comp classroom, Bjork shows shared values and differences to explore how digital humanities provide instructors of the first year writing classroom to guide students in a wider range of writing and those processes.

I agree with Bjork’s claims about the purpose of the first year writing classroom. It’s not a space that focuses on one form or on content, but should instead incorporate new media and various modes and forms (119). Bjork also discusses contemporary culture as part of the content of first year writing classroom, which I would argue surfaces in digital rhetoric and writing spaces that many students use on a daily basis such as blogging, audio, video work. Bjork argues that composition is moving towards the digital humanities. He outlines the parts of digital humanities; the first wave being computing information and the second area being digital media studies. Contemporary culture is part of the content of the FYC as technologies become part of what is studied instead of solely being just tools.

His work correlates to a lot of my own work as I argue we must broaden the definition of writing studies (avoiding the limits of a discipline as he claims DH can work against) to encompass work that is alphabetic, audio, visual and spatial in order to have students constantly reflecting on these creative processes.  Design needs to be a central discussion and element of writing studies especially with all the work Bjork is describing in new media. In discussing some in class work, Bjork summarizes how design of an electronic edition is computing, the next activity is rhetorical analysis and lastly the reflection on media and design choice is new media (126). For Bjork, students are learning to close read, distant read, and engage in text mining, which are all skills that will be useful to them. For Bjork, bringing qualitative and quantitative projects to the FYC would further disciplinary curricular aims (129). This pedagogy emphasizes the need to analyze cultural studies content, linguistic text analysis and lastly facilitate multimodal literacies advocated by the NCTE and WPA (129).

He explains the divide between humanities computing and new media work as the divide between English literature and composition. Most importantly he raises one of the things I value most, students need to be aware of how to become producers, not just consumers of digital culture (121). The first year writing classroom should not privilege one form, or one literacy, or one text, but instead work to incorporate many forms and medias. Digital humanities can provide more opportunity for these goals in the FYC as described in the assignments Bjork shares.

Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities by Ridolfo and Hart-Davidson is coming out in Jan. 2015, if interested in the connection between composition and digital humanities and the overview of Bjork’s chapter.

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more researching for chapter

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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Tumbling & researching for chapter

I’m thinking about digital pedagogies in class this week because of my work on wordpress with my writing group. As a group, we’re working on keeping a log of our uses of the digital as grad students and as instructors. Last week, I focused on the use of tumblr in the composition class I teach. It’s one of the digital writing spaces we use – where students blog about writing, about our readings and respond to one another by using text, photos, videos, links, etc. In “Weaning Isn’t Everything: Beyond Postformalisim in Composition,” Miles McCrimmon describes the importance of teaching students to aggregate, annotate, reflect and publish. Blogs allows for this to happen. For McCrimmon, tools such as Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc succeed to do what he advocates. He argues that we, instructors, must wean ourselves away from one-size fits all assignments (Carbone). I’m specifically interested in this idea as a way to have students navigate the large amount of information they find in digital spaces. Such a digital space, emphasizes collaboration, dialogue about writing, navigating pages and pages of information, echoing what McCrimmon describes. Charles Tryon says in Pedagogy that blogging provides a way “for students to take charge of their writing, to provide them with a sense that writing matters” (128). I see the idea of taking charge in the collaboration, audience and genre mode analysis students must do when blogging. Students have responded well to tumblr in class. Many have stated that they’ve never used it before while others have. But, part of my introducing the tool has to do with creating an awareness of digital writing, writing for a large audience and also thinking about research. Many students choose to post a unique picture or text they created, but most use tumblr as a search engine, find something they want to write about, re-post it and then write about it and how it relates to our class. This requires critical thinking and aggregating as McCrimmon says, then annotating as the student must help the class understand its relation to the conversation occurring in class, then students are required to reflect on the tumblr page and what it means to write in a digital space (reflect) and lastly they must publish the post and reflection piece. Tumblr and other digital spaces for writing allows for these thinking and writing skills to develop. Lanette Cadle writes about blogging as vital for writing instructors and students. She begins her article by stating that blogging is not a new thing. Even though, we need to recognize the importance of the blogging space in relation to building an identity. She quotes the following, which I will share because I think it summarizes the importance of digital writing as part of being aware of multipleliteracies and growing literacies:

