English 570 Course Description

In English 570 (“Strategies in Composition”), students will examines strategies in composition for community engagement, especially with respect to the ways writing might help bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between universities and the communities in which they are situated (the “town”/”gown” dichotomy). Together, we will consider questions like the following: How have everyday people used writing to make a difference in their local communities? How do/can ordinary people “go public”? How do/can college students go public, and how can educators best support them? We will cover issues in community literacy studies, featuring historical examples of ordinary people garnering rhetorical agency across local publics and contemporary examples of civic engagement both within and beyond the college writing classroom. Continue reading

Writing Democracy across East Texas

Proposal: Anthology, Texas A&M University-Commerce Press:

WRITING DEMOCRACY IN EAST TEXAS: A History of Civic Engagement at Texas A&M University-Commerce (1889-1975)

The proposed anthology commemorates two major milestones in the history of Texas A&M-Commerce, both of which will occur in 2014.

  • 125 years ago, William L. Mayo established a teacher’s college to provide the region’s largely poor farmers and their families with access to higher education, “regardless of previous academic preparation or ability to pay” (Mayo College Catalog, 1896);
  • 50 years ago, this same campus became one of the last two public colleges in Texas to remove “White” as a primary criterion for admission.

The proposed collection will feature creative and scholarly work, alongside archival materials, that illustrate our university’s historical relationship with the surrounding community. Established in 1889 in direct response to community need, A&M-C’s 125-year history of providing local citizens with rhetorical training for civic engagement (Gold 2005, 2009; Carter 2012; Carter and Conrad 2012; Carter and Dent 2013) make it an ideal site for larger questions about a university’s responsibility to the community and a community’s potential influence on the university. To this end, the proposed anthology addresses a range of questions Continue reading

English 333: Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I. Introduction

English 333 blog [home]

Syllabus [blog]

Introductory Video [vid]

II. Writers and Their Tools

Presentation [ppt]

II. Homework for Thursday, 1/16 (see syllabus, page 7)

Be ready to discuss the following in class 

Everything is a Remix [Part I]

Melissa Niven’s “Literacy Narrative” (student example)

Review the syllabus and (if you wish) introductory video and lecture above

TA Orientation, January 10, 2014

“Writers and Their Tools” [handout: docx] [powerpoint] (Use any way you wish!)

additional: (English 333, video / blog)

WRITING WITH CLAY [images, vid]

Description: From cave paintings to clay tablets and typewriters to new media, technological advances are constantly changing the way writers write. The purpose of this workshop is to help our writing students think more strategically about the “affordances” (Cynthia Selfe) of various technologies in order to choose the most appropriate one for the job.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will explore various roles played by a writer’s tools by experimenting with materials rarely associated with writers and readers in academic contexts: clay. We’ll begin with a brief discussion of the important ways new technologies have affected the way writers write throughout time. How did writers approach a writing task when the only tools available were clay tablets? How about later as paper became more cheaply and widely available? How did the invention of the typewriter change things–not to mention the pencil, ballpoint pins, correction tape, White Out? Together we will experiment with a variety rhetorical situations and a range of likely unfamiliar tools (clay!), then discuss their impact on the resulting composition and the composing process itself. In addition to experiencing this classroom activity, participants with come away from the workshop with teaching notes for this activity, including a sample handout for students.

Goals: The workshop brings into relief several other aspects of the writing process that writers normally take for granted. As they go about their assignment, students should consider these issues:

  • How writing—whether on clay or on computers—forces them to deal with technology at the same time they are trying to get the writing done;
  • How technology affects the content of writing as well as the writing process;
  • How the type of writing they are doing influences the technology they are using
  • And finally, how the technology affects the way that they read a document or text.