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From Public Pedagogy to
Critical Digital Praxis
Learning/Writing as Reflective Action
Matthew Vetter, Ph.D.
Visiting Assis...
The Arc of My Research
 Wikis and Wikipedia for teaching writing theory
 A public and interactive pedagogy for teaching ...
Wikipedia and Writing Knowledge
 Procedural knowledge – “History” pages
 Social knowledge – “Talk” pages
 Rhetorical Kn...
Rhetorical Knowledge
“I guess in some ways that’s what surprised me the most
throughout this project: the revelation that ...
Representation and Access in Wikipedia
 The free encyclopedia anyone can edit has so far been mostly
edited by Western ma...
The Gender Gap
 The Gender Gap is caused primarily by the fact that 1/10
editors are women.
 This translates into uneven...
Edit the Gender Gap
Critical Digital Praxis in Wikipedia
A Case Study
 How “critical digital praxis” became so important to me
 A 3-course collaboration and how we engaged with ...
Critical Digital Praxis
 A model for making writing interventions in public digital
cultures in order to both better unde...
About the Course
English 3060j, Women Writing in Digital Spaces
Course Theme and Design | mattvetter.net/womenandwriting
“...
Digital Humanities & Public Culture
Students become:
“generative producers and critical consumers of
cultural products” an...
Components and Process
 Proposal - details “gaps” or
omissions in coverage
 Annotated Bibliography – source
information ...
Student Work
Some examples of Wikipedia articles edited or created by students
What We Accomplished:
In numbers
A three-course collaboration, 54 students edited 61 articles and
created 12 new ones on a...
Building and Sustaining Relationships in
Digital Rhetoric/Education Spaces
The Gender Gap and Wikipedia
Epistemology
 Verifiability ensures that Wikipedia will typically represent the
dominant tex...
Academic Interventions
 Collaborations like this demonstrate how we can address
these biases.
 By working to enlarge rep...
Future Questions and Directions
 Articulating and defining a theory of critical digital praxis for
rhetoric and compositi...
Questions / Discussion
vetter@ohio.edu | mattvetter.net/iup-visit
Appendices- Extra Material
Qualitative Research Methodology
“Classroom Studies”
 Descriptive in nature
 Multi-source collection
 Surveys, reflecti...
Digital/Cultural Rhetoric
“The use of rhetorical methods for uncovering and interrogating
ideologies and cultural formatio...
Wiki Ed’s Goals
To meet the goal of representing ‘the sum of all human
knowledge,’ Wikipedia needs to grow. Wikipedia
writ...
The Politics of the Interface
We begin the task of describing some of the political and ideological boundary
lands associa...
Addressing the Gender Gap in Wikipedia
From the Assignment Sheet:
“In this project, you’re going to contribute to Wikipedi...
Assignment Motivations
 Theoretical questions:
 Why the gender gap manifests? What caused or causes the gap?
 How does ...
Community-Engaged Learning
 Civic or community engagement (Herzberg; Weisser)
 Moving beyond homogenous cultures of univ...
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
Rollins job talk
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Research Presentation prepared for Rollins College Campus Interview

