General Reflections on Digital Writing Instructional Technologies

photo credit: "d.i.g.i.t.a.l." by Don Buciak II via Flickr (
February 26, 2015

I believe in imperfect teaching–that as an instructor I should embrace experimentation and risk. As a writing teacher it is necessary to acknowledge that audiences, rhetorical situations, and writing practices and technologies are constantly evolving. Traditional models representing the circulation and reception of print documents within a relatively limited communications environment are increasingly out of touch with networked social and global audiences. Twenty-first century texts integrate and dismiss emerging technologies…


What Good Can We Do In Fifteen Weeks?

photo credit: "fifteen-weeks" by Ryan Trauman via Flickr (
February 22, 2015

As a writing instructor, one of the most challenging aspects of teaching is the limited amount of time I have to spend with my students over the course of the semester. Writing is an incredibly complicated set of practices which takes years of instruction, experimentation, and reflection before a person gains competency to write effectively in a variety of situations. As writers, our students often inhabit a transitional space, moving…


Access Denied: The Rich Interior Lives of Student Writers

photo credit: "Think First" by Jason Devaun via Flickr (
February 19, 2015

One of my core teaching beliefs is that students have rich interior lives that are more complex and varied than we, as individual instructors, will ever be able to access. Rather than accepting this maxim as a reason for resignation, I’ve come to understand it as a call to empathize with my students. The classroom is a relatively contested space where both students and their instructor must negotiate the complex…


One of My Favorite Assignments: “Remixing 1984”
February 15, 2015

(Note: I recently completed a set of materials for an award nomination packet. This post is part of those materials.) Prompt Question: “What is your favorite lesson plan or assignment, and why? Please describe the assignment in answering this question.” It’s difficult to say that I have a favorite assignment. It would be more apt to say that each of my assignments operates differently from one semester to another, depending…


Statement of Teaching Philosophy (A Version)
February 12, 2015

(Note: I recently completed a set of materials for an award nomination packet. This post is part of those materials.) Students and instructors need to share in learning from each other. I think one of the most destructive tendencies an instructor can introduce into the classroom is take on the role of the source of knowledge, expertise, and institutional capital. No only is this counter-productive, in most classrooms, it is…


Basic Digital Writing Literacies: A Working List

Here at my home institution, we’re in the process of redesigning the first-year writing curriculum. We’re hoping to conceive of a sequence of courses more responsive to emerging digital writing technologies and the social networks within which text circulate. You can pretty much guess the usual topics under discussion for inclusion in the curriculum: web texts, audio texts, video texts, YouTube, WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, etc. As well as…

December 29, 2013

Coming Up for Air: Surfacing in Chicago

I’ve not been all that public about my new position at Columbia College Chicago. Fifty years ago, people would have called it radio silence. But in this age of the always-on newsfeed this silence merits little note. Except my own. Because the silence has been mine. And hopefully, now it’s over. Moving is complicated. So is a new job. And a new city. And saying goodbye to friends. And a…

September 19, 2013

Is Composing with Video “Composition”?

How does composing-with-video connect to the writing our students do in class? Given that the hours we as teachers have to spend in and out of the classroom are finite, what does composing-with-video replace? These are the types of questions that Traci Gardner (@tengrrl) responds to in her “Justification for Composing with Video” entry on the Teaching in the 21st Century Bedford Bits blog. Her reflections, arguments, and motivations are smart and thoughtful….

September 12, 2012

Two instructors. A digital storytelling class. Challenges. Successes. Advice. Examples.

Last week, my good friend and colleague Dr. Tony O’Keeffe and I gave a talk at a conference here in Louisville (Celebration of Teaching and Learning, organized by the UofL Delphi Center and Graduate School). We had the privilege of being introduced by my dissertation director, Debra Journet. Tony and I spend most of the talk reflecting on the challenges and successes we encountered along with our students in a…

February 14, 2012

Deadpan Alley: as a video assignment description tool.

Final Portfolio Explanationby: trauman Started working on an assignment description for my FYC students today. Final Portfolio Reflection. I’ve never really liked simple versions of those. But the complex versions never seem to work very well. I struggled with it for a while this morning, and I kept thinking that it would so much better if I could just have a dialogue with my students about how I’d like them…

November 25, 2011