WRD 201: Digital Writing
Class 1 - September 10, 2015
Dr. Lisa Dush
i. literacy, new literacies, and
Oral Rhetoric, c. 400 BCE
Dominant literacies = speaking and listening—for making
and responding to speeches
(image from Wikimedia Commons)
Post-Printing Press: 15th C. onward
Dominant literacies = reading and writing—for consuming
and composing print text
(image from de Young | Legion of Honor)
Dominant literacies = reading and writing online, taking
photos, making videos, etc.—for participating online
(image from Wikipedia)
Each era (and each culture) has
its own definition of‘literacy.’
[*also, digital literacy, technological literacy]
(image from Arola et al., Writer/designer, p. 4)
Modes: still images, moving images,
linguistic content, audio…
Media: photographs, video, print,
For our purposes, the distinction between modes and
media is not actually very important. What’s important in
discussions of multimodality (or multimedia, or new
media), is to understand that there is a wide range of new
stuﬀ from which to compose and with which to deliver
Your first task in WRD 201 is to write a“Technology
Autobiography.”The technology autobiography gives you a
chance to reflect on your relationship to and history with
technology, so that you might understand how technology
has shaped your life thus far, with an eye toward controlling
how you use it in the future.
We will begin drafting this autobiography in class today with
a series of memory-trigger prompts and some freewriting
time. For Tuesday’s class, bring a file that contains a complete
draft, plus a printout of your draft. We’ll then work to shift
your draft from text-only into a multimodal blog post.
1. List at least 5 strong memories that you remember having with digital
technologies in your childhood (in school or at home).
2. What were the popular gadgets and forms of media in your home when
you were young? What attitudes did you and various family members
have towards these gadgets and media?
3. What people have had an important influence on your attitudes about
4. What people have had an important influence on your attitudes about
5. How would you characterize your understanding of how writing and
technology are related?
6. How would you characterize your interest in learning new composing
7. Are you, or are you moving toward, becoming multiliterate? Why or why
not, and how?
While your autobiography will likely begin as a broad set of memories and
observations, you’ll want, in revision, to move toward a more specific and
focused interpretation of your relationship to technology, which answers
• How technologically“literate”are you?
• How did you come to be so?
• What are the major themes and moments in your development of
The best Technology Autobiographies make an argument of some sort,
• I’ve always been an early adopter, which has helped me adapt to new
• I developed my pragmatic approach to technology by helping my
parents, who freaked out about each new device they got.
• I loved technology and used it uncritically until Facebook, which I got
basically addicted to, an experience that made me wary of
technology’s ability to distract me from what really matters.
From Draft to Revision…