Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students:  A Story about a Study in Three Parts Pigg, Grabill,  Hart-Davidson Michiga...
Part I: Visualizing Composition I   Bill Hart-Davidson [email_address] @billhd Michigan State University Writing in Digita...
<ul><ul><ul><li>How does the day-to-day activity of composing unfold in the social and technological scenes that constitut...
A Method: Time-Use Diaries <ul><li>A qualitative research technique that involves participants in record keeping of specif...
Melinda’s Diary
Jennifer’s Diary
When Are Diaries a Good Choice? <ul><li>When the activity to be studied is difficult to directly observe and difficult to ...
Why Diaries to Study Composing? <ul><li>Composing is distributed in time and space, unfolding over long stretches of time ...
Do I detect… <ul><li>Theoretical perspectives on writing that would make diary study methods more amenable? </li></ul><ul>...
Goals for the VizComp Study <ul><li>Prompt comparable first-person accounts of literate activity inside and outside of the...
Visualizing composing practices Prior & Shipka, 2002 <ul><li>Detailed information about locations, participants, genres, m...
Visualizing Writing Practices w/ CEM <ul><li>Detailed information about events and sequences that might otherwise be less ...
Melinda’s CEM web forms 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12 6/13 Items in orange were writing for her compositi...
Where does “Melinda’s” literate life unfold? <ul><li>Seeing Patterns Worth Asking Questions About… </li></ul><ul><li>Schoo...
2 15 3 9 Event Types Journal Essay E-mail  & IM Work UI 3 2 E-mail 1 7 9 Genres How does Melinda represent her literate li...
Journal Essay E-mail  & IM Work UI 3 2 E-mail 1 7 9 Who does Melinda coordinate with and how? friends 45 1 to 1 msu alumni...
Part II: Visualizing Composition II   Jeff Grabill [email_address] @grabill Michigan State University Writing in Digital E...
Visualizing Composition I  <ul><li>Survey (n=1366) of students enrolled in a first-year writing class during April-June of...
Visualizing Composition I  <ul><li>Purposive, stratified sample </li></ul><ul><li>An attempt to match the demographic prof...
High Level Findings <ul><li>SMS texts, emails, and lecture notes are three of the most frequently written genres </li></ul...
High Level Findings <ul><li>Institution type is related in a meaningful way to the writing experiences of participants, pa...
Frequency <ul><li>Texting </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture notes </li></ul><ul><li>Academic paper </li><...
Value <ul><li>Texting </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture Notes </li></ul><ul><li>Research Paper </...
Frequency and Value
Institution Type Matters
Cell phones: The New Pencil for Personal Life? <ul><li>Facebook is used frequently to write a broad range of genres.  </li...
Facebook ... meh <ul><li>Cell phones have become a prominent writing technology for students for self-sponsored writing. <...
Students Writing Alone .. for Personal Fulfillment <ul><li>Students are doing a great deal of personal writing. </li></ul>...
Part III: Next Steps for  Revisualizing Composition Stacey Pigg [email_address] @pidoubleg Michigan State University Writi...
Phase II Research  <ul><li>Survey results raise a number of new  questions of importance, which drive a proposed follow-up...
Research Questions 1 & 2 47% of participants rank texting in their top 5 for value. Participants also report high levels o...
Research Questions 3 and 4 Our survey shows that student writing lives are complex, but we lack information about the reso...
Data Collection <ul><li>Experience sampling methods > prompt students to record what they are writing along with technolog...
Data Analysis <ul><li>Network analysis </li></ul><ul><li>traces the networks of resources that participants assemble to wr...
Anticipated Results and Impact <ul><li>Complex network models of the writing activity of first-year college students </li>...
WIDE Writing in Digital Environments Research Center Bill Hart-Davidson [email_address] http://wide.msu.edu Thank You! Jef...
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Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students: A Story about a Study in Three Parts

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Presentation about the "Writing Lives of College Students" research study by the WIDE Research Center, Michigan State University - presenters Jeff Grabill, Stacey Pigg, and Bill Hart-Davidson.

