technologies & the future of writing, fall ’11

Module Description

In this module (which is a 4-week sequence in the course Introduction to Writing Arts), we’ll investigate technologies and the future of writing by critically engaging in contemporary writing practices in digital environments (e.g. blogging, microblogging, creating a digital writing portfolio, and conducting online research) while grappling with relevant research in the field of rhetoric and writing studies.

Specifically, we’ll ask: how do contemporary writing technologies and practices cause us to reconsider our definition of writing as well as constructs like audience, identity, originality, authority, ownership, materiality, and collaboration? To answer this question, we’ll be conducting a study of how people are writing in popular online spaces (such as Facebook and Twitter) as well as observing how people are writing in their real life professional spaces. Our findings in this small study will inform our understanding of what it means to write and be a writer today. From there we will speculate as to where writing is heading in the future.

Complementing our readings and research, we will be introduced to three writing spaces that are becoming important to writers, readers, and teachers:

  • a collaborative professional blog using Tumblr
  • micro-blogging using Twitter
  • personal online portfolio (application used to be determined)

Specifics requirements for the study, Tumblr, and Twitter will be described in greater detail on a separate assignment page. Students will also write a final paper that analyzes the use of these spaces.

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