• Making a Composing Process More Visible

    Posted on September 30th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I finished the second chapter in Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole, and a lot of this chapter discusses how mediational means that we employ in our writing become invisible throughout our writing process. For example, if I was writing a typical paper, everybody sees the final product: a six-paged document in a standard black font with a heading, title, and page numbers. No one can see the different types of media I may have used in my writing process: audio, pictures, news articles, etc. This can be considered as a “disappearance effect” in writing. In the text, Bruce and Hogan explain the “disappearance effect” by stating, “as technologies embed themselves in everyday discourse and activity, they slip into the background and it becomes far to easy to lose sight of the way they shape, whether for good or ill, the routine dimensions of our lives” (Shipka 54).

    Although I’m being specific in describing the disappearance effect in writing, it is something that can be present in life in general. I think people should make their composing process more visible. The texts suggests that people should keep a “technology journal” or “videotape themselves through the course of the day or while working on a particular activity or project” (Shipka 56). These suggestions may be able to make people more aware of the technologies they use in their composing process every day. Shipka quotes Wertsch, who says that “conscious awareness is one of the most powerful tools available for recognizing and changing forms of mediation that have unintended and often untoward consequences” (Shipka 56). A “conscious awareness” can allow people to come up with “imaginable alternatives,” which can lead to “increased metacommunicative awareness” (Shipka 56). The end of the chapter had the most impact on me. It made me think about how I fail to recognize a lot of the technologies I use throughout my own composing process. It shed some light on the importance of imaginable alternatives, and how they would benefit my writing and metacommunicative awareness.

  • Digital Narrative Progress

    Posted on September 17th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I’ve been working on my digital narrative for class for a few weeks now. I feel like it’s all coming together, but it has definitely been a struggle. When I wrote my script, I thought that I would have no trouble at all with it. It basically describes what I personally think a Hokie is and how I’ve seen it through my own experiences here at Tech. Yesterday, I recorded my script for the first time. If hearing your own voice in a soundbooth for an hour isn’t annoying enough, I kept talking way too fast. Also, I’m beginning to think that my script sounds way too formal and impersonal. I need to figure something out to work out those kinks, which hopefully won’t be too difficult. Once I get past the sound recording, I think that I’ll have an easier time putting everything together! I have all of my pictures set, and I’m still trying to find a some background music. Hopefully I’ll get some good feedback in class on Wednesday!

  • Pictures of Writing

    Posted on September 15th, 2013 msmith88 No comments


    Last week in class, we talked about different people, places, and things on campus that inspire our writing. Personally, my favorite writing space at Virginia Tech is Torgerson Bridge (picture above). It is definitely a place where I remain on topic while I write. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Torgerson Bridge is a place that inspires the content of my writing, but it allows me focus during my writing process. I do my best work while nestled in one of the many cubicles that this space provides. If I were to write in any other places on campus, I feel that I would be easily distracted by any activity around me. Torgerson Bridge always assures a quiet, studious environment for Tech students.

  • Old vs. New Classroom Environments

    Posted on September 4th, 2013 msmith88 No comments

    I’m reading Toward a Composition Made Whole by Jody Shipka in my Writing and Digital Media class. As I was reading a passage in the first chapter, Shipka addresses a collection written by Carolyn Handa. Handa essentially provides readers with two different classroom settings that signify “the old” way of learning versus that of “the new.” Handa describes “old” classroom settings as containing “desks arranged in rows, a podium facing the class, and blackboards covering one or two walls” (Shipka 18). I disagree that “old” classroom environments did not have visuals to work with. Shipka disagrees with Handa’s observation; she even recalls that during a course she took in 1995 where “the professor showed a film or two, and on occasion used an overhead projector and transparencies” (Shipka 19).

    In contrast, Handa writes that today’s classrooms are “wired” and that they “provide students easy access to a flood of visual images, icons, streaming video, and various hybrid forms of images and texts” (Shipka 18). I agree with her observation here, but these advanced technologies help students learn visually in a classroom environment. A lot of the current generation is definitely more accustomed to visual learning because of these technologies as well. Handa continues to say that this new classroom form isn’t always entirely the way she depicts it, she argues that most college students embody a “wired” lifestyle. The argument Handa makes is easy to agree with. College students are connected through different forms of technology: cell phones, computers, the Internet, and many other forms. I think that Handa doesn’t account for the college students who are trying to keep up with the new forms of technology. I’ll admit that I’m definitely a technology addict when it comes down to my iPhone and Macbook, but I am in no way entirely understanding of all of the technology that is currently out in the world. I don’t have much experience with softwares that Shipka mentions such as “Flash, Photoshop, PageMaker, Dreamweaver, or Premiere Pro” (Shipka 19). Handa’s argument definitely made me think about how much technology has impacted my own learning in a classroom environment.