peer-review URLs

Your job as peer reviewers of these projects is to read two using the Kuhn + 2 criteria from earlier this semester and write a letter to each group of authors. Email the authors your letter (copying me) by 5pm Friday. Then, as an individual author, respond to the letters you receive from others, posting on your blog how you plan to revise based on the editorial feedback. That post is due by the start of next class period.

Computers & Writing conference proposals


The annual Computers & Writing conference (a major academic conference in digital writing studies) is next May 20-23, 2010, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN (two hours drive from Normal). Last year an undergraduate student went and presented with me and everyone loved having him there. I encourage you to propose to present (the proposal deadline is Friday!) either about your project for this class, or about this class, or about some other writing and technology related issue that you’re dealing with.

If you present (even in a poster presentation, which only takes 250 words), you can get $125 in travel money from the Graduate School here at ISU to use towards reimbursing you for travel expenses. In exchange for the money, you have to agree to give the same/similar presentation at the research Symposium in the spring. (This goes for grad students as well!)

You can also apply to attend the Graduate Research Network (the undergrad went last year too), which will make you eligible for the GRN Travel Award (also a reimbursement situation) for part of your conference fee (usually around $100, which includes all your meals for 4 days). The accommodations at the conference include cheap stays in the dorms, which you can share between two of you, usually for about $30 a nite. The total cost of attending this conference (driving there) will be around $300-400.

If you’re interested in talking to teachers about what you do with technology as an undergraduate, or you’re interested in grad school in any form, you should consider attending. It’s a friendly conference (usually around 300 people), welcoming folks, close by, and lots of fun!

And you know how to write proposals now, so go for it!! Go to this website for information on how to propose.

instructor portion of proposal


As promised, here is the information you can use to fill in the following sections of your final project proposal when submitting it to Kairos:

Instructor’s name and full contact information.

Dr. Cheryl E. Ball
Campus Mail 4240
Department of English
Illinois State University
Normal, IL 61790-4240

office: 309-438-3152

Instructor’s brief description of the context, assignment, and/or course from which the proposed project emerged/will emerge.

This project is being composed under guidance of Dr. Cheryl E. Ball, as partial fulfillment for course requirements for English 239: Multimodal Composition (Fall 2009*** List Spring 2009 if you’re from the previous semester!) at Illinois State University. The purpose of the class is to study current ways of composing scholarly multimedia within English Studies, with a particular emphasis on composing a final, collaborative project that can be submitted to the Kairos special issue call for undergraduate research. The assignment for this project is based on the special issue CFP, with further examination done in class regarding the audience, purpose, and context of Kairos as a whole. Dr. Ball will provide Praxis-section write-ups for student projects that get accepted to the special issue.

You can insert the above information on the cover page of your proposal. Also include YOUR GROUP’s contact information and Kairos section indentification on this cover page. Only the project title and description should be on the second page. Don’t forget, when you submit it, to name the file appropriately and to copy me on the email to the guest editors. Their names (both are Drs.) and emails are listed in the CFP, which is linked from the syllabus. Good luck!

workflow/timeline assignment


“A work plan is an argument; it is written to plan the activities for a given period of time, first so as to convince decision makers for its approval, then as a guiding document for the activities to be carried out during that time period.” (from GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING A WORK PLAN). In this class scenario, I am the decision maker that your work plan needs to convince.

The basic questions that a work plan asks include

  • What activities will be undertaken in order to reach program objectives?
  • Who will carry out these activities?
  • When will the activities be conducted?
  • What resources will be needed? (from Developing & Using Work Plans)

Although some of these website resources suggest that a work plan needs to be a long and involved document (which it can be), for the purposes of this class, your work plan should focus on the individual steps you plan to take as you proceed to completing your project as a group. That is, I am concerned with the timeline of your activities and who is responsible for what andwhen. A work plan like this is usually around a page or two single-spaced.

You should work backwards from the project’s due date. Major deadlines include

  • Nov. 11 is the workshop due date. You need a functioning version of your project ready by the beginning of class on this date
  • Dec. 2 is the revisions due date. You need to have revised your project by the beginning of this class period.

In the work plan, you need to detail the activities, responsibilities for those activities, due dates, and resources needed for completing the project by these date. The format you use is totally up to you (e.g., table, flow-chart, bulleted or numbered list, etc.). At this point, your work plan might be a little general if you are unsure what technologies you need to learn to accomplish the project, so leave room in your timeline for such learning, as you will need to revise your work plan as you proceed on the project.