J. Elizabeth Clark (2010) asserted that Kathleen Blake Yancey’s (2009) call for 21st literacies cannot be ignored and details how student blogs fit into what she calls “The Digital Imperative.” In this vision for the composition classroom, the blog format itself is studied as a rhetorical construct; links are used to lend source support, and most of all, students gain experience in argumentation the way it is happening now—in “an online arena” (p. 34). Clark added that student blog entries then become high stakes writing, writing that has real consequences: The instant publishing feature of blogs, however, makes blogs one of the highest stakes (although graded as low stakes) forms of writing that my students do; in a single click, they become authors with the responsibility for what they have written. They are also aware of the possibilities for revising if someone in the class challenges the reliability of something they have written. In this way, blogs may be seen as a popular form of Bakhtin’s “cultural software” that gives meaning to the act of writing and help students to develop new habits of thought about writing and its role in their lives. (p. 34)

Blogging allows for multi composition, digital writing, recognizing new literacies, audience awareness, genre awareness and the creation of an online identity. It’s important for students to learn and understand these spaces. As I think about this week’s reading, blogging and tumblr also raise the question of original work, especially when students are using the search engine on tumblr to find something to post. In Eisner’s Introduction piece, she writes, “Instead of policing student writing, teachers need to acknowledge the existence of ‘different discursive communities with different practices and activities.” They urge readers to reframe the discussion of plagiarism in universities and in the media; rather than focusing on theft and morality, teachers should encourage students to understand different genres and contexts and to use academic citation practices.” Tumblr is a space where students can understand a specific digital genre while also encouraging creativity and voice as staed in Eisner’s piece, “even first-year students often prefer to follow a formula, a formula dictated by the organization of the five-paragraph essay. Anne Berggren focuses on classroom techniques for fostering originality in novice writers; she argues that rules may build confidence in the short run, but are destructive in developing a writer’s voice.” Digital spaces and digital writing allows students to explore their use of voice, what impacts their voice, different modes of expression and creates an awareness about the   choices they make while reflecting on those choices to become stronger communicators.


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“Giving it Away” or the “Ecology of Freedom”: Review of Composition Rhetoric Open Access Journals

I love Fitzpatrick’s use of “giving it away” as a way of approaching open access. For Fitzpatrick, passing on information, or sharing it, is the ethical way of building upon scholarship. And in fact, “stealing” knowledge is not a new concern as Lessig poses. This scary idea that nothing is new and everything is kind of plagiarism reminds me of a great article by Jonathan Lethem titled “The Ecstasy of Influence.” Lethem also discusses Mickey Mouse and Disney. It also reminds me of Lessig’s talk on TED. Lethem’s piece is a remix of a bunch of other sources in order to prove a point about originality. Lessig makes the important conclusion in his talk, “openness is a commitment to a certain set of values. We need to speak of those values. The value of freedom. It’s a value of community. It’s a value of the limits in regulation. It’s a value respecting the creator.” Community becomes valued in open access works. Audience becomes larger, there are more writers, more people are engaged in the conversation. Both Fitzpatrick and Lessig describe the values we should be thinking about as scholars – “giving it away” or “building an ecology of freedom.” As Lessig argues, it’s a system of freedom that should be encouraged.  He says, “Openness is a commitment to a certain set of values. We need to speak of those values. The value of freedom. It’s a value of community. It’s a value of the limits in regulation. It’s a value respecting the creator.” 

With the internet, this all becomes more complex, but from the grad student perspective, who has known no other way of finding information without the internet, I love finding awesome online publications that are freely available to me. I’ve posted about Kairos and the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, because I genuinely am excited about going to those sites and reading all of this stuff for free! I’m not limited in any way, rather free to find and engage in the larger conversation. Kairos and DRC are  two spaces online are not the only ones that are excellent resources. I’m listing four publications that focus on composition, rhetoric, digital rhetoric and pedagogies that are all open access.

Hybrid Pedagogy –

: is not ideologically neutral;
: connects discussions of critical pedagogy, digital pedagogy, and online pedagogy;
: brings higher education and K-12 teachers into conversation with the e-learning and open education communities;
: considers our personal and professional hybridity;
: disrupts distinctions between students, teachers, and learners;
: explores the relationship between pedagogy and scholarship;
: invites its audience to participate in (and be an integral part of) the peer review process;
: and thus interrogates (and makes transparent) academic publishing practices.

