Spring 2005 - Editor's Welcome

Welcome to the Spring 2005 issue of Computers and Composition Online. Not unlike past issues, our current features address the impact of shifting multimodal literacies not only upon those who produce texts but also those who consume them. Our Theory into Practice section includes Shawn Apostel’s and Moe Folk’s “First Phase Information Literacy on a Fourth Generation Website: An Argument for a New Approach to Website Evaluation Criteria.” This particular contribution evolved in an ideal way; I first met Moe Folk at the CCCCs Research Network Forum in San Francisco, reviewing his and Shawn’s continuing work on information literacy. This piece is part of a larger, ongoing analysis of the gap between book-driven website evaluation criteria and the multimodality of current online resources, calling for new approaches.

Also part of this section is Sonya Borton’s “Self Analysis: A Call for Multimodality in Personal Narrative Composition.” With design work by our very own Richard Colby, Sonya’s written, audio and video commentary on the impact of multimodal literacies on her own narrative practices also addresses the implications for this genre in our undergraduate writing classrooms. Having heard Cindy Selfe share Sonya’s work as part of her College Forum talk at the NCTE in Indianapolis last November, I knew this was a compelling piece we would be fortunate to publish.

Our Virtual Classroom features are equally exciting. Michelle Comstock, Sarah Shirazi, and their partners on the Media Learning Forum chronicle their efforts to establish a community literacy project focusing on digital media and storytelling. This ongoing project has involved university faculty and writing center administrators, public school teachers, the director of Denver’s Center of Digital Storytelling, and both university and high school schools, notably university student Shirazi, who designed this site featuring a range of video and audio interviews with participants about their role in digital media literacy education. Finally, addressing the need for web sites to maintain compliance with design standards for the visually impaired, Joe Wilferth’s and Charles Hart’s "Designing in the dark: Toward Informed Technical Design for the Visually Impaired" advocates privileging of accessible content over page layout, and provides a range of processes, strategies and tools to foster such accessibility.

Meanwhile, a special feature in our Professional Development section is Richard Colby’s Interview with Kathleen Blake Yancey, director of the Roy and Marnie Pearce Center for Professional Communication at Clemson University. In this dialogue, organized into a range of sub-topics that include several audio excerpts, Kathi explores the impact of digital portfolios on the theoretical and practical relationship between process and product, as well as the reciprocal, collegial relationship between public school and college-level educators.

A long anticipated piece in our Print to Screen section is an update and expansion of Barclay Barrios' widely cited "The Year of the Blog: Weblogs in the Writing Classroom." In this new design, titled "Blogs: A Primer," Barrios provides an interactive read of both pieces, not only including a split frame option for viewing the original piece, but also modeling how new media composition allows for such updates in ways that print does not. Although Barclay's original piece appeared in the Virtual Classroom, and although a number of our Print to Screen selections serve as companion pieces to a particular C&C print article, Barclay's update, particularly its remediation and repurposing of Victorian diary writing, represents powerful visual commentary on the role of blogs as a composing space.

Consistent with our emphasis on multimodal literacies in this issue, our Reviews section includes Robin Root’s discussion of  Image, Inquiry, and Transformative Practice: Engaging Learners in Creative and Critical Inquiry through Visual Representation (ed. Lynn Sanders-Bustle) and Elizabeth Monske’s commentary on Wysocki, et al.’s Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition.

We have been extremely grateful to the computers and composition community in the past two years for its recognition of the journal as a valuable resource in teaching and learning with new media texts and in multimodal literacy contexts, as well as in communicating events and opportunities in the field, including calls for webtexts and conference announcements in our Resources section of the journal.

Equally important is the gratitude for the graduate student community in the Rhetoric and Writing doctoral program here at Bowling Green, a group of individuals who make the journal possible. As they move on to take new jobs in often warmer climates, we said goodbye this year to Christopher Harris and Amie Wolf to welcome Robin Murphy as the new Professional Development section editor and Eric Stalions as the new Reviews Editor. Along with Rebekah Shultz Colby, Cheryl Hoy, Elizabeth Monske (now an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech), and most notably the ever-creative Lanette Cadle (leaving BG for a new tenure position at Southwest Missouri State) and the ever-awesome Richard Colby, the journal continues to thrive as a result of their collective efforts.

Kris Blair