What is writing?

It’s interesting to read this article toward the end of my semester in the gateway course, because it makes me reflect on how my personal writing and perceptions of writing have changed over the course of the semester. Clark quotes Andrea A. Lunsford in saying, “we need more expansive definitions of writing along with a flexible critical vocabulary and catalogue of the writing and rhetorical situations”. On one of the very first days in Writing 220 we were asked a question: “What is writing?” We all were required to bring in different examples of writing, which led to a very expansive collection of print and digital, visual and written, past and present writing. My definition was rather limited at the time, and my examples were all classic word-based texts: to-do lists, letters and recipes. I had never been faced with this question before and so never realized the number of answers it has. Writing 220 has definitely expanded my personal definition of writing and the projects have allowed me to experiment with the more visual and digital interpretations of “writing”.

Not only have the projects, especially the remediation project, developed what Clark calls “digital literacy,” but the class blog and the e-portfolio have forced me to create a persona online and digitally represent myself as a writer. While the blog may have given me more anxiety than anything else, I agree with Clark that it allows for collaboration, and I think that’s an important thing to cultivate in students. I’ve always been somewhat shy and self-conscious about my writing – probably why the blog stresses me out sometimes – but I’ve definitely become more comfortable with giving and receiving feedback and opinions from my peers, both through the blog and our in-class peer workshops. I agree with what Clark says are the benefits of an e-portfolio. She says students “look forward to sharing their work with employers in the future” and “actively seek authorship, gaining confidence and a particular authority over their own experiences”. I originally thought I would design my e-portfolio with an audience of my peers in mind, but I’m now creating it with future employers and colleagues in mind as well. I feel very proud of the work I’ve done this semester and how much I’ve developed as a writer and so I feel more comfortable creating my online identity and sharing it with the professional world.

Constant Change

As I started to read Clark’s article, I already was engaged in it because right off the bat she addressed, “almost every facet of our personal and professional lives has shifted to new uses of communicative technology. With the pervasiveness of Web 2.0 comes a shift in our cultural norms”. I sat back and tried to think about a way of life less than 10 years ago that didn’t include bringing a cellular device with you anywhere you go. Or worse– never getting the lecture notes online or prior to class. Or even worse– never stalking your other friend’s colleges experiences on social media.  This ‘ever changing landscape’ of Web 2.0 continues to shift. Although the Sweetland writing minor is a fairly new program, I bet if this minor was available 30 years earlier, they would have never have guessed that we would be creating a digital project for two of our projects. I agree that there are several benefits from what Clark mentions.

The first benefit is that it is not just one individual to work on one specific thing. With the help of online availability, we can delegate work digitally to create a faster production. However, this does have a downside. This creates a society and world that is faster. Everything MUST happen immediately due everyone having the technology to respond to emails within seconds, etc. Therefore, if you are a lazy person or technologically challenged, then you will be left behind.

One thing that I did not even consider was that more people are now allowed to be published. Clark mentioned that, “artifacts of student learning have the potential to become actual published products, or works-in-process that raise questions around the public/private split of contemporary writing”. Everything written can be considered as a new contemporary piece of writing. THIS IS SO WEIRD BUT definitely a concept to consider. Technically, I can draw a stickman figure and get paid millions for this (you never know… and I feel like weird things have been paid a high price) as a contemporary piece of work, so now this shift from an art piece to a writing piece is no different.

As a student with a major of Communications, I have been learning and engaging with all media tactics/digital rhetoric accounts/everything dealing with the media. Therefore, I know that my experience with creating digital rhetoric will only continue to benefit myself with the line of work I want to pursue. I do know that I can study and adapt to the process of how Web 2.0 is shaping our society. I do not have alternative visions of the 21st century pedagogy because I am already learning so much about digital rhetoric within this class that I am thrilled to continue to learn and pursue. At least within my school district, there were classes offered and issued to students that they must take a certain class that regarded computers/social media/powerpoint/technically applications to use, etc. I think to continue to push these classes at the start of schooling, then students can gradually learn the importance and impacts Web 2.0 have on our lives.


No hiding online

While I don’t agree with Clark on all her points, I definitely agree with her approach to teaching. At this point, I can honestly say I think most classes should be done through the internet. And I think it’s cool that Writing 220 is all done through a Google Drive, which is a step in the right direction. Let me rephrase to make sure my point is clear: I think classes should be done predominantly online, with some paper components. There is still some value to paper; at least for now.