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Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students: A Story about a Study in Three Parts

  1. 1. Mapping the Writing Lives of College Students: A Story about a Study in Three Parts Pigg, Grabill, Hart-Davidson Michigan State University Writing in Digital Environments Research Center http://wide.msu.edu
  2. 2. Part I: Visualizing Composition I Bill Hart-Davidson [email_address] @billhd Michigan State University Writing in Digital Environments Research Center http://wide.msu.edu
  3. 3. <ul><ul><ul><li>How does the day-to-day activity of composing unfold in the social and technological scenes that constitute emerging literacies? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What strategies for coordinating socio-technical resources reveal themselves to be important, particularly effective, and/or persistent literacy practices? </li></ul></ul></ul>Questions We Began With…
  4. 4. A Method: Time-Use Diaries <ul><li>A qualitative research technique that involves participants in record keeping of specific activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Used to prompt first-person accounts that are detailed and comparable in ways that benefit the researcher. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Melinda’s Diary
  6. 6. Jennifer’s Diary
  7. 7. When Are Diaries a Good Choice? <ul><li>When the activity to be studied is difficult to directly observe and difficult to recollect in sufficient detail in an interview. </li></ul><ul><li>When the researcher wants participants to attend to details that are otherwise in the background of day-to-day activity. </li></ul><ul><li>When the researcher wants detailed first-person accounts that are also comparable to one another. </li></ul><ul><li>When they aren’t the only method. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Why Diaries to Study Composing? <ul><li>Composing is distributed in time and space, unfolding over long stretches of time and in short, intense bursts. </li></ul><ul><li>Composing involves writers interacting with other people and with technologies, each having potentially important influences on process and outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>Composing can be improvisational, emerging in response to a rhetorical situation, physical and organizational setting, emotional states, etc. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Do I detect… <ul><li>Theoretical perspectives on writing that would make diary study methods more amenable? </li></ul><ul><li>Writing as Activity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Activity Theory & its variants such as CoP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actor-Network Theory (as long as the machines can keep diaries too) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distributed Cognition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Writing as Praxis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Habitus & Field in Bourdieu </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3. Narrative Theory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structuralist & Post </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Goals for the VizComp Study <ul><li>Prompt comparable first-person accounts of literate activity inside and outside of the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Generate accounts that could be compared, not only by us but by our participants as well </li></ul><ul><li>Reveal patterns in individual and group activity that were interesting, fruitful sites for further inquiry via other methods (interview, observation) </li></ul>Visualizations
  11. 11. Visualizing composing practices Prior & Shipka, 2002 <ul><li>Detailed information about locations, participants, genres, media, & technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Also: motivations, affect, & activity development over time </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to compare to other accounts due to questions about units, role/perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to see patterns worthy of further investigation? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Visualizing Writing Practices w/ CEM <ul><li>Detailed information about events and sequences that might otherwise be less obvious </li></ul><ul><li>Missing: motivations, affect </li></ul><ul><li>Data reduction techniques used for comparisons, but less data points are in play </li></ul><ul><li>Requires multiple methods of sorting to be useful as a reasoning tool? </li></ul>2/21 2/22 f2f f2f ph 2/23 2/24 2/28 3/2 proposal e-mail IM active genres Hart-Davidson, Spinuzzi, & Zachry, 2006 f2f key writing document E-mail, web forms, web editing note-taking, planning conversation
  13. 13. Melinda’s CEM web forms 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12 6/13 Items in orange were writing for her composition course. * the prewrite, write, rewrite “process” sequence * 2 Weeks of Literate Activity key writing document instant messaging reading
  14. 14. Where does “Melinda’s” literate life unfold? <ul><li>Seeing Patterns Worth Asking Questions About… </li></ul><ul><li>School writing is done at school </li></ul><ul><li>Most writing is done at home </li></ul>Work 4 /31 C C C C Play 4 /31 W R W R R School 7 /31 R W W W W R W W Home 16 /31 W W R W R W W W W W IM W R R W R W 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12
  15. 15. 2 15 3 9 Event Types Journal Essay E-mail & IM Work UI 3 2 E-mail 1 7 9 Genres How does Melinda represent her literate life? IM Reading Work-Related Writing
  16. 16. Journal Essay E-mail & IM Work UI 3 2 E-mail 1 7 9 Who does Melinda coordinate with and how? friends 45 1 to 1 msu alumni 2 peers instructor 1 2 1 time only 1 time only 1 time each many times limited interaction among workers private other workers
  17. 17. Part II: Visualizing Composition II Jeff Grabill [email_address] @grabill Michigan State University Writing in Digital Environments Research Center http://wide.msu.edu
  18. 18. Visualizing Composition I <ul><li>Survey (n=1366) of students enrolled in a first-year writing class during April-June of the Spring 2010 semester. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elon University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lansing Community College </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leeward Community College </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Michigan State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The University of North Carolina at Pembroke </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The University of Texas at El Paso </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Visualizing Composition I <ul><li>Purposive, stratified sample </li></ul><ul><li>An attempt to match the demographic profile of US college students </li></ul>
  20. 20. High Level Findings <ul><li>SMS texts, emails, and lecture notes are three of the most frequently written genres </li></ul><ul><li>SMS texts and academic writing are the most frequently valued genres </li></ul><ul><li>Some electronic genres written frequently by participants, such as writing in social networking environments, are not valued highly </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ write for personal fulfillment nearly as often as for school assignments </li></ul>
  21. 21. High Level Findings <ul><li>Institution type is related in a meaningful way to the writing experiences of participants, particularly what they write and the technologies used </li></ul><ul><li>Digital writing platforms—cell phones, Facebook, email—are frequently associated with writing done most often </li></ul><ul><li>Students mostly write alone, and writing alone is valued over writing collaboratively </li></ul>
  22. 22. Frequency <ul><li>Texting </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture notes </li></ul><ul><li>Academic paper </li></ul><ul><li>Research papers </li></ul><ul><li>Lists </li></ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Comments on status messages or posts </li></ul><ul><li>Status message updates </li></ul><ul><li>Reading notes </li></ul>We see in this list a range of traditional academic genres along with types of writing that we think of as “helpers” for larger tasks. We see as well a number of genres that are a function of networked technologies. They have a place in the writing lives of these participants.
