Multimodal theory and practice aligns closely with the journal I edit and the writing classes I teach. It is the intersection between editing and pedagogy that I want to discuss today – an intersection made evident to me through rhetorical genre studies.
Kairos : A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy is a digital-only, peer-reviewed journal . The audience is primarily those who teach writing with digital technology at colleges or universities but also extends to technology and literacy studies and others at SIGET. The journal, which has a 10% acceptance rate, publishes hypertextual scholarship, called “webtexts.” Webtexts are scholarly, multimedia genres that enact their argument through both form and content. The authors design their own webtexts, so every text submitted to the journal is unique. The best way to describe webtexts is to show a brief example.
This webtext uses the metaphor of curiosity cabinets to argue that students can produce innovative texts by juxtaposing already-existing texts. [Explain screencast motion.] In webtexts, form and content become inseparable—an important concept for students to learn and practice in an age when ubiquitous interaction with social media sites pervades their lives. Kairos shows that this kind of work isn’t just for students, and in fact predates students’ consumption and production of digital media texts. Every time Kairos gets a submission that uses a new technology, a new combination of modes or media, a new remix of academic and popular genres, I have to figure out how to READ the text. Going through this learning process requires me to ask: What IS scholarship in this field? In some ways, teaching undergraduates to produce this kind of work has helped me to answer that question. And it’s to that pedagogy which I turn next.
Two years ago… NWC example. Implemented rhetorical genre studies approach: -- real rhetorical situations (not academic “mutt genres,” see Wardle, 2009) -- transfer: teaching students to learn how to learn POINT: Discovered similarity between production values of students and first-time authors -- My aim in both cases is to have authors receive (at least) a revise-and-resubmittal letter. As an editor, I cannot expect Kairos authors to produce perfect (i.e., accepted for publication) work the first time around, nor as a teacher should I expect students to produce at that level when they are composing multimedia for the first time. Both are developmental authors in some ways because they are learning the conventions of scholarly multimedia for the first time. In response to this, I transformed my writing assignments to have students examine the contexts in which webtexts are produced and design their own for possible publication.
NLG, as well as many other genre studies scholars, talk about overt instruction, making processes known. I have tried to make as many of the webtextual composition processes known to students by asking them to perform a series of analyses. Scholars do this work, sometimes intuitively, every time they write an article for publication or compose a presentation for a conference. FOCUS: Values turn into peer-review criteria
Students choose criteria based on some available rubrics but also come up with their own additions. Through this process I’ve learned that: Students are constantly teaching me new things about digital media Digital media and scholarly multimedia is always changing. Kairos Ed board doesn’t have specific evaluation criteria Students use this criteria to write peer-review letters just like an editorial board would. Then they annotate those letters to explain why and how they’ve used the criteria for that particular webtext.
The peer-review criteria works well during formative design stages as well as in summative evaluations. While I don’t have time here to fully discuss the evaluation strategies for webtexts, I want to point to one brief example regarding form:content issues with this student’s script. [Describe] This is also the same kind of feedback that I or the editorial board of Kairos gives to authors who submit to the journal, many of whom are first-time submitters. Yet, when I first started doing this assignment in class, the students’ peer-review letters were as good as, if not better (in some cases), than the ed board’s. I wasn’t sure why, but after discussing the pedagogical outcomes with some editorial board colleagues, I came up with some hypotheses.
Students have different motivations for writing excellent peer-review letters than editorial board members do. But they also produced amazing digital media projects in the span of 16 weeks, in part based on the editorial feedback they received from their classmates in the peer-review letters but also because they had become knowledgable in the genres of webtexts through close analysis of the venue, audience, genres, and modes and media typical of those genres.
These projects were on par with much of what first-time Kairos authors produce—a bar-raising event for students—my grading of their work must shift to accommodate what that level of work means in the world of scholarly multimedia. I suggest we need to re-examine our teacherly expectations when working in digital media, although that is not to say that we must lower our standards. We just need to assess them in relation to appropriate genre expectations.
By combining my different academic identities as webtextual scholar, editor, and teacher, I’ve learned a great deal from my students, including how to be a better editor of Kairos. I’ve become more specific about WHAT I’m asking them to review for, which has helped them produce better reviews. As I get more specific at asking the journal reviewers and staff to perform certain genre-specific tasks, I’ve become better at teaching students to analyze those tasks in the webtext assignment as well as other assignments.
Although I know that assigning webtexts is a peculiar task that many teachers won’t be comfortable taking on, I do hope that the SIGET audience is interested enough in the topic to consider submitting to the upcoming special issue, guest-edited by a past SIGET participant. This special issue seeks to represent a range of approaches to multimodal research from various geographic regions, disciplines, and languages. You can find more information on this call at the Kairos website. Thank you.
"R&R is the New A" (SIGET VI presentation)
Revise & Resubmit is the new A An Editorial Pedagogy for Multimodal Composition Dr. Cheryl E. Ball
Theory + Publishing http://kairos.technorhetoric.net
What a “Webtext” Does http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/13.2/topoi/delagrange/index.html
Publishing + Pedagogy <ul><li>Undergraduate & graduate students write for digital media journals. </li></ul><ul><li>situated practice </li></ul><ul><li>overt instruction </li></ul><ul><li>critical framing </li></ul><ul><li>transformed practice </li></ul><ul><li>(Cope & Kalantzis, Multiliteracies , 2000) </li></ul>
Students’ Review Criteria <ul><li>creativity </li></ul><ul><li>conceptual core </li></ul><ul><li>research/credibility </li></ul><ul><li>form :: content </li></ul><ul><li>audience </li></ul><ul><li>timeliness </li></ul><ul><li>(For more on using these criteria, see Ball, forthcoming, in Technical Communication Quarterly .) </li></ul>
Form : Content Example Video script draft doesn’t take advantage of visual medium.
Students Scholars Instructions No Formal Instructions 3-day Assignment Deadline 3-4 week volunteer deadline Students’ first experience helping with a publication Rote, albeit invested, role in helping with publications Required; graded Volunteer; no repercussions
Students’ Published Webtexts In Kairos and… Computers & Composition Digital Press
Scholarly Multimedia + Learning <ul><li>Created informal peer-review instructions for Kairos editorial board </li></ul><ul><li>Rethought my pedagogy in terms of editorial work I do </li></ul><ul><li>Published special issue on undergraduate research in digital media </li></ul>
International CFW for Kairos <ul><li>Special Issue: </li></ul><ul><li>Multimodal Research </li></ul><ul><li>Within/Across/Without Borders </li></ul><ul><li>guest edited by Dr. Karen Lunsford </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal deadline: Nov. 1, 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/special.html </li></ul>