Archive for June, 2009


the research in composing

June 15, 2009

New Composing

I seem to return to this topic frequently, but perhaps that’s just re-iterative puzzle.processpractice/thinking. Here, on other blogs, and in several presentations, I’ve focused on new composing processes and practices, focusing on the interplay between different material practices–from post-it’s to track changes–that all play a part in composing. That’s a composing for the page and the screen.

At NECC in Washington, DC, I’ll focus on composing for the net by looking at blogging, and I’m working with teachers at the Fordham Literacy Institute on the same topic. For a preview, you can look at the google site I’m developing now: I’ll have a site on blogger as well.

I’ve also been thinking some about how we research, and I’ll be talking about that at Computers and Writing–next week I’m looking at ways we have garden library architecture 020researched, historically,  and then at how we research now, divided into three areas: academic; mainstream; and alternative. Interestingly, a good deal of what has become mainstream and academic–the moral equivalent of the truth–began as alternative. The war in Irag is a case in point: even Dick Cheney was looking for WMD until he left the halls of power.

Researching so we learn, critique, and synthesize is good: we all need to do this, and to be sure that the sources we draw on are credible. As important is the ability to create knowledge, and here I tend to look at sites where people can contribute; there are just-in-time opportunites like the i-reports we see on cnn– well as longer-term opportunities like those promoted in the citizen science movement: e.g, I also look at sites where lay folks are organizing the collection, synthesis, and distribution of knowledge. Patients Like Me––is one where people have gathered, organized, and shared information for the collective good in new ways. And interestingly, the medical profession, which has never gathered patient-informed data, is actually paying attention to this effort.  These are other ways of creating knowledge.

I think that composition includes the visual, in some cases graphic Slide1communication like charts and graphs, in other cases re-mixes and mashups that can be simultaneously wise and funny, that other times aspire to seriousness and permanence. Art communicates understanding, so it’s another kind of composing that we teach. That’s an area that I hope to focus on in other presentations this year, one in September at Georgia Southern.

All of which is to say that composing in the 21st century is a variegated, networked, material practice that we are still defining and mapping.