  23. 23. Value <ul><li>Texting </li></ul><ul><li>Academic Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Lecture Notes </li></ul><ul><li>Research Paper </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Resume </li></ul><ul><li>List </li></ul><ul><li>Letter </li></ul><ul><li>Journal/Diary </li></ul><ul><li>Forms </li></ul>School-sponsored genres are valued highly by survey participants. 21% of participants ranked academic papers as their first or second most valued genre. 19% of students ranked research papers as their first or second most valued genre.
  24. 24. Frequency and Value
  25. 25. Institution Type Matters
  26. 26. Cell phones: The New Pencil for Personal Life? <ul><li>Facebook is used frequently to write a broad range of genres. </li></ul><ul><li>Students do not report valuing this writing (reasons are unclear) </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the writing students report is directly related to interpersonal messaging. </li></ul><ul><li>Participants also report using the platform for writing everything from lists to screenplays to poetry. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Facebook ... meh <ul><li>Cell phones have become a prominent writing technology for students for self-sponsored writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Students use phones most often for SMS texting, but they also use them for a range of other digital writing </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phones are also frequently used for lists </li></ul><ul><li>We have had students report using their phones to compose academic essays. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Students Writing Alone .. for Personal Fulfillment <ul><li>Students are doing a great deal of personal writing. </li></ul><ul><li>They report writing alone and for personal fulfillment quite often. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? And what is meant by personal writing? And how does this square with with all the writing they do to connect with others? </li></ul>
  29. 29. Part III: Next Steps for Revisualizing Composition Stacey Pigg [email_address] @pidoubleg Michigan State University Writing in Digital Environments Research Center http://wide.msu.edu
  30. 30. Phase II Research <ul><li>Survey results raise a number of new questions of importance, which drive a proposed follow-up study </li></ul><ul><li>Draw from rhetoric and composition’s foundations tracing practices and processes with deep case studies of student writers </li></ul><ul><li>Sample of case studies to be taken from the same population, reflecting our survey sample </li></ul>
  31. 31. Research Questions 1 & 2 47% of participants rank texting in their top 5 for value. Participants also report high levels of value for academic writing. RQ1: What forms of writing do college students value in their lives and why? 78% rank texting in their top 5 most often written genres, and 46% indicate texting is the kind of writing that they perform more than any other RQ2: Where does texting fit within the writing lives of college students--what does it do and how does it function in relation to other writing practices? 1 2
  32. 32. Research Questions 3 and 4 Our survey shows that student writing lives are complex, but we lack information about the resources they draw upon. RQ3: What resources students draw on to accomplish a range of writing tasks, how they do so, and why? Our survey shows that writing experiences differ across institution type, especially for genres associated with digital technologies, but we lack an understanding of why or how. RQ4: How do the writing experiences of our students differ across institution types? 3 4
  33. 33. Data Collection <ul><li>Experience sampling methods > prompt students to record what they are writing along with technologies, collaborators, audiences, and motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Artifact analysis > connect resources to products </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews with participants > gather student understanding of value, meaning, and additional resources used in writing </li></ul>
  34. 34. Data Analysis <ul><li>Network analysis </li></ul><ul><li>traces the networks of resources that participants assemble to write (Latour, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>addresses questions 2 and 3, focus on the role of texting, as well as the resources students draw upon </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse analysis </li></ul><ul><li>structured and systematic way of interpreting underlying discursive themes (Fairclough, 1992; Dijk, 1997; Wood & Kroger, 2000; Schiffrin, Tannen, & Hamilton, 2001; Bazerman & Prior, 2004; Gee, 2005; Johnstone, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>addresses question 1 concerning value, and question 4 concerning institution type </li></ul>
  35. 35. Anticipated Results and Impact <ul><li>Complex network models of the writing activity of first-year college students </li></ul><ul><li>A data repository for sharing research data and tools internally and publicly </li></ul><ul><li>An expanding network for continuing research on student composing practices </li></ul>
  36. 36. WIDE Writing in Digital Environments Research Center Bill Hart-Davidson [email_address] http://wide.msu.edu Thank You! Jeff Grabill [email_address] Stacey Pigg [email_address]
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