Thursday, May 28, 1998 through Sunday, May 31, 1998
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Town Hall Meetings
The Way We Will Have Become
The Future (Histories) of Computers and Writing
Overview-Introduction Node
Abstract Town Meeting concept in a nutshell 
Philosophical Grounding What were we thinking? 
Rationale for Webtext Why construct it this way? 
The Story behind the Idea "It started in the produce section . . . " 
Organizers/Moderators Who we are; how to reach us 
Computers and Writing Outreach Initiative

Two face-to-face Town Hall Meetings preceded and followed by three online Town Hall Meetings and an ongoing email discussion held in conjunction with the 1998 Computers and Writing Conference, May 28-31, 1998, Gainesville, FL. All meetings held for the computers and writing community. All meetings revolved around discussion generated by position statements provided by invited speakers addressing generative questions developed by the organizers/facilitators. After these brief statements, moderators offered a synthesis of the remarks and led an open-ended dialogue with members of the community on topics the position statements generated. Speakers extended their ideas into the discussion. The community shaped the dialogue with their insights into the topics. 

Back to Top

Philosophical Grounding
In Computers and the Teaching of Writing in American Higher Education, 1979 1994: A History Hawisher, LeBlanc, Moran and Selfe trace the development of the Computers and Writing community from its early days to more recent times. Besides chronicling our history, the book provides a clear vision of what our "subfield" has been, or has meant, to the larger "field" of composition studies and what computer technology has been, or has meant, to pedagogical practices and theory. 

Reading any history compels us to not only examine the past presented in the text but to question the future looming beyond. This history is no different. Implied in their work is the challenge that we should ponder the future of the community and *what we will have become* in our next history. 

This series of two face-to-face community meetings, three online meetings, and an ongoing email discussion will begin a formal discussion that will explore the future of the computers and writing community. In particular, we will examine two areas of concern raised in Hawisher, LeBlanc, Moran, and Selfe's history affecting the future growth and success of the community: the role computers play in the writing classroom *and* the effectiveness of teaching writing in a computerized classroom (282-286). 

The participants invited to each meeting include distinguished members of the community and represent the various levels of the profession: established scholars, innovative new faculty members, promising graduate students. 

What we hope to achieve with these Town Hall Meetings is a beginning dialogue about the future of computers and writing--that is, what we will have become in the future histories of our field. 

Back to Top

Rationale for Webtext
Nodal Format
Our use of a nodal format for this webtext follows the context of the Town Hall Meetings within the 1998 Computers and Writing Conference. During the two face-to-face meetings the invited participants delivered position statements, the moderators responded, members of the community present responded, the participants responded---one after another, each building on and linked to previous comments and ideas. In addition, comments were written and posted by a reporter present at both meetings, thus allowing those not present to review the conversations during both meetings and, if they chose, to participate through the addition of comments to an email discussion listserv. The end result of these collected comments is a multi-layered, multi-vocal sense of participation in these Town Hall Meetings. We have constructed the webtext associated with these two meetings to reflect this context. Links go out from and return to a central node related to each Town Hall Meeting, thus reflecting, we believe, the back-and-forth nature of developing and continuing conversations generated by these meetings. We have, however, included links at the end of each section of these nodes that will facilitate reader movement throughout the webtext without having to return to the central node for each new layer of information. 

The three pre- and post-conference online Town Hall meetings and the ongoing email discussion produced, of course, a different context, one much less linear and structured and more layered and simultaneous. Again, we have constructed the webtext associated with these meetings to reflect this context. Beginning from a central node, readers will find links to the moderator's opening and closing remarks, position statements offered by invited participants, links to the archived logs of the MOO sessions these participants moderated, and links to archived community participation in an email discussion listserv. At the end of any of these links, one level out from the central node, readers will find links to the other components of this portion of the webtext, thus facilitating their own construction of a meaningful pathway through the many collected comments and discussions generated by these online Town Hall Meetings. 

The contents of this webtext come from the 1998 Computers and Writing Conference. They are of the conference but at the same time they *are* a significant portion of the conference. Since much of the conference was online in one way or another (WWW pages, email discussion, actual participation in some sessions) we felt this webtext should mirror, as much as possible, the look and feel of these online portions. As a result, readers will see design and format similarities between this webtext and the WWW pages created for the 1998 Computers and Writing Conference. For your convenience, we have provided links to the conference WWW site from several places in this webtext. 

The contents of this webtext are those produced for/during the 1998 Computers and Writing Conference. No position statements, moderator responses, community responses, or other forms/layers/levels of participation have been added or edited --- save for this section. Readers may well find typographical errors throughout this webtext. They have been left as their original author submitted them. 

Position statements submitted by invited participants are used with their permission and always cited. Archived MOOlogs, reporter's notes, and email discussion are linked to this webtext through the courtesy of the electronic entity which holds them. Again, acknowledgement of sources is always cited. 

Back to Top

Contents Node Online Meetings Node
Town Meeting 1 Node Town Meeting 2 Node
CW 98 WWW Site at University of Florida