Logging On

Cheryl Ball, Editor

An unofficial theme for this issue might be Caring for Others—a necessary reminder given the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017. While teachers are told over and over again to "keep politics out of the classroom," I am proud to see so many of us taking a stand in our scholarship. Between the January issue and this August one, it becomes obvious what the field of Computers & Writing cares about: diversity, inclusion, and respect for others, which we promote through our study of communication in the world, through the methods we use in those studies, through the ways we share our research, through the people and texts we cite (although admittedly, we have only begun to be thoughtful in this area), through rhetorical listening, and through calls to action. This issue of Kairos showcases some of the many reasons why making our disciplines a more inclusive space for diversity and accessibility is an important and primary project to continuing our scholarly impact and rhetorical caring for the future.

It is appropriate that this issue starts with authors speaking from their underrepresented perspectives in the field of Computers & Writing: Recipients of the Hawisher-Selfe Caring for the Future award, given annually to first-time attendees who embody a minority at C&W, share their experiences and suggestions for increasing diversity and inclusion in this field. Janine Butler, Joseph Cirio, Victor Del Hierro, Laura Gonzales, Joy Robinson, & respondent Angela Haas draw on video footage from their Town Hall presentation at the 2017 conference to remind us that the field is better the more diverse and inclusive we become. Samuel Head's interview with Cynthia Selfe, on her scholarly legacy, which includes a focus on diversity and inclusion in our field, is a fitting sidebar to the Hawisher-Selfe Caring for the Future award winners. Gregory Zobel provides readers with an interview of Sean Zdenek, that also speaks to inclusion, as Zdenek has helped create the field of Caption Studies through his research on closed captions. Captions provide rhetorical clues to transmediated texts, and Kate Artz, Danah Hashem, and Anne Mooney follow this line of argument by providing a multimodal manifesto on the importance of transmodality. Margaret Moore points out in her video, "The Terrain Less Traveled," that being disabled and in a wheelchair doesn't mean she can't be included. She shares her experiences using a wheelchair to navigate space and to argue that a wheelchair allows for an adventurous life.

The other webtexts in this issue equally bring important, often unseen, issues in rhetorical studies to light. Madison Jones and Jacob Greene's webtext, "Augmented Vélorutionaries: Digital Rhetoric, Memorials, and Public Discourse," functions as an Ulmeric MEmorial to cyclists killed in Gainesville, Florida, as well as across the United States, resurrecting through augmented reality the ghost bikes that go missing soon after their installation as memorials to the victims of what is often a road crime. Bruce Snaddon, Andrew Morrison, and Andrea Grant Broom's webtext, "Augmented Learning Spaces for Sustainable Futures: Encounters between Design and Rhetoric in Shaping Nomadic Pedagogy," is placed within a Southern African context, as design teachers and undergraduate students travel from Cape Town to Namibia learning to engage with the location and local populations in discussions on climate change. Megan Adams also addresses issues of undergraduates' notion of place in learning through her Praxis webtext, "Affective Connections to Place: Digital Storytelling in the Classroom."

If the above webtexts and their authors speak anything to us, it is that people and places matter. We care about them. We are Rhetoricians Who Care. But it's not enough to just care. We have to move to action. And we are in times where action is necessary. The multiple attacks on and murder of People of Color, people with disabilities, people of diverse faiths (wherein Muslims have been especially targeted of late), and people whose gender identity and sexuality are their own damned business (oh wait, that's ALL of us!) should move us all to allied action. These last five years—since the murder of Trayvon Martin—should have been a wake-up call for the majority of Whites who participate in conferences like Computers & Writing and CCCC. But the (White) jury is still out on the matter. With the recent NAACP travel advisory to Missouri and the CCCC's weak response statement, which essentially said, "Sorry, not sorry: We are not moving the conference," CCCC is putting the lives of non-White, non-straight, non-cisgender, non-Christian colleagues literally on the line. And none of us should stand for that. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, CCCC's parent organization) is "putting money ahead of people," as Phill Alexander stated this past week in a discussion group, led by Samantha Blackmon, to respond to the CCCC Executive Committee. (Alexander also wrote an open letter to the CCCC Executive Committee on the matter from his perspective as an Indigenous scholar.)

