About time: Kairos and me

At long last, a mulitmodal webtext I began work on with my colleague, Ron Balthazor, in 2011 has been published! You can find it in the Fall 2015 issue of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

infrastructure and pedagogy webtext
Our article. At last!

Kairos has been the leading edge of digital publishing in the field of digital rhetoric/computers and writing for nearly two decades so I am, course, thrilled to see this article published there. But it was not originally intended for Kairos. It was actually an article for the newly re-launched CCC Online, a digital version of College Composition and Communication that would be publishing multimedia webtexts. Here’s the link to the debut issue, January 2012, but it’s behind the NCTE member firewall, so if you’re not a member, you won’t be able to access it. Here’s the journal’s purpose statement:

College Composition and Communication Online publishes stand-alone webtexts comprised of digitally-mediated research and scholarship in rhetoric and composition studies that supports college teachers in reflecting on and improving their practices in teaching writing and that reflects the most current scholarship and theory in the field. The field of composition studies draws on research and theories from a broad range of humanistic disciplines—English studies, rhetoric, cultural studies, gay studies, gender studies, critical theory, education, technology studies, race studies, communication, philosophy of language, anthropology, sociology, and others—and from within composition and rhetoric studies, where a number of subfields have also developed, such as technical communication, computers and composition, writing across the curriculum, research practices, and the history of these fields.

The second issue was to be a special issue devoted to infrastructure and pedagogy and the CFP really spoke to me as I am always concerned with the way we build infrastructural support for writing pedagogy and assessment in both the curricular and support scaffolding, including – especially – technology. So I had an idea for an article that would examine the way that our Emma tool embodies and supports the kind of writing practice that we want to build here at UGA. I asked Ron if he’d like to collaborate and we set about a lengthy process of developing, drafting, and producing a text that is presented in a website structure (that I built with HTML and CSS) and that incorporates short videos created with the screen capture and editing tool, Camtasia Studio. We liked what we created and sent it to the editors of CCC Online who then sent it off for peer review. They then asked us to make some fairly significant changes (which we didn’t love because it made our text more literal and less an enactment or performance of our ideas in a lot of ways, but we saw the point for this publication). We went back to work, made new videos, re-configured some things, and sent it back.

And then CCC Online fell by the wayside…the general editor had taken on a new role and just was not going to be able to devote the time and effort to getting such a complex journal going and on a regular publication schedule. But the guest editor was determined that our work not be in vain and she approached the editors of Kairos, the awesome Cheryl Ball and Doug Eyman, if there might be a place for the articles produced for that issue in a future issue of Kairos.

There was. I am thrilled to have our piece placed there and I think this experience just shows that, while the spirit may be willing with regard to creating more venues devoted to web/new media texts, the flesh is weak. Or, at least, it is only human and the amount of time and effort – usually unpaid and outside of our regular academic workloads – required to produce innovative publication venues for digital scholarly work can be prohibitive.





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