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Rollins job talk

  1. 1. From Public Pedagogy to Critical Digital Praxis Learning/Writing as Reflective Action Matthew Vetter, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor of English Ohio University Zanesville Section Editor, Kairos vetter@ohio.edu Campus Visit Job Talk – Rollins College – February 25, 2016 mattvetter.net/rollins-visit
  2. 2. The Arc of My Research  Wikis and Wikipedia for teaching writing theory  A public and interactive pedagogy for teaching writing  The politics of the interface  Representation and access in Wikipedia  Edit the gender gap: critical digital praxis in Wikipedia  A case study  Future directions for critical digital praxis
  3. 3. Wikipedia and Writing Knowledge  Procedural knowledge – “History” pages  Social knowledge – “Talk” pages  Rhetorical Knowledge – “an understanding of a rhetorical, constructivist model of knowledge production and the role of personal subjectivity in that process”
  4. 4. Rhetorical Knowledge “I guess in some ways that’s what surprised me the most throughout this project: the revelation that I personally had contributed a legitimate article and added to the knowledge on Wikipedia. Also though, it did make me realize that many of the articles I had read and fully trusted over the years may have been put together by people that didn’t know what they were doing any more than I did at that moment. It was something to think about for sure.” -student process log
  5. 5. Representation and Access in Wikipedia  The free encyclopedia anyone can edit has so far been mostly edited by Western males.  Problems of representation and access prevent the community from achieving its enlightenment goal of “gathering the sum of all human knowledge.”
  6. 6. The Gender Gap  The Gender Gap is caused primarily by the fact that 1/10 editors are women.  This translates into uneven representation of articles on topics that might matter more to women readers.  But it also means that women’s perspectives are missing from all kinds of content.  We’re not building a truly multicultural encyclopedia that represents diverse views if our editorship is so homogenous.
  7. 7. Edit the Gender Gap Critical Digital Praxis in Wikipedia
  8. 8. A Case Study  How “critical digital praxis” became so important to me  A 3-course collaboration and how we engaged with Wikipedia and digital culture in general  Theoretical speculation on how Wikipedia’s epistemological practices make it susceptible to existing social hierarchies
  9. 9. Critical Digital Praxis  A model for making writing interventions in public digital cultures in order to both better understand the writing activities of those cultures and make meaningful impressions with/in them.  Freire: “reflection and action directed at the structures to be transformed”  In Wikipedia, this means tackling gaps in content and spreading awareness of systemic problems of representation  Initiate and participate in public conversations about why we need to intervene
  10. 10. About the Course English 3060j, Women Writing in Digital Spaces Course Theme and Design | mattvetter.net/womenandwriting “This course will explore the ways in which new media and digital geographies both open up new possibilities and create new challenges for women in digital spaces. “
  11. 11. Digital Humanities & Public Culture Students become: “generative producers and critical consumers of cultural products” and can learn to make “meaningful interventions in the world and lasting connections between their humanist training and public engagement” (Melanie Kill).
  12. 12. Components and Process  Proposal - details “gaps” or omissions in coverage  Annotated Bibliography – source information and source material on targeted topic  Article draft for peer review and Content Expert Review– posted in Sandbox  Final article edits – Mainspace edits  Training Modules  Explore Wikiprojects  Sandbox set up / Practice  Workshop Proposals  Research  Annotated Bibliographies due  Draft articles in Sandbox  Peer & Wiki Ed Content Expert Review  Revise and Publish
  13. 13. Student Work Some examples of Wikipedia articles edited or created by students
  14. 14. What We Accomplished: In numbers A three-course collaboration, 54 students edited 61 articles and created 12 new ones on a diversity of topics. Combined, students in these three courses made a total of 1,361 individual edits.
  15. 15. Building and Sustaining Relationships in Digital Rhetoric/Education Spaces
  16. 16. The Gender Gap and Wikipedia Epistemology  Verifiability ensures that Wikipedia will typically represent the dominant texts, sources, authorities in our culture  Those that are mainstream, published and most readily available  If we accept that we live in a culture that already marginalizes women and LGBTQ identities, we can also expect Wikipedia to reflect those social hierarchies.  Wikipedia as a mirror of existing social hierarchies  This is a systemic rather than deliberate bias.
  17. 17. Academic Interventions  Collaborations like this demonstrate how we can address these biases.  By working to enlarge representation and diversifying editorial populations,  Beginning conversations among academics, Wikipedia communities, and the general public,  And by giving students opportunities to engage in public writing projects that effect change.  This is praxis.
  18. 18. Future Questions and Directions  Articulating and defining a theory of critical digital praxis for rhetoric and composition  Locating a historical and disciplinary lineage for such a theory  Further application of critical digital praxis to other digital communities and new media interfaces  Additional study of the pedagogical benefits of praxis  Encourage emphasis on writing as action
  19. 19. Questions / Discussion vetter@ohio.edu | mattvetter.net/iup-visit
  20. 20. Appendices- Extra Material
  21. 21. Qualitative Research Methodology “Classroom Studies”  Descriptive in nature  Multi-source collection  Surveys, reflective essays, process logs, article drafts  Situated in classroom practice  Meant to follow and enrich writing practices and assignments of students
  22. 22. Digital/Cultural Rhetoric “The use of rhetorical methods for uncovering and interrogating ideologies and cultural formation in digital works” (Eyman, 2015)
  23. 23. Wiki Ed’s Goals To meet the goal of representing ‘the sum of all human knowledge,’ Wikipedia needs to grow. Wikipedia writing assignments can help…While we’ve seen great contributions to Wikipedia content tackling gaps in gender, race, and class, there’s still a lot of work to do to diversify Wikipedia. Wiki Ed is dedicated to improving and expanding Wikipedia through quality contributions that bridge content gaps. We believe student editors are a natural ally. (Salvaggio, “Introducing Wiki Ed”)
  24. 24. The Politics of the Interface We begin the task of describing some of the political and ideological boundary lands associated with computer interfaces that we—and many other teachers of composition–-now use in our classrooms. — Cynthia and Richard Selfe, 1994 Technology, like rhetoric, can both push and pull at us. Not only do 'artifacts have politics,' as Langdon Winner has claimed, they also have rhetorics. Technology pushes or manipulates us by requiring us to do certain things and in certain ways…. A technology pulls from us, or panders to us, by reconfirming and strengthening our inclinations and propensities. — Carolyn Miller, 2013
  25. 25. Addressing the Gender Gap in Wikipedia From the Assignment Sheet: “In this project, you’re going to contribute to Wikipedia by performing research on a topic related to gender, women’s studies, women’s representation, or an LGBTQ issue, identifying a need for a new article or edits to an existing article, and then contributing content to the encyclopedia based on your research.”
  26. 26. Assignment Motivations  Theoretical questions:  Why the gender gap manifests? What caused or causes the gap?  How does the gender gap influence content and representation?  Practical work  Let’s improve representation by working on content.  Let’s diversify editor base by becoming editors (at least for the course of the academic term).
  27. 27. Community-Engaged Learning  Civic or community engagement (Herzberg; Weisser)  Moving beyond homogenous cultures of university (Deans)  Increased levels of motivation and responsibility (Adler- Kassner, Crooks, and Watters; Feldman

Research Presentation prepared for Rollins College Campus Interview

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