The peer review process for this journal  is a collaborative one. In thinking about Fitzpatricks’ ideas about coauthorship and collaboration, Sean Michael Morris writes in regard to the collaborative peer review process, “Throughout the collaborative peer review process, the author’s own feelings about his writing are as important as the opinions of the editors. We in the process are a fellowship, all editors, all writers.” A journal like Hybrid Pedagogy values engagement and dialogue as Lessig and Fitzpatrick emphasize and we can see this through their style of peer review. As I wander the website, I’m overwhelmed by the quantity of useful information and articles available to me. In addition to the published articles, there are tweets from @hybyridped and also hashtags that are most commonly associated with the articles. The editors of this journal are a mix of professors and graduate students interested in digital rhetoric.

Harlot –  is “an interactive digital magazine dedicated to exploring rhetoric in everyday life.” What is awesome about this publication is the wide range of topics published here by a wide range of people creating a larger audience as the argument in “Hacking the Academy” states. In this journal, there are articles about mothers’ identities and the use of pintrest to recently graduated college students writing about “fill in the blank.” The one that I clicked on was a girl blogging about the female audience of beer culture. There’s an awesome article about emojis and the literacies and cultures that surround emoji icons. Pretty cool! I couldn’t completely figure out who makes up the editorial board. Whenever I clicked a name, it took me to a page, with a name and no biographical information.

Journal of Digital Humanities – “The Journal of Digital Humanities is a comprehensive, peer-reviewed, open access journal that features the best scholarship, tools, and conversations produced by the digital humanities community in the previous trimester.” From what I understand, there is no formal submission process. The editors of the journal are volunteers titled Editors at Large. These individuals volunteer, rotate roles and nominate pieces for publication. From what I understand, this can be anybody. All you have to do is register. Basically, you promise to work 1 hour a day for a week that you say you have time to work for. Once you register, you receive an email and are invited to wordpress to being the work. Kind of amazing. The writers for this journal are also diverse. I see graduate students and also scholars of the field, such as Matthew Gold.

Enculturation – “is a refereed journal devoted to contemporary theories of rhetoric, writing, and culture. We accept academic work in all media forms suitable for web-based publication, including conventional.” The editors of this publication are graduate students and professors. After reading the Journal of Digital Humanities website, I became interested in the peer review process. Enculturation is different in that it’s a blind peer reviewed journal. The editor, if he or she thinks the submission fits the journal, will pass the work along to the board. I really find the Journal of Digital Humanities‘ approach interesting, as to me, it really highlights the values Lessig and Fitzpatrick emphasize.


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Google Maps – Literature and Comp/Rhet

I’m excited to learn how to make maps this coming class.

Reading “The Spatial Turn in Literature” was an insightful piece that emphasized a collective ownership in documenting information through a GIS such as Google Maps. While reading the Intro to Spatial Turn piece, I couldn’t help but think of The Victorians’ obsession with space, whether Dickens’ is giving readers a picture of London in Bleak House or George Eliot is providing readers with a provincial landscape. In those visuals and images of, for example, the slums of London in Bleak House, we not only get street names and descriptions, but we learn a culture, we learn about the masses – we meet Jo, who is reflection of the area and all of its problems or we go into Krook’s Rag and Bottle Shop.  The appointed time                                 london_map_950

While Dickens theorizes these communities and provides his readers with different maps of London – its slum or Chesney Wold, imagine what such authors would’ve done with access to a program like Google Maps?!

This is a project of Dickens’ London – click on a part of the map, and it will lead you to some information about what you clicked.

David Copperfield Walk – this link leads you a interactive map, that provides you a walk in London that would be an overview of David Copperfield, a novel that many say is the most autobiographical of Dickens’ works.

Thinking about my current interests in writing studies, this is a cool website I found dedicated to a map of the 2014-2015 JIL  (they also have maps for the two previous years) and also Comp/Rhet programs. The map is interactive and when you further click, it will take you to the school’s website or the application on inter folio. PhD Program map and JIL.  Updates are posted to Twitter. The JIL map was created in response to a blog post, “Migrating the MLA JIL From List to Service.” I like the dialogue that was made possible in a digital space such as a blog and google maps.