I wish I could say I cannot fathom why—in the United States (the primary audience for CCCC) where digital technologies are relatively ubiquitous—CCCC didn't immediately entertain the idea of cancelling the onsite conference and moving to a virtual venue so that those affected by the travel advisory will be safe participating. (The notion of being on the ground in Missouri to affect change would have more merit if CCCC ever did anything substantial to protest.) But, of course, NCTE has a long history (that I've written about elsewhere) of not understanding how digital technology works and, worse, not recognizing that there are hundreds of members within its ranks who specialize in online communication and technological infrastructure, including past chairs and Executive Committee members, such as Joyce Locke Carter and Michael Faris who for this Kairos issue, along with Sarah Austin and Erica Stone, fixed a technical problem made during the video recording of Carter's 2016 CCCC Chair's Address and remediated the video to better enact Carter's argument. Even, in this issue, the Grand View New Media Collective revisits Laura McGrath's 2011 edited collection on Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies, underscoring that collaboration through digital technologies has long been a staple in these disciplines. In other words, there are plenty of people who attend CCCC who know how to run an online conference, even if NCTE doesn't itself. (Of course, given the number of webinars they've run over the years, my guess is they know exactly how to do it; they've just chosen so far not to.) I am not surprised by their choices so far. But I hold out hope that the Executive Committee will make the right decision to cancel the onsite conference.

You can still offer your input to the CCCC on this issue: The Executive Committee will be voting on the matter at 3pm EST Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

I debated whether to include some of the webtexts in this issue as part of my evidence for why CCCC should respond by cancelling the onsite conference, out of concern that the authors might be upset with me for attaching their names to this issue. But then I decided to hell with it. If you publish in Kairos, you must stand for inclusion. It's our mission. Every webtext here is relevant to this argument of the importance of caring for people and places (and technologies). Our scholarly communication practices necessitate working in digital media some of the time, and that's Kairos's entire reason for existence. For instance, in the main sections of Kairos, we offer two complementary texts on game design that allow readers to see deep into games-as-texts to be both played and studied. Shane Denson unearths the code of game mods in "Visualizing Digital Seriality or: All Your Mods Are Belong to Us!" to present a methodology that integrates critical code studies with digital humanities methods. And Elizabeth Fleitz, one of Kairos's Reviews section editors, presents our first review of a game, Type:Rider, designed as a video review, which we hope will be a model for others to follow and submit to the journal. (As a side note, Senior Editor Doug Eyman and I remarked in putting together this issue how video-heavy it was. We have been remarkable witnesses to the changes in technological and media usage at the journal over the last 22 years, but this issue, by far, is our largest in bandwidth and filesizes. Let's hope our server can handle it!)

Finally, in this issue, we offer a round-up of the three PraxisWiki texts that have been published since the January issue: Marcy Leasum Orwig's "Analyzing the Rhetoric and Technology of Websites Over Time with Critical Genre Awareness," J. Bret Maney's, "Using CARTO and WordPress to Build a Digital Public Writing Project," and Spencer Smith's "Digital Badges in the First-Year Composition Classroom." We particularly note the PraxisWiki pieces and the import of that section, which has been a staple of publication for the CCCC's Digital Pedagogy Poster Sessions for the last several years. It is a peer-reviewed section where short (i.e., conference-length) pedagogical work can be published instead of attending a conference, should you desire.

If you have any questions about the journal or about submitting work, you're welcome to contact Doug Eyman or myself, as well as our new Managing Editor Michael Faris at kairosrtp@gmail.com. Thank you to Stephanie Vie, who served in that role for the last 20 months, as she stepped down to become department chair at her university. She was the best copy-editor I know, and I will miss her greatly on staff.