Grigar's bio

Writing Environments

"Our increasing use of technology has changed our reading and writing practices. This townhall focuses on those changes engendered by technology. How have the multiple forms of electronic texts changed our understanding of composing? By what processes are we building these understandings into our writing instruction? Portfolios, hypertext, synchronous and asynchronous communal texts, and 'the database essay' all have a place in this discussion."
Michael Day -
Dene Grigar -
Johndan Johnson-Eilola -
Jim Kalmbach -
Becky Rickly -
Paul Taylor -

Dene Grigar – "Medium and Texts"

It is increasingly becoming impossible for an author of a print text about composition (or even literature) to avoid discussion about or implementation of computers and/or computer-mediated writing in their texts.

A couple of recent occurrences lead me to this conclusion.

First, I was recently asked to write a short discussion about composing in MOOs for a prominent writing handbook, one that has been in print for decades. The author had not originally included a section on writing for computer media in the new edition but was asked by the publisher to include it.
          Second, for the last two years I have been authoring web companions for literature textbooks. Web companions, websites that offer additional materials such as author biographies, online criticism, and additional activities to a print-based textbook, are free with the purchase of the textbook but are seen as adding "value" to the print text. Thus, more and more traditional texts are being augmented by electronic media.
          From the viewpoint of student writing this means that writing electronically for various media is becoming more and more prominent and is in a sense, expected of them. It also exposes them to kinds of electronic writing that they themselves may be interested in exploring. If they see, for example, course work delivered in a MOO as my class materials are, then they may become interested in learning the ins and outs of writing in that environment as some of my students have.
          I should say that all of my courses, including the undergraduate course, Advanced Composition and Grammar, and graduate courses, such as Feminist Rhetoric, are taught in a web-based MOO. Students learn to write into existence the tools like Notes, Webslides, MOOslides, Recorders, and Lectures and themselves and their ideas via weekly online discussions and descriptions of themselves and their objects. While BlackBoard is the tool of choice at TWU and are used for most courses on and offline, I have turned instead to MOOs because of the need for writing that this environment requires.
          Although writing more does not lead to writing well, giving students experience in various media and with different rhetorical situations challenges them to think more broadly about the purpose of writing. In many cases, just getting students to realize this truth is half the battle.
          The medium we use to teach students how to write can have great influence in the way they make sense of the texts they read and texts they themselves write.