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WAC 2.0: Rethinking Writing Across the Curriculum in the Age of the Participatory Web


Al Weiss

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of WAC 2.0: Rethinking Writing Across the Curriculum in the Age of the Participatory Web

WAC 2.0:
Writing Across the Curriculum
in the
Age of the Participatory Web

Quick Write:

On paper or online via Google Forms at:
Respond to the questions:

What did you hate about writing assignments when you were a student?

Did you ever do any writing for school that you felt was worthwhile or even enjoyable?
What is Writing Across the Curriculum?

Writing Across the Curriculum is a 30+ year old movement in both k-12 and higher ed that emphasizes the centrality of writing in teaching and learning.
As its name suggests, WAC encourages writing exercises and assignments in all disciplines.
WAC promotes the idea that students should write to learn as well as learn to write
Why Write?

Frequent writing in all disciplines helps students better comprehend, retain, synthesize, and evaluate the subject matter. In addition, learning to write according to disciplinary protocols not only helps students understand specialized texts, but allows them to begin to participate in an academic discourse community.
Janet Emig and the theoretical foundations of WAC
"Writing as a Mode of Learning"
Writing requires representing knowledge symbolically
Writing is integrative
Writing requires systematic connections and relationships
Writing is same pace as learning—self-pacing
Writing provides feedback—long term and short term
Writing is participatory
in College Composition and Communication, 1977
Writing within a discipline helps promote advanced literacy as well as entrance into "discourse communities."

Discipline-specific knowledge is shared through written texts with particular styles, conventions, and jargon. Through learning how to write within a discipline, students are introduced into this discourse community and, through creating authentic material, they learn how to produce and decode these specialized texts.
The rules and practices of discipline specific writing are rarely written and are generally transmitted through apprenticeship.
WAC (and WID) de-emphasizes the idea that writing is to create a finished piece of work. Rather, writing is...

a process
(always?) incomplete
Graphic Novel Style with Comic Life
WAC is taylor made for web (2.0) platforms.

Writing on/for the web is always incomplete (Bolter). Writing, on the web therefore, is about process, revision, and participation.
Moreover, the informality and immediacy of writing in some web evironments (consider Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) lends itself to quick exploratory writing and personal expression.
Start Here!
But, (the) web (2.0) does not just provide an enhanced environment for WAC-type activities. Rather, the social nature of web 2.0 changes the relationship of the student to their text.
Saul Bass
Graphic Designer
Kyle Cooper
Graphic Designer
Mimic Title Sequence
Se7ven Title Sequence
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Title Sequence
Across the Universe
Strawberry Fields Forever Sequence
The Incredible Hulk
Prologue Films
Imaginary Forces
Jay Bolter
Hypermediacy: "Instead of transparency, they [artists] strive for hypermediacy, an intense awareness of and even reveling in the medium." Writing Space, page 25.
". . . the ways in which new visual media, such as computer graphics, virtual reality, and the World Wide Web, define themselves by borrowing from, paying homage to, critiquing, and refashoning their predecessors, principally television, film, photography, and painting"
Writing Space, 24.
"What all media and media forms have in common for our culture is the promise of immediacy. Transparent media promise to disappear and leave us in contact with the unmediated world"
Writing Space, 25-26.
Transparency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hypermediation
the continum
"The computer is reopening for us the problem of the relation of word and image -- specifically how images are constituted as part of the texts that we confront in school and in the working world. Are there two literacies (verbal and visual), or is there only one?
"Hypertext and the Question of Visual Literacy" 3.
"Hypertext and electronic communication in general tend to erode the authority of the text and its author . . . The relationship between author and reader is more egalitarian. The reader can more easily intervene in electronic texts and even become an author. . . the act of hypertextual reading works to undermine the authority of the text."
"Hypertext and the Question of Visual Literacy" 6.
"There is also another, more radical possibility: that verbal argument itself is no longer compelling in an age of digital graphics . . . Literacy in electronic environments may have more to do with the production and consumption of images than the reading and writing of either hypertextual or linear prose."
"Hypertext and the Question of Visual Literacy" 7.
"Computer technology thus challenges our notions of literacy on several levels . . . of good and effective writing and reading . . . the rhetorical foundation for the teaching of writing --that is, the need for a unified point of view and a coherent thesis."
"Hypertext and the Question of Visual Literacy" 10.
"Our educational system still regards graphic representation as something to be left behind as the child moves into higher grades . . . our educational system as a whole does not see the need to teach students how to view still and moving images, nor do we find it necessary to teach students how to produce these media."
"Hypertext and the Question of Visual Literacy" 12.
Word vs Image
The Campus Web Server
We are being watched
Digitizing a Roller Coaster
When writing on/in/for open web 2.0 platforms, students writing becomes a social, rather than a solitary, process.
Students must consider audience in even the most informal writing.
The meaning/context of their work becomes emeshed in a community.
Students are afforded the opportunity to write in an authentic mode.
The text can exist independently of the student, and the class.
Not only does the relationship of the student to text and audience change in the WAC 2.0 world, but the nature of text itself changes.

Consider Christian Sandvig's Communication Class....
WAC Writing Activities
Writing for exploration--informal such as journaling, quick writes, etc.
Writing for understanding--microthemes, genre writing, reviews.
Sherlock Holmes
demo reel
Michael Wesch
A Vision of Students Today
An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube
Web 2.0 . . . The Machine is Us/ing Us
Full transcript