Anyways, one of Clark’s points really stuck out to me. She says, “In my classes, I am challenging traditional notions of essayistic literacy by pushing students to make their writing public and to use digital media. In these classes, students either keep personal blogs, focused on issues related to our class theme, or they contribute to a class blog” (34). Reading this made me smile because this is something that I have always thought about. What I love most about this new digital culture and digital rhetoric is the accountability it holds writers to. Everything can be seen by anyone. Haven’t you ever wondered what your peers writing is like? Now, instead of just watching a peer turn in a paper to a teacher and wondering what they said, you can see all their writing online. (Just like this post!).

By doing this, students will revise their work more in fear that their peers will see it. Students are no longer just bound by their instructors, but rather their friends as well. If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is. As bad as it may seem, though, it is only to the writer’s benefit.

Additionally, a point that stuck out to me was Clark’s view on ePortfolios. Clark says, “ePortfolios first serve as a symbol of the move from a culture of paper information storage to digital information storage” (29). Working on my own ePortfolio, I am finding this process enjoyable. When it is all said and done, I am energized at the prospect of having my own website that can showcase all my writing and who I am as person. In a sense, it’s like a resume but better!




Writing, Is Never the Same

As I read through Clark’s argument, it’s interesting that I could actually apply them to  every steps we’ve been experienced and practiced in Writing 220. I always like to try new things, and especially like new pedagogy as a student. I felt every new pedagogy is an improvement and development from the former and the old ones, and it usually results in better performance of students.  Nowadays pedagogy are putting students in the center of the class and adding knowledge and information around them. That itself is a huge improvement and it is what a class should look like.

I think Clark understands and integrates this idea into her pedagogy, and it works well for us in the class. I agree with her that we are writing in a more collaborative way. We exchange ideas, provide suggestions, and report new information and skills that we have learned from the beginning to the end of every writing project. In this way, the range of learning is expanded by just receiving from professor and us own to additionally receiving from peers. And this is the best part I like about this writing class.

Writing always seems to be personal and private, but this class gives us the best explanation of writing to the public. Not only the audience of writing changes from self, a small group to the whole virtual world, but also the forms of interaction that we are engaging in this semester. We appreciate and help improve each other’s project in class, and then we discuss specific issue and concerns through our blog post and comment. These interaction seems trivial, but they set the base and trained us to become better writer for a larger audience, and the sharing and opening to the public are exactly the advantage of digital writing. By continuous practicing digital writing, what we focused the most is our audience and how to write according to the specific group of audience. I think it is very beneficial to learn about the audience as a writer, especially in this digital writing world where we are facing a much larger and more critical audience.

Clark also mentioned making connections between old writing and new writing. and this is the repurposing project in our class. We connect with our old writing, but rewrite it to make it better fit for the medium and audience in digital world. Old things inspire us, so does old writing. In addition, reflection is also one of our focus in this class. We learn to reflect to our writing and give comments to ourselves for future improvement.

Should I add something more into the future pedagogy, I would say extension including extension to different subjects and varied depth of writing, and connection that requires close attention to new technology and information development and connects them into writing.

The Digital Imperative

I find myself struggling to comb through many of the readings I have to do for other classes. It’s hard to stay engaged with these dry readings, especially when they do not seem current relevant to what I’m learning.

Elizabeth Clark’s article was different. Reading this article, I was proud of the digital rhetoric pedagogy we have adopted in Writing 220. As I’ve begun interviewing for internships for this summer, one community I’ve stressed as being highly important to me is that of our writing minor cohort. I think that so much of that sense of a tight-knit community has been facilitated by the digital conversations we’ve been engaging in.

I love the in-class peer review workshops as well, but what I love most is the blog. I find myself reading posts outside my blog group, even outside of our section, because they are so inspiring. These posts involve a lot of insight that I don’t necessarily think would be provoked in an in-person workshop.

In an age where many my age are more comfortable texting and emailing than speaking on the phone or in person, the experience of creating digital rhetoric comes easily and inspires creativity. I believe the benefits Clark reviews (community, collaboration, etc.) can be extended to include creativity, inspiration, and constructive-critique.