technologies and the future of writing fall 2008

Module Overview

Technologies and the Future of Writing is one of three four-week modules that make up the course Introduction to Writing Arts. The other modules are The History and Materiality of Writing (taught by Dr. Sandy Tweedie) and Issue in Writing (taught by Dr. Jennifer Courtney).

In this module we will be considering the relationships among technology, writing, and the construction of virtual spaces. The main project we will be creating will be our own online information ecologies. Bonnie A. Nardi and Vicki L. O’Day (1999) “define an information ecology to be a system of people, practices, values, and technologies in a particular local environment. In information ecologies, the spotlight is not on technology, but on human activities that are served by technology” (p. 49). Our own personal online information ecologies will be comprised of four interrelated, symbiotic spaces:

Specifics for each portion of the information ecology will be described in greater detail on a the information ecology page. Students will also write a short (1 – 2) page paper that introduces and contextualizes their information ecology.

Module Units

The module will be broken into four, one-week units:

Writing Spaces
In this section we will consider what Jay David Bolter calls writing spaces-online and in-print areas where texts are written, read, and manipulated. We will look at how new media technologies are changing the way people write, compose, and think about both. Our readings will focus on the genre of blogging. We will begin to compose collaborative educational/professional/personal blogs using free, open source blog host.

This section provides a theoretical and historical framework for the module as we will consider definitions of technology and the origins of the Internet. Readings will challenge us to rethink our perceptions of technology and the relationship between technology and literacy. Students will learn how to connect to their personal portfolios in Blackboard, and will think about how to organize their education at Rowan.

Ownership and Identities
In this section we will look at how identities are constructed in electronic spaces and how electronic spaces are forcing us to rethink questions of ownership. Readings will center on open source computing, copyright in digital environments, and identity formation in digital environments. We will learn how to use a powerful, fun open source application called Netvibes.

The Future of Writing
This last section will ask us to speculate as to where writing and composing is headed in the near and distant future. The social networking that is a primary characteristic of Web 2.0 is going to transform how we write (individually and collaboratively) as well as how we store and process vast amounts of information. We will think about the nature of tagging and folksonomies, and will look at the literacy of comics and video games. Students will continue to make robust their information ecologies.

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