Digital (Re)Visions: Blending Pedagogical Strategies with Dynamic Classroom Tactics
I therefore approach that aspect of the FYW class with this baseline assumption: Most of the eighteen- to twenty-year-olds who attend The University of Arizona already communicate via digital technologies in various ways and can learn to use template-based applications with relative ease, especially if they are first given time during class to collaborate on penalty-free projects with select applications.
Beyond that initial experimentation with the capabilities and functionality of new technologies, what FYW students most need to learn in our limited time is a thing or two about conventions that span across many online publishing venues and multimodal genres (such as nonlinearity and linking) and basic design principles (such as visual organization, coherence, and impact). Also essential are multiple conversations about fair use, copyright, and other ethical concerns regarding representation of self, others, and ideas that students must consider when going public with their compositions. Such an approach builds on what Stuart Selber (2004) calls the “functional literacy” of digital technology that FYW students typically bring to these classes, challenging students to develop critical and rhetorical literacies and become questioners and producers of digital texts.
I ask my FYW students to translate their written public arguments (open letters; letters to editors, public figures, or organizations; opinion columns; perspective-forwarding creative nonfiction) into more visually and/or aurally oriented arguments (via Prezi or YouTube; through the creation of editorial cartoons, infographics, public service announcements or other multimodal texts). (For more information, see the assignment sheet