Here is a screen shot of the Comp/Rhet PhD programs. If you go on the site, you’ll see the JIL as well.

rhetoricmap

I’ll come back to this post when I learn how to make a google map.

That’s all for this Sunday afternoon.


Well, now it’s Monday night . . . I was looking through the last submission of Kairos, the journal I wrote about in one of my prior posts. One of the articles was about digital pedagogies and I bumped into one about google maps, cultural narratives and theorizing space and place! It’s awesome because I do all of the above, without google maps, so now I have to figure out to use google maps in class!

Thought I had to share!  So I just copied and pasted it here. Check it out below!

Crystal N. Fodrey: Practicing Facilitas in Digital Spaces

Strategic Approach: Teaching Philosophy

Fostering the development of facilitas—Quintilian’s term for the ability to communicate effectively and ethically in any form, in any situation—is the primary tenet of my writing pedagogy. I believe that with an understanding of how to analyze, enact, and occasionally disrupt conventions of audience, purpose, and genre in particular, students can best work toward becoming autonomous writers with the agency to communicate effectively in myriad forms and effect positive changes in the communities for which they write. The goal of cultivating such rhetorical flexibility and savvy is achievable when, in my role as instructor, I also practice facilitas and have reasonable context-based expectations of my students. For example, my approach to multimodal composing in First-Year Writing (FYW) courses is usually to offer it as a student-initiated, situational practice within the framework of so much to do in so little time. Especially in a course where students are expected to learn about and conduct rhetorical analysis (many for the first time), learn library and field research methods and practice them, synthesize sources on self-chosen controversial topics, and create public arguments based on the opinions that emerge from those syntheses, it becomes difficult to scaffold multimodal composing practices into the mix (see course description for English 102).

I therefore approach that aspect of the FYW class with this baseline assumption: Most of the eighteen- to twenty-year-olds who attend The University of Arizona already communicate via digital technologies in various ways and can learn to use template-based applications with relative ease, especially if they are first given time during class to collaborate on penalty-free projects with select applications. Beyond that initial experimentation with the capabilities and functionality of new technologies, what FYW students most need to learn in our limited time is a thing or two about conventions that span across many online publishing venues and multimodal genres (such as nonlinearity and linking) and basic design principles (such as visual organization, coherence, and impact). Also essential are multiple conversations about fair use, copyright, and other ethical concerns regarding representation of self, others, and ideas that students must consider when going public with their compositions. Such an approach builds on what Stuart Selber (2004) calls the “functional literacy” of digital technology that FYW students typically bring to these classes, challenging students to develop critical and rhetorical literacies and become questioners and producers of digital texts.

However, despite my best efforts, something always gets inadequate attention within the context of a given class; more often than not, the fault lies with me for not accounting for new versions and changing functionality of the applications I choose to privilege in the always-too-short semester. In the following section, I share two somewhat successful attempts at integrating dynamic applications into multimodal FYW projects, illustrating that the development and practice of facilitas supports both the teaching and learning of twenty-first century literacies.

The Tactical Field: First-Year Writing

Example 1: Google Maps of Personally Significant Spaces

The curriculum I’ve designed to meet the FYW course objectives in a way that fits with my teaching philosophy asks students to interrogate spaces (like classrooms) and everyday spatialized practices (like learning in the context of a large public research university) through a rhetorical lens. To prepare FYW students to rhetorically analyze public spaces of personal significance (see assignment sheet), I first ask them to create Google Maps populated with personally significant physical and digital locations. Initially the maps are meant to serve the purpose of an introduction activity the first week of class. I pull up the students’ maps on the classroom computer, and they introduce themselves to their new classmates while navigating through their spaces of personal significance and the narratives they had written about each space on the map. In Spring 2013, this worked amazingly well. Students included images, directions to their favorite hangouts in their hometowns, and they got excited to show off their maps to the class on day two of the semester. Below is the example that I shared with my class in January 2013. After that class period, students then analyzed the dominant cultural ideologies present on their maps. They wrote short narrative and rhetorical analysis essays about select spaces. They added to their maps as their understanding expanded regarding how spaces non-discursively convey messages imbued with ideologies not drastically unlike those they might find in advertisements or political speeches. Through this activity, the expectation of moving between multimodal public writing and academic writing was successfully established in the early weeks of the semester.

