Why Audio and Video?
Increasingly, classes and programs in writing require that students compose digitally. Such writing occurs both in conventional “face-to-face” classrooms and in classes and programs that are delivered at a distance. The expression composing digitally” can refer to a myriad of practices. In its simplest form, such writing can refer to a “mixed media” writing practice, the kind that occurs when students compose at a computer screen, using a word processor, so that they can submit the writing in print (Moran). Such writing may not utilize the formatting conventions such as italics and bold facing available on a word processor; alternatively, such writing often includes sophisticated formatting as well as hypertextual links. Digital composing can take many other forms as well. For example, such composing can mean participating in an online discussion through a listserv or bulletin board (Huot and Takayoshi). It can refer to creating compositions in presentation software. It can refer to participating in chat rooms or creating webpages. It can mean creating a digital portfolio with audio and video files as well as scanned print writings. Most recently, it can mean composing on a class weblog or wiki. And more generally, as composers use digital technology to create new genres, we can expect the variety of digital compositions to continue proliferating.
The focus of writing instruction is expanding: the curriculum of composition is widening to include not one but two literacies: a literacy of print and a literacy of the screen. In addition, work in one medium is used to enhance learning in the other.”
I think that last short paragraph says it all: the curriculum of composition is widening to include not one but two literacies – a literacy of print and a literacy of the screen.
Writing, as a technology, has enjoyed a number of changes over its history. From the invention of alphabets, to the printing press, to typewriters and word processors, to computers and tablets and smart phones and beyond. Our class means to investigate and practice how writing for print might be different from writing for screen. What sorts of tools are available for both kinds of writing? What are the affordances of each media? How might the literacy of print be used to enhance a literacy of the screen? These are big questions but certainly worth exploring.