2. Our students write papers for one-time
consumption and are even penalized for re-
using work as an act of plagiarism. When
they submit a paper for a grade, they
essentially can’t think of it again (except for
revision in portfolio-based classes).
4. I propose an “ecological” approach to
writing classes that encourages re-use of
ideas and recycling of papers as the primary
goal of writing—the value of student work
is determined by how well/much/often it is
re-consumed by others.
6. The push for open access in academic journals has
not yet resonated in the classroom. However, calls
for more ﬂexible, more situationally dependent,
and more creative assignments—combined with
experiments in open-access courses like MOOCs
—place more emphasis on the purposes and
potential re-use of texts created in class.
8. We know learning (and teaching!) doesn’t happen
like this, but the image exempliﬁes the issue of
Jean-Marc Côté created this picture postcard around
1900, as marketing material for a company that went
out of business before the cards were mass-
produced. As a result, he had a nonexistent audience.
10. Isaac Asimov ultimately gained possession of the full
set of 50 postcards and wrote a book about them,
providing historical context for modern audiences.
Without the re-use, these cards could have been lost.
Chris Anson used the postcard about futuristic
learning in his 2013 Chair’s Address at the Conference
on College Composition and Communication, giving
the original image even more purpose.
Why do we not hold the same goals for students?
12. Before coming to the university, students spend
13 years learning how to write to their teachers.
If we re-conceive the goal of writing as purposeful
re-use, students must consider how to negotiate
the needs of their unfamiliar audiences. Writing
would become a purpose-driven act, rather than a
set expectation to achieve.
14. One Chapman University student was asked to
write an “open letter” for his English 208 course.
He wrote about an NHL lockout, making an
argument for why the commissioner of the sport
should work to remedy the situation. The letter
was posted to a blog he made for the class.
16. A reporter for Yahoo! Sports found the
letter, re-blogged it on the Yahoo! Sports
page, and made the student’s blog popular
overnight…essentially “going viral”.
This practical re-use was only possible
because the work was visible publicly, by the
intended audience and other stakeholders.
18. At the risk of over-extending my metaphor into
inappropriate territory, we should view our
assignment as fertilizer for the ideas our
students have in class discussion, giving those
ideas direction, energy, and purpose.
We must also allow student work to air out, be
seen outside the classroom, potentially
inﬂuencing others and reﬂecting the real
potential of writing: change.
19. Thank You
Texts & Technology
Transcript as Blog Post
20. Visual Gratitude
• Blades of grass courtesy Apple
• Door handle from adrazahl on Flickr
• Côté postcard from Wikimedia Commons
• Theater seats from Thomas Hawk on Flickr
• Excrement from PKMousie on Flickr