Image

Sample Google Map (click image caption links for higher-resolution versions; right-click or control-click to open in a new tab)
I shared the same Google Map example at the beginning of the Fall 2013 semester. Of course, the link still worked because my map had already been produced. However, when my students went to create their maps for homework, the rules had changed. A new mapmaking application had replaced the one I used, and that app was in beta testing. The directions I had given my students for homework did not work. Some students were not able to create maps at all; the ones who did could not open their maps in class because the links they posted to the discussion board for homework would not open unless each individual student signed in to their Google account on the one classroom computer connected to the projector. The activity that had worked so well and had become an integral part of the class the previous semester bombed the following semester because I had not anticipated such a drastic change in the functionality of Google Maps. Instead of initiating a positive introductory experience using a familiar technology in a new way, all I managed to do was tarnish my classroom ethos at a critical point in the semester. The lesson I learned in that moment is that the incorporation of rapidly changing technologies into my writing classrooms demands that I anticipate change and adapt lessons, activities, and real-time lectures and discussions to the reality of the technologies at any given time.


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More Digital Rhetoric

I chose to research another online project that focuses on digital rhetoric. After the website I posted last week, I was interested to see what else was available out there. One of the writers for the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric website is Cheryl Ball, which led me to the online journal Kairos. Kairos is an open-access online journal that includes works that explore rhetoric, technology and pedagogies, (digital rhetoric, which is one of my interests as another form of exploring multimodal work in the classroom). Since the journal is free, it is widely read. It has over 45,000 readers monthly, which is huge! This is one of coolest parts of the digital humanities and digital work that interests me, how expansive the audience becomes. Kairos has been publishing since 1996 and everything that has been published since then, is available online for free. What I really like about the journal is that if you wish to submit and publish, your work must be multimodal. If you submit a traditional word document, Kairos will not publish it. I point this out because some times we see scholars pushing for multimodal work, yet they’re writing using strictly text! Kairos is emphasizing the need to put theory into practice. If you explore the archive, there are a variety of kinds of presentations available, which makes the journal engaging, fun and inspirational to continue to think about these kinds of presentations and expressions. For example, journal 17.3 is a website titled Crossing Battle Lines, which offers a syllabus, and a list of ArGs, which is “alternate reality games” online that offer students a place to collaborative, find clues through blogs, youtube, etc to find a conclusion. The choices students make leads to the unfolding of the game. During the game, students are required to complete certain tasks such as paraphrase. Students are made to work with different literacies such as using platforms such as Garage Band, You tube, Photo Shop, etc. In the same issue, there is a great piece titled “Writing a Translingual Scipt,” theorizes diverse linguistic choices and the negotiations involved in cross language work. Below is what the article looks like – it’s designed in a tv space, which is kind of cool. The reader is able to click the different buttons, which leads to different parts of the article, including graphs, and pictures and videos. To get a just of the webtext, I’ve included some excerpts from it. From the Introduction: “This webtext, then, argues that closed captions of television and film can be used to highlight for hearing students the complexity and rhetorical significance of language choices and textual representation. I argue that even so-called monolingual writers and speakers engage in complex language negotiation—akin to, if not commonly named, translation (see Steiner, 1975)—that is made visible through such multimodal activities. In using closed captions to distance “monolingual” language users from their own discursive resources and assumptions, this activity sought to elucidate the ways in which all language is contingent and translated.” About the use of captions: “Whose voice does the captioner mark as accented? When does one standardize speech to make it more readable, and what values and assumptions are operating in that choice? How are non-standard varieties of English and non-English languages represented when the captioner does not know the language in its original and is advised not to translate it to standard English?”

 tv

From the Conclusion:

“Overall, the results of this experiment suggest that these students may want to be flexible language negotiators in spite of being influenced by a cultural pressure towards standardization and a notion of the cultural value of standard English as a marker of education and status within and beyond the academy.”

Many of the major ideas in this web text fall under my interests about language, multi literacy work, code meshing and specifically how multimodal composition and digital rhetoric can allow students more choice and opportunity in thinking about expression.

