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Current and Past C&C Editors


Mary P. Sheridan-Rabideau, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
While I have no crystal ball to tell the future of computers and composition, I do have the equivalent to a departmental water cooler, and that is often a more accurate barometer of the trends I see around me. At this water cooler, I’ve observed fewer conversations that challenge if we teach our students technological literacy and more conversations about how we teach the complexity of technological literacy. Sometimes these conversations center on changing conceptions of literacy: how might we incorporate multimodal literacies across the curriculum? Sometimes they center on changing conceptions of technology: how can we look at and not through computers? Sometimes they center on situated responses to our classrooms, writing centers, or programmatic opportunities: can blogs help us facilitate productive classroom discussions? Will OWLS better serve our commuters? Might our work to create a web page help us re-think our mission? What seems to under gird these conversations is the move, to paraphrase Gunther Kress, from critique to design. This move from critique to design has been a hallmark of computers and composition pedagogy. Redesigning what computers do in a writing classroom and what composition should mean in the university, our research and practice has wrestled with knotty real-world problems that call us to modify existing resources to better suit our needs. At my water cooler, this commitment to solving problems even if, and perhaps especially if, we need to re-imagine the solution ourselves is becoming more overt. I find that encouraging. While I don’t know the forms this re-imagining may take in the future, I am eager to find out.

Sibylle Gruber, Northern Arizona University
When I started working on an article for the anniversary issue of Computers and Composition, I was especially interested in how the journal influenced our thinking about and rethinking of new information technologies. Without doubt, scholars publishing in Computers and Composition contributed to disillusioning us about the initial utopian perspectives many of us wanted to believe in. As contributors and readers, we moved into a more critical appraisal of new information technologies in the classroom, and we pointed out the need for considering the impact of the real on the virtual, the need for closer analysis of online interactions, women’s positionalities in online environments, and the reading/writing/viewing/hyper-linking of race and ethnicity, among others.

We certainly are not yet finished with our thinking about new information technologies. New developments in software and hardware, reconceptualizations of our own thinking about online compositions, explorations of collaborative efforts with scholars outside computers and composition, and recurring questions of identity construction online encourage us to approach new information technologies from different perspectives. When I first encountered computers, they were fun toys that made it easy to change typos, switch paragraphs around, and even play with font, underlining, and bolding. Computers are still fun, with my little MS Office assistant entertaining me while I correct typos, save the document, and stare at the screen. But as the contributions to Computers and Composition and to the field in general have shown, we have certainly moved away from uncritically embracing technology and are instead working toward an appreciation of the complex approaches to new information technologies. I might smile at my electronic office assistant, but I am no longer fooled into complacency by a tail-wagging, ear-scratching, and document-sniffing screen embellishment.

Cheryl E. Ball, Associate Editor 2003–2004, Michigan Tech University
The 20th anniversary issues of Computers and Composition marks the highlight of my four years working with the journal—and what a wonderful time it has been! Having the opportunity to work closely with authors, their manuscripts, and guest editors—and to see the articles appear in print, especially in this 20th anniversary year—will be a touchstone in my editing career. But, perhaps a more exciting opportunity is working with future guest editors planning upcoming special issues. And we’ve got some great ones in the works, covering both topics that have changed dramatically in the last ten years, such as distance education, and topics new to the pages of Computers and Composition, such as global and non-Western perspectives on computers and writing, new media texts, and the multiliteracy of sound. My work with C&C has had a profound impact on my teaching, research, and especially on quelling my publication jitters—I have been able to see the publication process in action and know, now, that it is not as scary as I once believed. If I had one piece of advice for teacher-scholars who might feel intimidated about sending their work to a journal, it is this: Journals need us. They need new, fresh, innovative work, and editors like (the best editors in the world!) Gail and Cindy are friendly, responsive, and eager to hear from us!

Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha
My relationship to the Computers and Writing community came about through my position as Associate Editor for Computers and Composition (1997-1999) at Michigan Tech. In this capacity, I came to know the community through the scholarship of its members. From the very beginning, I felt that I was participating in the scholarly practices of a very special community.

This community began on the periphery of Composition Studies through a special interest group that met annually at CCCCs. In those meetings, a handful of teachers, researchers, and scholars launched what has become a dynamic, vibrant community that explores technological issues as diverse as gender, space, control, power, and literacy, and does so with thoughtful zeal. Twenty years later, the Computers & Writing community has developed into a full-blown community of practice with a recognizable identity, a vast repertoire of practices, and a mutual respect for how complex it is to marry technology and writing.

Together, members of this community have persevered, and continue to do so, through administrative challenges, uninterested or uninformed colleagues, and scarce resources both human and technical. They’ve built a repertoire of practices that grew out of a lot of trail and error, noble volunteer efforts, and negotiated participation. Participating in this community means sharing each other’s experiences of meaning not only because other
members have also lived the tale but also because they care and are sincerely interested in those experiences. I look to this community for inspiration, compassion, and intellectual challenges, and I always get just that.

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