Overview of Approaches to Digital Composition


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These are my notes for an overview of approaches to digital composition, for the PWR Digital Composition Sampler on March 21, 2012.

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  • I’m going to review some common approaches to digital composition to give you a taste of the wide variety.Also mention a few PWR colleagues who are using each approachThen Michelle, Dalyn, and I will go into a bit more detail about a few of these approaches.
  • The examples we’ll share in a bit fall under the category of multimodal composition
  • Will move quickly through a few examples of the underlined activities
  • Helps students understand rhetorical principles for document design and layoutFor example: conventions of web writing like hyperlinks, categories, tags, blog post titles, navigation menus(helps students see how different conventions apply to different types of writing)
  • Google Docs is useful for MANY activitiesDiigo is also a social bookmarking tool
  • Class blogs: me, Dalyn, Nancy, Molly, Michelle, and othersWikis: me, Michelle, Nancy, Petger, Patty, and othersWeb site: Sigman asks 3040 students to build a site for a hypothetical business (using free web site builders)Forums: NathanSocial media: NancyWikipedia has a whole section on projects for college classes - editing a Wikipedia page takes good rhetorical awareness (hard to get edits to “stick” if the writing doesn’t meet certain standards)
  • My WRTG 3020 students did primary research into messages about gender and sexuality conveyed in popular culture and presented their research in this wiki
  • Students loved being able to practice blogging with other students they hadn’t met
  • Items in orange: more on these coming up!
  • PSA: mix of clips from movies, documentaries, and news stories along with facts and real stories about violence against transgender peopleAudio essay: explore how you came to understand your gender expression or identity
  • Infgoraphics becoming very popularMashups: combine digital media from multiple sources to convey a new message (combine multiple data streams)
  • Student research project on how transsexual people experience embodimentPrezi allows students to incorporate images and video clips
  • COMIC STRIP(these are just 2 pages from a longer “graphic short story” – short version of Graphic novel)
  • Small screen shot of project on the Tufts web site
  • The following slides show benefits in light of common goals for writing instructionBut in the interest of time, I’ll go over some of these benefits later instead of now, when I talk about digital storytelling
  • MY EXPERIENCE“writing as a process” is hard to teach, esp. the value of drafting, getting feedback, and revisingneed for process becomes much clearer with digital media projects (which also involve lots of traditional writing)
  • Again, the concept of enabling students to become producers, not just consumers - reflected in the NCTE goals for teaching writing and many other places- studentslearn the “inside scoop” on how media messages persuadethat’s partly why we teach essay writing: give students the inside scoop on how knowledge is composedcan’t really understand what you can’t compose
  • STORY:Students engaged in digital media composition often “discover” the rhetorical purpose of conventions like transitionsarticle by professor whose students spent 20 minutes debating the rhetorical value of a particular transition in a video project - students often have intuitive understanding of the value of transitions in video projects - when we point out what they’re doing with the video, students then say they finally “get” the point of using transitions in essays
  • “greater awareness of component parts” – for example, structural elements that help guide readersIn their research into the pedagogical benefits of digital storytelling for college students, Oppermann and Coventry (2011) found that:Being asked to communicate in the ‘new language’ of multimedia brings students a greater awareness of the component parts of traditional writing. Digital storytelling helps students develop a stronger voice and helps students more accurately and firmly place themselves in relationship to the arguments of others.
  • Support: I work closely with students on digital projects, and they often confess how little they know -every semester, I have at least one student who didn’t know she could copy text from one app and paste it into another one - most have never done anything more than check Facebook, watch videos on YouTube, send email, and look up a few things on GoogleRegardless of the digital skills they may have learned in high school, by the time they get to my class, as juniors and seniors, they’ve been thoroughly conditioned to the demands of old school print literacyMany know the basics of navigating digital environments, but not how to participate in them
  • Enables students to move from consumers of multimodal content to producers
  • students who make projects for real audiences tend to work on them long after they’re “due”
  • SOURCE:Digital Storytelling Multimedia Archivehttps://commons.georgetown.edu/projects/digitalstories/https://commons.georgetown.edu/projects/digitalstories/social-pedagogy/
  • We owe it to students to help them develop writing skills of the future, not the writing skills of the pastHow will academic writing change in the future?
  • Overview of Approaches to Digital Composition

