Welcome to the Spring 2006 issue of Computers and Composition Online. With each new issue, the emphasis on the latest digital tools and their application to composition's signature teaching and learning environments continues, all the while stressing the need for a match between technology and pedagogy.
Our Theory into Practice section features Andrea Ascuena's and Michael Mattison's "(Re)Wiring Ourselves: The Electrical and Pedagogical Evolution of a Writing Center." Using the apt metaphor of "(re)wiring," Ascuena and Mattison discuss the specific context at Boise State that led to a reinstatement of online tutoring, reminding us all that successful technological integration is less about the technology itself than upon its contributions to student learning. Similarly, Christine Hult's and Ryan's Richlin's "The Rhetoric and Discourse of Instant Messaging" reports the results of an empirical study designed to test the hypothesis that the use of different electronic communication tools will result in differing discourse patterns among student writers. Overall, their study shows that students are quite skilled in their ability to move between media and communication genres in ways that are rhetorically effective, suggesting a need for our discipline to recognize the legitimacy of newer, but albeit less academic literacies such as IM.
Our single Virtual Classroom contribution certainly extends earlier discussions of open source from our Spring 04 issue, when we featured Laurie Taylor and Brendan Riley's "Open Source and Academia." In this case, Matt Barton and Charlie Lowe's "Databases and Collaborative Spaces for Composition" offers proprietary and open source alternatives to restrictive course management systems such as WebCT and Blackboard. In reviewing the specific application of various CMS to first-year writing, both new and experienced digital rhetoric and writing teachers will also find great value in the range of selection criteria for various tools.
The Professional Development section not only extends previous conversations about blogs but also profiles research, teaching, and discursive practice within our discipline. First, our very own Jen Almjeld provides an argument for the role of blogs on scholarly practice in "Making Blogs Produce: Using Modern Academic Storehouses and Factories." Relying on previous C&C Online webtexts that include Barclay Barrios' "The Year of the Weblog" in our Spring 03 inaugaral issue and Colby, et al.'s "A Role for Blogs in Graduate Education" in our Fall 05 issue, Almjeld contends that blogs can be as crucial to graduate student professional development as other face-to-face and virtual networking practices, ultimately helping students and faculty enter into scholarly discourse communities within rhetoric and other disciplines. Fitting in to the Discipline (or not) is just one of the subjects of Robin Murphy's "Chaos: An e-Interview with Johndan Johnson-Eilola," author of Datacloud and countless other books and award-winning articles. Through both video and text-based responses, Johndan reflects on how his teaching and scholarship impact the fields of computers and writing and technical communication, advocating better integration of new media texts into the writing curriculum and encouraging writing instructors to acknowledge and articulate their roles as teachers of design. We are extremely grateful to Johndan for sharing his time and expertise.
In addition to our Print to Screen section featuring the latest abstracts from the print Computers and Composition, including the special issue on Distance Learning (March 2006), our Reviews section assesses both recently published books and new software. This includes James Schirmer's review of the edited collection Technology and English Studies: Innovative Professional Paths (James Inman and Beth Hewett, Erlbaum, 2006); Paul Cesarini's review of the pod- and vodcasting software ProfCast; Adam Ellwanger's review of Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near (Viking 2005); and finally J.A. Rice's review of Jacqueline Rhodes' Radical Feminism, Writing, and Critical Agency: From Manifesto to Modem(SUNY Press, 2005).
As always, C&C Online doesn't happen without the hard work of all our section and journal editors, notably Richard Colby, Lanette Cadle, Robin Murphy, and Eric Stalions.