Back to Kairos . . .

The editorial board and staff is made up of many many scholars that are from within the United States and international, again emphasizing the collaboration that is possible because of a open source like this one. There is a long list of about 20-30 people involved from different universities, although I don’t see titles, so I don’t know if some of these people are grad students, or if they are all professors. Many of the names I do recognize as leading scholars. In addition to the open access journal archive available on the site, there’s a tab called KairosCast, which offers episodes that can include chat rooms, audio chats, videos, etc. There are lots of way to participate. For example, you can record a conversation and submit it as a “chat.” This is a different kind of site than the one I posted last week about Sweetland’s Digital Collaborative. Both websites focus on similar themes and work of digital rhetoric and pedagogies. Kairos is a journal while Sweetland’s site is a resource full of different kind of publications that include “blog carnivals.” Even though the modes are different, they are  both free to those who are interested in the field, which is, I think, one of the most valuable parts of the digital humanities, which was very much emphasized in this week’s readings.

things the digital world offers us, open access, collaboration and sharing ideas.


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Digital Rhetoric Collaborative

The Sweetland’s Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC) “aims to serve the digital rhetoric/computers and writing community. The DRC offers a community online to those who are interested in digital rhetoric, computers and writing. In collaboration with the University of Michigan Press, the DRC publishes a book series, hosts blog carnivals, offers a space where instructors share resources, a space where ideas and events can be shared, reviews of popular conferences in the field and hosting a wiki that holds the histories of all that is discussed. (I chose to write about the DRC because the content of the site falls under my interests but I also really love the idea of a ‘collaborative’ – it’s something DH offers us that I think is huge for us as scholars, grad students and instructors.)

sweetland-drc-logo

This project offers collaboration. While non-digital spaces also offer collaboration, this website really makes it easy and accessible for all that are apart of the digital rhetoric community. The DRC have created a tool that allows those that are interested to share resources, publish information, work on the wiki page, etc. The web space makes it easy to communicate and share ideas quickly and conveniently in addition to being extremely convenient. The website is extremely clear in its mission – it works to offer a community resources and a space for conversation to occur. It’s also up to date, and includes post from two days ago through two years ago. The archive available is a great tool for those to look at the history of the conversation all organized in one space.

I can definitely use this in my own research – it’s actually how I can across the site a few weeks ago. I was searching some keywords for my own interests and research, and this site came up and I completely identified with what the authors, editors, board and fellows are working towards. Just tonight, I was wandering around the authors’ section and clicked on a professor’s website to find an archive of syllabi along with their philosophy, which was great to browse. The website hosts a what they call “blog carnivals” that basically there are calls for posts and comments that you can look at to trace back arguments and ideas. For instance, the DRC begin to create a wiki, but before they created it, there was a post along with emails posted about why a wiki? Which took the writers to the question, what is included in the field? In Digital Rhetoric? Basically, there’s loads of information that is completely accessible for free at the touch of a few clicks.

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The author group is made up of leading scholars in the field and doctoral students. Many of them are professors, editors of computer/rhetoric journals, etc. Cheryl E. Ball is one of the editors, who I saw this past weekend (with Katelynn) at a conference. It’s neat to see the projects she is involved in. Going back to the author group – I think because of the mix of leading scholars mixed with doctoral student along with the ability to comment, add to the wiki page, the DRC is accessible to anyone. Although, it’s audience is geared toward scholars and graduate students who are specifically interested in digital rhetoric, and also defining and creating a history of the field. It’s specificity is one of it’s strengths along with it’s archive, up to dateness, along with all of the links it offers to different faculty webpages, different articles, etc. You could spend hours, clicking links and ending up somewhere far, far away in the digital rhetoric circle online. For instance, I just clicked a link on a comment someone left, which led me to this useful site by bedfordstmartins called “Bits” ideas for teaching composition.

Weaknesses? I don’t see any weaknesses at the moment – it’s a good website with great authors and hosted by UM. I could imagine an area where they have online books available, perhaps. All in all, the site has been useful in the past few weeks that I’ve been working on my research, so check it out!
calvin-writing

I just found this while jumping around the DRC website – and felt like posting it.