    1. 1. APPROACHES TODIGITAL COMPOSITIONINTRODUCTION TO THE PWR DIGITAL COMPOSITIONSAMPLERAmy GoodloePWR Digital Composition CoordinatorMarch 21, 2012All rights reserved © 2012
    2. 2. Preface What follows is my introduction for the Digital Composition Sampler presentation for PWR faculty on March 21, 2012. The introduction provides an overview of approaches to digital composition, which will be followed by:  Michelle discussing audio essays  Dalyn discussing video projects  Amy discussing digital storytelling projectsNote: I’m including the “Benefits to Students” section in this version ofthe slides, even though that section was not part of the livepresentation.
    3. 3. COMMON APPROACHES • Digital literacy activities • Writing in digital environments • Multimodal composition
    4. 4. DIGITAL LITERACYACTIVITIES Discuss the changing nature of literacy Engage in rhetorical analyses of digital compositions Experiment with current and emerging technologies for research, reading, and writing
    5. 5. Rhetorical AnalysisStudy the rhetorical • Blogs, wikis, or forums on topics related to the practices of an class online discourse • Discussions on community Wikipedia pages Study rhetorical • What is the rhetorical purpose of interface principles for web design?and interface design • How do navigational elements impact readers?
    6. 6. Understanding the rhetorical purpose of blog layout
    7. 7. Experiment with Technologies of Writing Experiment with tools • Social that enhance reading, bookmarking writing, collaboration, • Google Docs and peer review • Tools to annotate web pages and PDFs Experiment with • Blogs different platforms for • Wikis web publishing • Social media • Prezi • Glogster
    8. 8. Google Docs “comment” featureDiigo highlighterand sticky notes
    9. 9. WRITING IN DIGITALENVIRONMENTS Build a blog, wiki, or web site individually, in groups, or as a class • Build a web site for a service learning partner, for a real or hypothetical business, or to showcase research • Practice writing in digital genres across multiple sections Contribute to existing blog, wiki, forum, or other digital environment • Edit or compose a new wikiHow article • Edit a Wikipedia entry • Enter a forum conversation and inspire a response • Make strategic use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
    10. 10. Sample class research wiki
    11. 11. Class blog for threesections of my WRTG3020 in Fall 2011(two campus & oneonline)Students posted a totalof 606 entries and 1044comments.
    12. 12. Molly’s class blog
    13. 13. Dalyn’s class blog
    14. 14. MULTIMODAL COMPOSITION Audio and photo essays • “This I Believe” exploratory essay • Personal narrative (audio only or with photo slideshow) Video projects • Public service announcement • Animations • Digital storytelling • Flash talks • Mini-documentary research video • Episode commentary or scene analysis • Strategic remix of digital media content
    15. 15. Sample PSASample audioessay
    16. 16. Sample animation to explore an insight inspired by research(made with Xtranormal
    17. 17. MULTIMODAL COMPOSITIONcont’d Presentations • PowerPoint or Prezi with text, images, and video Visual projects • Comic books or cartoons • Infographics • Digital posters (Glogster) • Mind maps • Mashups Re-mediation • Composing the same message in multiple modalities to study how the message changes
    18. 18. Sample research project on Prezi
    19. 19. Personal essay in comic book format (made with Comic Life)
    20. 20. Sample mind map presenting research (made withVUE)
    22. 22. Meets established goals of writinginstruction Composing processes Rhetorical knowledge Critical thinking Discourse conventionsGoals established by WPA, NCTE, CCC, and CCHE
    23. 23. Goal: Composing Processes As readers in digital environments: • Students can more easily view how ideas emerge through a process of conversation and refinement As writers: • Response from real world audiences leads to desire to revise • Digital media composition requires a multi-step process • Can’t produce a rhetorically powerful digital composition project the night before! • Requires planning, research, collaboration, problem- solving, drafting, feedback, revision
    24. 24. Goal: Rhetorical Knowledge As readers in digital environments: • Easy availability of digital environments and genres allows students to study how writers respond to real rhetorical situations and employ rhetorical strategies As writers: • Gives students opportunities to compose for real audiences and purposes, using contemporary genres and publishing platforms
    25. 25. Goal: Critical Thinking As readers in digital environments: • Allows us to study how arguments work in action: types of evidence, persuasive strategies, impact on readers, nature of dialogue and disagreement As writers: • Gain deeper insight into the rhetorical strategies and appeals used in digital formats by composing in them • As composers, students start to recognize subtle strategies for establishing credibility and persuading audiences
    26. 26. Goal: Discourse Conventions As readers in digital environments: • Reading digital texts helps to raise awareness of the role of conventions in both print and digital genres As writers: • Gives students practice at adapting conventions based on their target discourse community • Provides insight into the purpose of conventions that students often struggle with in print writing • Structural elements, such as introductions, transitions, “units” of thought, coherent progression of ideas
    27. 27. Additional BenefitsReinforces traditional writing skillsImproves digital literacy skillsValidates multimodal literaciesInspires greater student engagementPrepares students for the future of writing
    28. 28. Reinforces Traditional Writing SkillsIn their research into the pedagogical benefits of digitalstorytelling for college students, Oppermann andCoventry (2011) found that: Being asked to communicate in the ‘new language’ of multimedia brings students a greater awareness of the component parts of traditional writing. Digital storytelling helps students develop a stronger voice and helps students more accurately and firmly place themselves in relationship to the arguments of others.
    29. 29. Improves Digital Literacy SkillsToday’s college students don’t have the digital literacy skillsthey need to compete against today’s high school students • But many don’t realize it, as they’ve been told they’re “digital natives”Digital composition projects enable students to: • Identify deficiencies in their digital literacy skills • Remedy them while working on a project they find meaningful
    30. 30. Validates Multimodal LiteracyLiteracy researchers have long emphasized the value ofmultiple modalities in human communication (text, sound,visuals)• Age of print: printed text is easiest to produce and distribute (multimedia is for pros only)• Digital age: relatively easy and inexpensive to produce and distribute text, audio, images, and videoAssigning multimodal composition projects validates therhetorical power of multiple modalities
    31. 31. Improves Student EngagementComposing for real audiences and purposesinspires greater investment• Students have a genuine interest in conveying a meaningful messageRelevance of assignments spurs greater effort• Helps students see writing as having a legitimate purpose beyond “term papers”
    32. 32. Opperman and Coventry (2011) found that digitalcomposition projects allow students to: • work on authentic assignments • develop their personal and academic voice • represent knowledge to a community of learners • receive situated feedback from their peers Due to their affective involvement with this process and the novelty effect of the medium, students are more engaged than in traditional assignments.
    33. 33. Prepares Students for the Future ofWritingToday, elementary school students are producingmultimedia research projects• What kind of research projects will they expect to do in college?• What kind of projects will employers expect all college graduates to be capable of producing?What will count as “good communication skills” in thefuture?
    34. 34. For more info…For a longer version of this presentation, as wellas information on a variety of aspects of digitalcomposition, see: http://digitalwriting101.net & http://www.pwrfaculty.net/technology