Spring 2012 - Editor's Welcome

In preparing the Spring 2012 issue of Computers and Composition Online with our ever talented Senior Editor Joe Erickson, I am struck by the ways in which many of these pieces so strongly connect to the composition classroom and profile a range of tools that remediate both the composing process and the writing classroom itself, questioning not only what writing is but also the spaces in which it is taught and assessed.

Our Theory into Practice section features five complementary webtexts. First, in “Gender and Games in a First-Year Writing Class,” Rebekah Shultz Colby reports the results of series of case studies with women enrolled in a World of Warcraft themed writing course to determine their gaming literacy practices and the impact of those practices on their attitudes about the course. Clearly, a game-based composition course provides alternative composing content and form, and as Cynthia Davidson addresses in "Cyborg Literacy Acquisition Through Second Life: Contesting 'Old' School Spaces with vPortfolios,” students need to develop awareness of the impact of such virtual environments on their learning process. Davidson argues for SecondLife as one space among several where students can create eportfolios that foster such awareness. Just as Davidson documents the ways in which writerly identity spans a range of virtual contexts, Bryan Lutz’ “Composing to Change Nations: Teaching New Media and the Arab Spring in First-Year Composition” bridges the gap between the academic and the political in his call to harness the power of social movements online in our own writing classrooms through blogs and other Web 2.0 tools. Virginia Tucker’s "How is a Forum Community Like a Classroom? Dramatistic Lessons from an Online Community" also makes a compelling connection between the academy and the community in the analysis of the various types of knowledge-making discourse that define the community and how such strategies can and should be implemented in our own online writing courses. The final piece I discuss in this section, Laura R. Micciche, Hannah J. Rule, and Liv Stratman’s “Multimodality, Performance, and Teacher Training,” explores the impact multimodality had on teacher identity in the context of a graduate-level course Micciche taught, Teaching College Writing. Such reflection on the part of both teachers and students is a vital part of successfully integrating technology into the college-level writing spaces.

This spring’s Virtual Classroom section includes Joe Bisz’ “Composition Games for the Classroom,” which aligns gaming strategies with various aspects of the composing process and provides a range of useful resources. Meanwhile, in “Internationalizing Campus through Rhetoric, Writing, and Multimodal Compositions,” Erin Laverick profiles the role multimodal composing played in a project designed to allow international students at the University of Findlay to have a voice in plans to make the campus more inclusive. Finally, in “Forming Assessment of Machinima Video,” Dirk Remley continues his important work with Second Life and machinima video to help teachers consider “how criteria with which they are familiar may be reconceptualized to permit assessment of multimodal products.”

Our Professional Development section includes Julie Daoud’s “Probiotics for Composition-Health? Building an Ecology of Memoir Writing and Blended Learning,” in which Daoud reflects on the successes and challenges of a semester-long study of memoir writing and the technologically-supported activities related to the course readings. Daoud concludes that teachers must be willing to contemplate the ever-changing factors that provide an optimum ecology for a learning-centered classroom, including a blended approach between online-and-face to face activities. Given Daoud’s point, it is fitting that the section concludes with a video tribute to one of the field’s founders, Gail Hawisher, as contributors from across the country discuss the ways in which her groundbreaking work has paved the ways for the successful integration of technology into the teaching of writing.

Last but not least, our Reviews section features three reviews by our very own: Katherine Fredlund’s review of the interactive slideware tool VoiceThread, Em Hurford’s review of Bradley Dilger and Jeff Rice’s award-winning collection From A to <A>: Keywords of Markup, and Estee Beck’s review of Multiliteracy Centers: Writing Center Work, New Media, and Multimodal Rhetoric, edited by David Sheridan and James Inman. Such efforts by our talented group of current and former Rhetoric and Writing doctoral students is a powerful reminder to me that the success and sustainability of both Computers and Composition Online and now Computers and Composition print is a collective effort and represents one of the significant collaborations of my career for which I am eternally grateful.

Kris Blair