From CUNY Academic Commons

Notes from CCRC meeting, Friday, February 5, 2010

Sondra Perl: Digital Storytelling

How does the project change, and how does the product change, when we think digitally?

  • Digital storytelling helps to highlight the ways in which voice counts, because you can hear the writer’s actual, spoken, voice.
  • In fact, the multiple modes (visual, musical, along with text and speech) allow for more control / require more choices. Students care a lot about the music!
  • A piece meant to be 3 minutes long is more like poetry (albeit prose-poetry) than most essays: every word counts, and therefore revision matters more, too.
  • One thing to consider is copyright for images and sound: something to discuss in the classroom.
  • The rhetoric of zoom and pan and transition (using iMovie or similar software) both constrains and enables what is possible visually; this may allow for further reflection on the rhetorical moves of prose that similarly constrain and enable how readers move through a piece. Transition becomes very visible when it becomes visual.
    • But note well: this does not happen automatically.
  • Assessment possibilities
    • As an exercise, have multiple (all?) students digitize the same text. How do different visual or musical choices change the “flavor” of the text?
    • One possibility for assessment is to encourage students to develop the criteria by which the projects will be assessed – perhaps even via youtube comments.

Note that the examples we saw took students ~3.5 – 4 weeks, including peer review and revision for the textual parts, but not for the videos – though that is possible, too.


Berkeley Center for Digital Storytelling:

“Where I’m From,” a poem by George Ella Lyon

Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy

The Jump: The Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects

Speaker Series Proposal

CUNY Composition and Rhetoric Community (CCRC)—Speaker Series Proposal

The CUNY Composition and Rhetoric Community (CCRC) would like to raise the funds to bring four speakers, one each semester, over the next four semesters, starting in Fall 2010. Each of these speakers will be luminaries in the field of composition and rhetoric. We intend to invite speakers who can provide both intellectual stimulation and practical advice, thus contributing to our ongoing CUNY-wide discussion about pedagogy and composition theory.

The CUNY Composition and Rhetoric Community is a group of over 100 composition instructors (full-time faculty, graduate students, and part-time faculty) from all CUNY campuses. We have been meeting multiple times a semester since Spring 2008. The group was formed as a way for teachers and scholars of composition and rhetoric to share ideas. While the teaching of writing happens every single day on every CUNY campus, the CCRC marks the first time that there has been an institutional way for instructors to share resources and ideas. In our meetings, we have talked about issues of writing program administration on our individual campuses and within CUNY as a whole. We have also gathered research on CUNY’s long history of writing instruction and assessment, and we have discussed contemporary research in the field of composition and rhetoric. Additionally, members of our group have presented on their current research and courses. A speaker series would help enhance the conversations and work already happening within the CCRC and provide the opportunity to contribute to a dialogue with national scholars.

A visit from a speaker would include a formal talk with a CUNY respondent. We foresee these events as being generative of crucial discussion, one that allows the CUNY composition community to learn from prominent researchers in the field and bring that knowledge back to our campuses, as well as provide an opportunity for composition graduate students from the Graduate Center to hear about the most cutting edge research. We also imagine a speaker visit including one or more informal events, such as a roundtable discussion about relevant issue for writing teachers/administrators.

Last year, Writing Across the Curriculum sponsored an extremely well-attended event at the Graduate Center at which Richard Miller from Rutgers University discussed the digital humanities. We envision a similar kind of event for our own series.

Our intention is to run this speaker series for two years; after the first year, we will assess its successes and benefits to the wider CUNY community. Our hope is that the speaker series will continue beyond the two years and become a regular bi-annual event.

Honorarium: $750-$1000
Publicity: $100
Food: $250
Travel: $500
Lodging: $250

We project that each event will cost approximately $2000. We feel that this is a small cost, particularly considering how many campuses could benefit from these speakers.

Possible speakers include: Deborah Brandt, Victor Villanueva, Bruce Horner, Min-Zhan Lu, John Trimbur, and Nedra Reynolds (see biographies below).

Deborah Brandt is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and one of the leading voices in literacy studies in the United States today. Her books include Literacy in American Lives, which won the 2003 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education, and Literacy as Involvement, which won the 1993 NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship in English.

Victor Villanueva is Regents Professor at Washington State University, where he has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professorship in Liberal Arts. He was declared the 2009 Exemplar for the Conference on College Composition and Communications and the 2008 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award. Dr. Villanueva is the winner the 1995 NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research and Scholarship in English and the Conference on English Education’s Richard A. Meade Award for Distinguished Research in English Education. Both awards were for Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color. He is the editor of NCTE’s Cross-Talk in Comp Theory: A Reader (currently in its second edition), and is the co-editor of Latino/a Discourses (2004), Language Diversity in the Classroom (2003), and Included in English Studies (2002).
Bruce Horner teaches at the University of Louisville, where he holds an appointment as Endowed Chair in Rhetoric and Composition. Much of his teaching and scholarship explores the uses of the ordinary work that is accomplished, or can be, in first-year composition courses, particularly with so-called “basic writers,” students who tend to be dismissed as “not college material.” His books include Terms of Work for Composition and Representing the “Other”: Basic Writers and the Teaching of Basic Writing (co-authored with Min-Zhan Lu).
Min-Zhan Lu is Professor of English at the University of Louisville. Her books include Writing Conventions, Shanghai Quarter: The Crossings of Four Women of China, and Representing the “Other”: Basic Writers and the Teaching of Basic Writing (co-authored with Bruce Horner). She is the recipient of the Mina P. Shaughnessy award, and the author of many highly influential articles, including “An Essay on the Work of Composition: Composing English against the Order of Fast Capitalism.”
John Trimbur is a specialist in composition and writing studies, with interests in cultural studies of literacy and the politics of language in the United States and South Africa. He has published widely on writing theory and has won a number of awards, including the Richard Braddock Award for Outstanding Article (2003) for “English Only and U.S. College Composition,” the James L. Kinneavy Award (2001) for “Agency and the Death of the Author: A Partial Defense of Modernism,” and the College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award (1993) for The Politics of Writing Instruction: Postsecondary. He has also published three textbooks The Call to Write (4th ed. 2008), Reading Culture (6th ed. 2007), and A Short Guide to Writing About Chemistry (2nd ed. 2000) and edited the collection Popular Literacy: Studies in Cultural Practices and Poetics (2001).
Nedra P. Reynolds is Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Rhode Island. She is the author of Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference and The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Writing, as well as numerous articles.