War of Writing: Academic vs. Digital

The world of writing has without a doubt changed – just as pretty much everything else has with the recent rise of technology. I had never been exposed to digital writing before I got to college. Now, over half of my classes involve some form of digital writing (usually in the form of a blog). As the domain of writing increases, I absolutely agree with Elizabeth Clark that so should the teaching of writing, as digital rhetoric can be just as beneficial as formal writing.

As I said before, I learned in high school to write the classic five-paragraph paper, as pretty much all other high school students learned. My high school focused very hard on developing students’ writing skills, for which I will always be grateful – I do not think I would be the writer I am today without the amazing teachers I had there. But, when I sat down for my first college English class and the professor said we would be writing mainly through a blog for the semester – I was a bit taken aback; this was not what I had worked so hard on learning to do for the past four or so years. However, I found I was easily able to apply the skills I had learned to this new style of writing, and even relished being able to project my voice free and clear without the inhibitions of academic writing.

Now, I do not think this makes academic writing any less valuable – it is simply different. I still believe there is immense worth and satisfaction in writing a 15-page research paper, as I’m currently working on now in one of my political science classes. But, there is also something to be said for the opportunities the digital world of writing gives us – to so easily share our thoughts and ideas with the world. What I’ll be interested in is how the digital sphere of writing develops with the continued advancement of technology. What I know is that writing will never become obsolete – it will always exist in the world one way or the other.

2 thoughts to “War of Writing: Academic vs. Digital”

  1. Haha, I totally felt the same way going from high school writing to college writing! Even coming in to this writing minor, I think I expected more of those fifteen page papers. It certainly has evolved considerably and I definitely felt unprepared for this type of writing coming into it, but like you said, it becomes more intuitive after a while. I wonder, are you suggesting that this type of digital writing will replace the typical essays we’ve come to know? Or will this digital writing supplement the more formal styles of writing out there? Either way, good points!

  2. I completely agree with the sentiment on this blog, and the topic you discussed – broadening your horizon past the cookie-cutter 5 paragraph essay – is one I’m exploring in detail in my ePortfolio. I’ve also found it very refreshing to explore different areas of digital rhetoric, especially given some of the advantages that digital rhetoric brings in terms of collaboration and the ability to share. It’s crazy to think that “writing” has evolved so much over such small amount of time since the invention of the internet. As you mention, it’s even crazier to imagine what writing might be in the next 10-15 years. I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out

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