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Spring 2007 - Editor's Welcome

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In earlier issues of Computers and Composition Online, we've celebrated the "newness" of new media research and the nascent implementation of video and audio in this venue and in others. Yet with each issue, the discussion of integrating technology into teaching and research and the modes used to deliver this scholarship increasingly relies on digital tools, with most of the webtexts published in the Spring 2007 issue integrating new media as a matter of course, using it to create powerful arguments of the role of technology in literate practice. Equally significant is the stronger balance of pieces throughout our major sections, attesting to the increase in digital research in the field.

While Dickie Selfe's lead piece in our Theory into Practice section does not rely on new media, it is nevertheless a powerful introduction to this issue. In "English Studies and the University Experience as Intellectual Property: Commodification and the Spellings Report," Selfe expands ideas from his original address at the College English Association of Ohio Conference right here at Bowling Green in October 2006, calling for computers and writing specialists to respond to the language of the Spellings Commission Report in more public ways than our traditional scholarly venues typically allow. We believe the publication of this piece is a step in that direction and hope that readers will begin to blog their responses either at C&C [http://www.candcblog.org] or at other forums. One of the beauties of working with authors on their digital scholarship is the opportunity to watch an idea and a design for its delivery evolve. Such is the case with Chidsey Dickson's "What Does it Mean to Embody Learning?" This piece began at last year's DMAC institute at Ohio State where Chidsey was a participant and I was a presenter, and applies James Gee's theories of gaming literacy to the learning practice of Chidsey's son Oliver in a wonderful video essay combined with numerous implications for both teaching and learning. Also relying on the voices of her subjects is Sara Pace, who in her piece "Exploring Computer-Mediated Oral Composing and Its Mediation" employs the theories of Jay David Bolter, Katherine Hayles, and others to analyze the power of oral composing in her ethnographic study of three female students, Chandra, Molly, and Denisha, complete with audio of their actual composing processes.

Our Virtual Classroom selections foreground the possibilities and the constraints of digital tools, from the most advanced to the most basic. Indeed, Katherine C. Braun, Ben McCorkle, and Amie C. Wolf discuss the powerful role of digital tools in "Remixing Basic Writing: Digital Media Production & the Basic Writing Curriculum" profiles a sophisticated curriculum in place at The Ohio State University. Noting a gap in the field in the lack of discussion about technology and basic writers, the authors profile several case studies to address the varying ways audio is a format that can help students develop stronger knowledge of basic rhetorical structures. criteria for various tools. Meanwhile, Lynn C. Lewis' "Visible and Hidden Transcripts: Word Domination and Paths to Resistance" documents the manner in which Microsoft Word may limit emphasis on writing proficiency through its emphasis on formulaic measures of writing quality. As part of this process, Lewis provides a range of useful assignments for students to help them become more critically aware of Word's limitations, calling for both teacher and student "paths to resistance."

Recently, in a guest-editors introduction to their special issue on Distance Education in Technical Communication Quarterly, Beth Hewett and Christa Ehmann noted that some of the pieces in our Professional Development section were "esoteric" in the inconsistent but much needed emphasis on faculty training. While I'd prefer to think of this section as one that meets a variety of needs in the field--from expoloration of tools, to interviews with technology innovators and the like--I am delighted with the two pieces in the issue. First, we are extremely proud to publish Kristin Arola and Cheryl Ball's "A Conversation: From "They Call Me Doctor" to Tenure," an exceptional example of digital writing research that relies on countless voices in the field of computers and composition to offer advice those new to the profession about the paths to success. The piece also relies on extensive video and audio interview and a result serves as a model for future forms of digital scholarship in Computers and Composition Online and elsewhere. I'm hopeful that this piece will generate even more dialogue in the blogosphere as more scholars join the conversation. Of course, it is important to remember that many of the digital tools employed in this and other pieces are emerging technologies for both new and established scholar-teachers in the discpline. For that reason, Doug Dangler, Ben McCorkle, and Time Barrow's "Expanding Composition Audiences with Podcasting," focuses on not only the classroom, but also on the writing center and on the professional conference as forums in which podcasts can transform our definitions of audience, text, and academic community. Such pieces, as I hope you'll agree, are key to professional development.

As always, our Print to Screen section features the latest abstracts from the print Computers and Composition, while our our Reviews section this time around focuses on several important texts, particularly two published in the Hampton series New Dimensions in Computers and Composition Studies, edited by Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe. These include Meredith Grauper's review of Jonathan Alexander's Digital Youth: Emerging Literacies on the World Wide Web and Jen Almjeld's review of Robert Samuels' Integrating Hypertextual Subjects: Computers, Composition, and Academic Labor. Focusing on classroom application, Sue Webb reviews Mike Palmquist's Designing Writing: A Practical Guide.

To return to Dickie Selfe's initial call to action, we must continue to argue for the importance of what we do as technological literacy specialists in the university and in the larger culture. The staff here at Bowling Green, all members of our Rhetoric and Writing Doctoral Program, remain grateful for the support of the computers and composition community as our own role in that community in fostering a space for dialogue continues to evolve.

Kris Blair
Editor