WAC programs are concerned with how (and if) instructors integrate writing into their disciplinary courses. They offer seminars on adding writing to learn activities to course content (Bean). They talk about how writing functions (Britton). They talk about informal writing (Bean) such as one-minute writing and bio poems, microthemes, assessing writing, and writing and students’ engagement (Light).
WAC hasn’t talked so much about electronic communication. There are just a few texts:
Reiss, Donna, Dickie Selfe and Art Young, eds. Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 1998.
McLeod, Susan H., Eric Miraglia, Margot Soven, and Christopher Thaiss, eds. WAC for the New Millennium: Strategies for Continuing Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs. Urbana, Illinois: NCTE, 2001.
Searching The WAC Clearinghouse Bibliography, I found a few more articles:
Palmquist, Mike, et al.. “Network support for writing across the curriculum: Developing an online writing center.” Computers and Composition 12.3 (1995): 335-353.
Recent advances in computer and computer-network technologies make it possible to consider an alternative to the indirect, top-down pedagogy used in most writing-across-the-curriculum (WAC) programs (e.g., a pedagogy that views faculty as the primary audience for WAC training). Drawing on the results of a 4-year effort to establish a campus-wide, computer-supported writing environment, we suggest that computer networks and specifically designed instructional software (e.g., multimedia instructional materials and interactive writing exercises) can provide the basis for a network-supported writing-center-based WAC program. Our discussion focuses on development of network communication tools and hypermedia courseware to support WAC. (Added by Kate Kiefer on October 17, 2002 | Last Updated on October 29, 2002)
Ok, so now we’re talking. According to this abstract, Palmquist advocates ‘multimedia instructional materials and interactive writing exercises;’ however, what if students were the ones creating the multimedia materials? What if WAC advocated students’ acquisition of digital literacies? Ok, so I think I want to advocate CAC because it’s not like I want to say do away with writing on paper or that electronic writing is the only way to go. I do want to consider what happens when WAC becomes CAC and starts to emphasize and encourage not just writing, but multimodal learning and communication.
Sherman, Lawrence W.. “Postmodern Constructivist Pedagogy for Teaching and Learning Cooperatively on the Web.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 3.1 (Feb2000): 51-58.
Sherman situates WAC in a broader movement towards “Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environments.” He calls for all disciplines, particularly his own, Psychology, to adopt these online environments. He gives examples of these, including Blackboard, and one he developed for his own department. Sherman argues from a Postmodern position, saying that now more than ever students are aware of difference in their lives and in the university, and tend to distrust information from the teacher presented as fact. If it is presented as part of a forum, in which they can see ideas and conflict and join the debate, the knowledge they take away will seem “real” to them. (Added by Ben Miller on March 8, 2005 | Last Updated on March 8, 2005)
I agree with the last part about involving students in discussions in the field; however, I doubt Blackboard is the answer. D. and I were talking yesterday and I said that there were people on campus who will support instructors’ use of tools like Blackboard and WebCT; however, that’s not writing. And, she said something along the lines of…yes, but who is doing work to support different kinds of writing? Then, we wondered if there are any proffessors who are integrating technology and writing into their courses. To refine that a little more now, are there any instructors who are integrating technology into their courses other than as a means of course management, and primarily as a writing/designing/recording/filming/imaging to learn or to communicate activity?
Yes, that is what I want to find out. I know there are people in the field of Computers and Writing who are doing such things, but are any of them doing so as part of a WAC, CAC, or ECAC program?
Kiefer, Kate. “Integrating Writing Into Any Course: Starting Points.” Academic.Writing (2000).
After teachers articulate their goals for incorporating writing into courses, working backwards from the goals to specific assignments can be relatively straightforward. This article provides a process for teachers to determine goals and then devise writing assignments to fit those goals. (Added by Kate Kiefer on October 15, 2002 | Last Updated on October 29, 2002)
Reading this abstract reminds me there was a recent article on Kairos “Why Teach Digital Writing” that I need to go back and read again.
Ok, so I want to talk about the “what” and the “why” of the question, not necessarily the “how” because that will be a local question.
What are digital literacies?
Why would WAC/CAC/ECAC want to encourage?
What can WAC learn from students’ use of digital technologies?
The how question that really widen things up and that I am still attached to is: How can WAC directors reach unaffected audiences? For example, if WAC integrated multimodal/new media compositions into their WAC workshops and seminars, I suspect that doing so might increase both their effectiveness and affectiveness. Can I ask it a different way? What are students learning and communicating by the ways they are using “new media?” Are they connecting these activities to their own and others’ lived experiences?
Ok, that is enough for now. Thoughts on this mess anyone?