Archive for February, 2010


Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the process of developing pedagogical and administrative approaches for a newly created Center for Multimedia Communication Design (CMCD). Jennifer Sheppard argues that new media scholars can benefit from attention to the concepts of situated practice and communities of practice as a theoretical and practical approach to building learning spaces devoted to new media work. Both concepts relate the process of learning to the importance of immersive activity done in collaboration with others and support the idea that expertise develops through opportunities for authentic practice over time.

Chapter Summary

Amy C. Kimme Hea and Melinda Turnley make an argument in this chapter that there could be a productive tension in an interface agent if that tension was both transparent and reflexive for the user. The authors see themselves not only as users of technologies, but composers, bringing together different elements to create an artistic contrast. They also see technologies as being invested in complex, dynamic relationships among people rather than being a merely neutral tool. The authors write, “As computer compositionists, we strive to pursue active, critical engagement as users and producers of digital texts.” By understanding this, the authors create an interesting juxtaposition which combines art, cultural references, and the user’s interpretation. Below is a video of Turnley and Hea’s Interface Agent program.


Chapter Summary

New media is as much a political category as it is a critical category. In providing a framework to discuss the many forms of digital communication that developments in computer technology have made possible, this chapter prescribes an approach to these developments. The chapter offers a theoretical position that determines how readers construct themselves in relationship to forms of media they encounter. The author, Kevin Moberly, argues for a theoretical understanding of the relationship between meaning, reading, and writing that is predicated on the recognition that all media, new or otherwise, is not produced by technology, but ultimately by the labor of the people who are subjected to it.

Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the author’s process of remediating a print text for publication as a piece of new media scholarship. Robert Whipple found that there is a profound difference between the composing processes involved in creating a linear text as opposed to the production of a new media text. However, in discovering these differences, he also discovered how the new media version of his text still shares many similarities. As a writing professor, he humbly admits that he found it less difficult to teach new media than to produce it. He writes, “In remediating scholarship, we are simply—or perhaps not so simply—learning to write again, developing new media writing processes.”

Chapter Summary

From the front of the classroom, writing teachers often gaze upon plugged-in, turned-on, digitally mediated student bodies. Yet student participants in the Embodied Literacies research project at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville indicate that even when digital technologies are a visible part of their façade, literacy practices associated with those technologies may feel quite invisible to them. To encourage developing writers to reconsider themselves as reading and writing bodies mediated daily by different (sometimes competing) technologies, this chapter offers five easily adaptable applications for critically analyzing the creation and reception of new media texts. Building from reflective discovery prompts and working toward writing attached to major assignments, these activities extend the work of scholars who reflect on the relationship between the body and rhetoric and literacy-learning. The focus is on how both teachers and students might pay more attention to what is always physical about new media reading and writing, how students already? embody? digital conversations, and the playful nature of online discursive body constructions.

Stacey Pigg’s classroom applications:
1. Thinking About Physical Writing Situations
2. Medium/Message Journaling
3. Evaluating Group IM/Chat Transcripts
4. Digital Role Play on a Community Blog
5. Remediating and Revoicing a Digital Role Play Text

Chapter Summary

Although there is an ample amount of theory about new media and digital texts, especially as a way to transform composition studies, there is much to be done in new media with empirical, contextual inquiry. This makes new media look a lot like hypertext inquiry in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the point this chapter makes by comparing two prominent hypertext fictions with two recent new media texts, complemented by protocol analyses with commentary available on the DVD and online supplements. If new media is to escape the trap of hypertext?s history, its authors and researchers must develop constructive production and inquiry methods.

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, Barry Thatcher examines the differences in how cultures are first defined by the media, and then how those cultures reject those definitions in their own forms of rhetorical communication. He goes on to define the contrasts between certain forms of cultural communication, such as ascriptive and achievement-based cultures, where the community assesses an individual?s worth in varying degrees. He then relates these ideas to new media design, thereby analyzing patterns of specific website design in a way which fits the diagram of the culture which possesses it. In this way, he sees new media not as an isolated event, but an unconscious evolution created by the specific type of culture whereby it produced the media for a specific rhetorical purpose.

Chapter Summary

“Dwelling with New Media” examines the new technologies inundated within societal constructs and finds these technologies are not limited to the computer screen, but rather, shape the world in which we live. The authors, Bay and Rickert, state, “It is not enough to say that new media produce change; rather, new media transform how we see ourselves as human beings in the world.” They attempt to reconnect digital media with human creation; what qualities of this new media, as created by humans, become seen as personal? They conclude that humans co-adapt with technology, and this transforms how people see themselves in relation to the world.

Chapter Summary

This chapter offers a case study of a pilot Writing with Multimedia course offered at Stanford University in 2003. The pilot course was part of a curriculum development effort by the program in writing and rhetoric to fulfill a new university writing requirement, incorporating oral and multimedia presentation of research into a second-year writing course. The author compares and contrasts students’ orientation to new media in the classroom across the decade from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, motivated by the question, “How did yesterday’s cool uses of technology become today’s busy work?” The author argues that students, not teachers, are the early adopters now; new media is not ‘new’ to the “digital natives” of the Net Generation, but rather the water in which it swims. In this situation, it is still possible and desirable to engage students critically in their new media practices and performances, but instructors need to rethink the way they integrate new media into the curriculum so as to better leverage NetGen tendencies and proclivities.

Chapter Summary

Although there is an ample amount of theory about new media and digital texts, especially as a way to transform composition studies, there is much to be done in new media with empirical, contextual inquiry. This makes new media look a lot like hypertext inquiry in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the point this chapter makes by comparing two prominent hypertext fictions with two recent new media texts, complemented by protocol analyses with commentary available on the DVD and online supplements. If new media is to escape the trap of hypertext’s history, its authors and researchers must develop constructive production and inquiry methods.