1101 Strand IV: How Facebook (and Other Online Communities) Teach Us to Write, or a New Digital Literacy For me, Strand IV ties my own interests with what I believe will most benefit my composition students. The two fundamental concepts of “the impact of readily available information” and “the ethics of digital composition” seem pertinent to contemporary composition across all fields and important as students become “digital citizens” of the future. The space between physical communities and digital communities is increasingly overlapping where people are often engaging in both at the same time through mobile apps as well as digital work spaces like email systems, cloud storage, and multi-author word processing. The integration of advertisements, “click-bait,” and paid-product placement even further complicates these communities. Students will benefit from understanding the concentric and overlapping circles of private and public persona in various forums and accounts and the importance of crafting a deliberate “online presence.” It is of personal interest as I have a short history with digital spaces but a long one compared to many of my students. I’ve also created digital spaces and personas for several organizations, a political campaign, my teaching career, various academic purposes, social groups, and of course, personal expression and archive. I find the assignments in this strand engaging, especially the construction of an online community. Digitizing journals and responses will also give students a more tangible “wide audience” to write toward, or allow them to refine exactly who their audience is.
2135 Strand II: Genres in Practice I’m planning to use Strand II when I teach 2135 in the fall. I like the idea of genre in the context of community. I think it will help students to see that rhetorical situation behind genre better if they can think about why a community created a certain genre, as well as helping them understand purpose and audience. Even genre conventions may have specific reasons based on the community. Also, researching a community that the student is not a member of will expand their background knowledge in a meaningful way—hopefully building some empathy along the way. The final project that must be circulated will help students not only craft and create appropriate genres, but will also teach them important strategies for distribution of these genres. I believe these are skills that will be valuable through their college career, but will also help them stand out in the job market as well as perform well within their chosen fields. Combined with content area knowledge and skills, students will begin to be equipped to communicate their work to multiple audiences and in multiple genres (or anti-genres) in a powerful and effective way—one that takes into account the complex culture of both the communities they move in, adjacent communities, and “unreached” communities. This has been important in my own life, so I hope to impart some of the value I have gained from interacting with genres in various communities.