Also, be specific about activities. Don’t just write “Cheryl will research avatars.” Instead, write something that is specific to the brainstorming you need to have done for next week regarding what about avatars and gender (as one example) you need to research and how you need to collect that data. Research includes ANYTHING that you need to learn, collect/gather, or study — so be specific. If you plan on researching one particular angle of your topic for two days using a specific set of library databases and online journals, then list it as specifically as that. After that, if you plan on creating a set of questions based on that research/reading that you will ask your interviewees, then plan for that question-creation time in your work plan. Also list in your work plan when you will figure out who your interviewees are, who will contact them from the group, how you will contact them, when you will arrange (given a spread of dates) to interview them, what technical resources you need to interview them, etc.

All students need to do a work plan, either as a group or, in the case of graduate students, individually. Graduate students, however, do not need to complete the team contracts. That is only for the undergraduate students.

Let me know if you have questions.

audio comments on proposal drafts

Hey all,

I’ve responded to everyone’s print proposal by leaving a comment after your peer-review comment (if available) from class. My comments are recorded as an audio file (mp3) and linked to their permanent location in your comment area of that post. You can listen to the comments with your choice of media-player plug-ins such as Quicktime, Windows Media Player, and iTunes. If you have trouble downloading/playing and listening to the file, let me know.

I chose to record the comments as audio files instead of typing the comments because (1) I wanted you to hear my thought as I thought through my reactions to your proposals, and (2) I am sick with a cold and it was quicker to provide vocal comments than written comments, so if you need clarification on anything, let me know.

Also know that while your revised drafts are due in class next Wednesday, you’ll have more time to revise as the absolute-final drafts aren’t due until the portfolio is due at the end of the term.

Let me know if you have questions. And stay well!


peer-review criteria

Here is a summary of the peer-review criteria we came up with in class. It combines the Kairos manifesto peer-review criteria with Virginia Kuhn’s discussion of the 4 components of scholarly multimedia. We have decided to call this list of criteria Kuhn+2:

  • creativity
  • conceptual core
  • research/credibility
  • form:content
  • audience
  • timeliness

idea(s) to workshop

For your blog post for next week, you need to revisit the 3 ideas you sent me last week, see whether you still like any of those ideas, and/or come up with new one(s). From that set of ideas, choose 1 idea that you want to pursue for your project proposal, and one back-up idea.

In a blog post, write up your top-choice idea in about a paragraph, considering as you write whether the idea/concept would fit the CFW and the Kairos venue that you read about for homework. (You should also consider whether your idea/concept is do-able in a 10-week timeframe.)

In order to figure out whether your idea will fit, you will need to do a short rhetorical analysis on Kairos and the CFW. This means that you need to discuss what the venue expects in a digital media scholarship project, who the audience for Kairos is, and what category of submission (Topoi or Inventio) your idea would fit into regarding the CFW. You should detail all of this information in your blog post about your idea.

Be prepared to share your idea in class next week, as we’ll be spending the majority of class workshopping them. Also be prepared to share your back-up idea, if the first one proves unsuitable in some way.

research homework for Sept. 2

Hey all,

Because I think we need some more time to digest what we’re doing/going to do, I’m going to hold off on responding to your 3 ideas email. We’ll return to those ideas (and, perhaps, others) in class next week. For now, here’s what I want you to do in regards to the “2/3 readings assignment” mentioned in the homework section of the schedule for this week.

Find 3 online pieces of digital media that might spark your imagination. They should vary in media and modes of communication in some way. (iow, they shouldn’t all be animations, nor all web-comics, nor machinima, etc. You can have 2 from one “kind” and at least one from another kind. This is to prevent you from getting stuck into one way of visualizing how a project might proceed.)

Here are some completely random examples where you might start. As you can see, some of these have something to do with digital writing studies, and some of them don’t. Your examples may or may not have anything to do with writing studies. My main goal with this exercise is to have you explore different ways of presenting information/ideas/creativity using digital media. All of the examples below would be akin to good final projects for this class.

To complete this assignment you should find 1-2 others in addition to any above you looked at (1 if you watched 2 above; 2 if you watched 1 above). Once you’ve read these pieces, you should start a new post on your blog in which you

  1. provide the title of the piece and link to it from the title
  2. describe the piece in a few sentences, as you think it relates to the value criteria outlined in this blog post that my previous class created. (Don’t worry that we haven’t talked about this yet; we will next week, so just use your best judgement/guess at this point. I want you to start thinking about WHY you chose these pieces over others.)
  3. Add a Trackback link to *this* blog post in your post. (Search WordPress help for how to do this if you need help. Then email me if you’re still stuck.)

These posts are due by 8am Wednesday, Sept. 2. Let me know if you have questions!