from poetry to new media rhetoric & technologies

This week has been a roller coaster of excitement and frustration. Mostly I've been excited because the first candidate for the New Media position here at ISU arrived. I got the opportunity to have coffee and lunch before the job talk. This is someone whose scholarship I admire so it was great to chat and share ideas. I was also inspired by the job talk, by hearing about theories and practices and seeing some projects from actual students in the classes he/she has taught.

I've been working hard this week trying to articulate ideas for my diss. I know these ideas will change as I write and I wonder if this is why I have such trouble nailing something down. I've been writing on post it notes in the office, hoping that trying to create connections will lead me somewhere. I was discussing some ideas with a colleague before the semester started and the idea I generated during that discussion could be a chapter that might help me get to some larger issues about teaching with technology, teaching new media and multimedia writing. The idea is that at ISU teaching with a techno-centric pedagogy, which is what I argue for, is often challenging because the building and department is what I call half-wired. Yes, we teach in computerized, networked classrooms but that is only half of the necessary componant to successful techno-centric pedagogy. Further the expectations of how and what we teach with  technology seem half-wired. Our students are only half-wired.... you see where I'm going with this. The thing is I want to try and argue that new media and multimedia writing can be taught in these half-wired environments and that maybe there's something powerful in doing so, in using both analog and digital environments instead of treating this kind of pedagogy as an either/or that people like Pam Takayoshi warn us against.

I think that's why having students write all of their assignments in the blog format as I did for my internship didn't completely work. Their work was all digital and besides co-opting their self-motivated writing and grading it, I was ignoring some of the benefits of writing analog texts. I think narratives emerge from both digital and analog texts and I'm interesting in exploring how that happens in unique and different ways digitally and I suppose in doing so I'm privileging the digital and I know there is danger in that.

My concern is that I will come off like I'm straddling the fence. And as someone invested in New Media I don't want to do that because I want to teach digital narrative, multimedia composition courses.

I started my graduate career as a poet. I find that many people drawn to tech-rhet have too. My advisor, one of the candidates and I all have a creative writing background. I wonder what it is about technologies studies that draws us in.