A step towards a more natural, digital rhetoric

Before this class my interactions with digital rhetoric were fairly limited and, contrary to the natural progression Clark implies, were relatively forced. For other classes required blog posts were just that- required. They did not seem to foster a sense of community or collaboration, I regarded them as just another assignment. However, that is beginning to change now. While in some other classes, my routine interaction with other classmates does feel compulsory, that actually began to change by joining this class and more broadly, the writing minor. Because writing unites and grounds our entire class, unlike other classes where it is simply a component, engaging in more digital rhetoric feels like a natural next step to take. It doesn’t feel like a forced progression because it makes sense for us to try new modes of communication as we push forward with our writing.

Blogging was something that took me sometime to see differently in this class. As we started to delve deeper into our projects and interact more in person with our blog groups, it felt very natural and beneficial to be interacting online with my other members. Most of all, though, I think the creation and progression of our eportfolios is the most striking and impactful. These digital records and reflections are so unique and creative. As we walked around in class the other day and looked at each portfolio so far, each was bursting with a unique persona and so many were able to translate their mock-ups onto a website. I would say that this was a prime example of the advantageous ideals of empowerment and effective communication that Clark talked about. I am intrigued to see how all the video projects turn out as these are also key pieces of digital rhetoric emerging out of our work.

Another alternative version of digital rhetoric that is being frequently used by our generation is social media. It is somewhat introduced as a new form of pedagogy. While we engaged in Facebook interactions through our activity with the writing challenge, I think it will be more difficult to integrate something like social media in an academic sense. Students regard social media as a purely social mode of interaction so it seems odd to try and use it in an academic realm. Regardless, I think as future generations become more and more comfortable with digital rhetoric in their everyday lives, it will be more natural to see all different types of digital rhetoric to appear in the classroom.

Anisha Nandi

I am a Communications and SAC double major pursuing a career in broadcast journalism. I am originally form New York but love being at U of M. I enjoy playing soccer, spending time with my family and being outdoors. I have always loved writing, especially creatively.

3 thoughts to “A step towards a more natural, digital rhetoric”

  1. Anisha– I loved your first thought process about how this class makes blogging and our interactions are more natural in this class. In Comm 102 (I believe) we were forced to occasionally blog about God knows what in wordpress. I took this as write something that will give me the amount of characters needed and post it. From then though, I have realized the “forced upon” digital rhetoric process that Clark has expressed. But due to my exposure to communications studies and this writing minor, I find it less of a burden like you and more of something that is collaborative. Therefore, when you stated, “it makes sense for us to try new modes of communication as we push forward with our writing” just seems like something natural now. Which you fed off of in your following paragraphs.

    Finally, you bring up a good point about how in later generations, digital rhetoric and social media will be utilize more in daily lives that will just automatically be used within academic settings. This is definitely a weird concept, but I do believe that it will be involved in some way. One last thought I had about your blog is that if they do start using social media/digital rhetoric in the academic setting, then I feel like younger generations will be using more online reputation management because when there is academics involved, people might be more concerned about what is seen on their social media pages.

  2. Anisha,

    Your notes about digital rhetoric in class as being forced and often dreaded really resonated with me. Blogs for other classes felt like busy work, however, in this class where it is very clear that all of the students care a great deal about their writing, blogging and reading others blogs really does feel like a process that has aided me with my writing and specifically my digital writing. Further, your comment on the uniqueness of everyone’s eportfolios stuck out to me because I too was so intrigued by the different formats and styles that everyone chose because I really assumed that all would be pretty similar to mine. All of our personalities have shown through in this new medium and I am really looking forward to viewing all of the completed portfolios.

    In terms of social media and the use of social media as a form of digital rhetoric in a classroom setting, my mind immediately drifted to the writing competition that we had to enter via facebook for a homework assignment. Although it did feel strange, using a medium we generally use to post buzzfeed links and like profile pictures, there was something very cool about using such a social and informal site for academic purposes.

  3. Anisha,

    As the other two also mentioned, I completely agree with your views on blogging. In particular, in my BA class we have to do weekly posts on a site called Piazza. Quite honestly, I get nothing out of these posts. I post to get my credit and don’t look back until the next week when a new prompt is posted. Blogging in the minor in writing feels much more natural – as you pointed out. I am much more engaged and am excited about my posts and I look forward to checking for feedback. I am glad to hear others are having the same experience!

    In my English 229 class I took last semester, my teacher brought the social media component into the classroom. It was one of the last classes and he had us pull up all our accounts on our computers. We then walked around the classroom and sat in front of another student’s computer and could search through their pages. It was shocking how uncomfortable we all were knowing someone was looking through our stuff, yet this happens everyday. I wonder if we were to start using social media for academic purposes if students would still feel so uncomfortable? They would undoubtedly be more conscious of their online presence, which could be beneficial. I’m curious as to what others thoughts are!

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