Frustrated with her inability to produce adequate critique, she decided to ask other scholars for help. She assembled a list of about 20 people with a variety of technology/composition/rhetoric backgrounds. She purposely did not write only to those whose scholarship typically focuses on technology because she wanted ideas from a broader cross-section of people. She knew some on the list well, while others she’d met once or twice. She knew some had families but knew nothing personal about others. Here’s what Patty wrote:


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Hi, I'm writing to you to request a favor, and not one of those "no-brainer" ones that we often ask of each other. I'm asking you to help me—to lend your voice, your intellect, your critique—to a publication I'm working on. Here are the particulars:


Content: I've written a 5-page piece about a personal experience with a bit of upfront material. I have some ideas about how to build in theoretical commentary, but I think it would be a much better piece if there were multiple voices commenting on the personal experience. I'm looking for theoretical insights, prognostications, cautionary commentaries, and more. The piece is attached.


Length: Not that long, or longish if you're inclined. A paragraph or two to a page or two.


Venue: I'm planning to submit this piece to an online journal as a webtext. Given that, I might even want to include a picture of you (or your dog or cat) if you're willing.


Credits: Of course. You'd be listed as a collaborator or contributing author—something like that. Deadline: By mid-June I hope.



  1. I'm asking a variety of scholars to comment, not just the "usual suspects." I hope that asking a broad cross-section of people to comment will make this piece richer.
  2. If you have ideas on how I could improve the personal experience piece, I'd really like to have those too.
  3. Email me if you have questions or need clarifications.
  4. I have ideas for extending this piece so that it doesn't end with a publication that says it all (like any publication could!).

I hope I can keep it updated, get more commentary going (blog-style), and have others add their personal experiences. I'd like to see it as a starting point, rather than an end point. So, please let me know if you'd be willing to participate. I think this publication has lots of possibilities, but not without your contribution.


Peace, Patty

Patty read the responses as they came in, but not until they were all compiled, printed, and read in one sitting did she realize what a treasure trove she had collected.

Paul's response led Patty and Paul to fascinating discussions about the techno-velcro project and what shape it might take. As they talked more, the "I" of the project became a "we," and Paul became a full-fledged collaborator. In fact, it was Paul's insights that gave Patty's collection of tales a direction and the connections to composition teaching that it needed.

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