Print Volume 26.2 (June 2009)

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Anxiety and the Archive: Understanding Plagiarism Detection Services as Digital Archives
— James Purdy, Duquesne University,

Based on a case study of the popular plagiarism detection service Turnitin, particularly its “Legal Document,” this article contends that plagiarism detection services should be viewed as digital archives. Services like Turnitin not only seek to regulate what constitute original texts and appropriate writing practices but also to advance conceptions of the work that archives should do in storing and circulating texts in digital spaces. This article concludes that the services we sometimes use to ensure the integrity of students’ texts can themselves be of questionable integrity—largely through the design of their archives. As increasing numbers of texts take digital form, the problems and promise of digital archives will demand thoughtful responses that do not rush to replace questionable writing and research practices with equally troubling pedagogical and archival ones. These thoughtful responses start with exploring the use of plagiarism detection service archival technology in unadvertised ways.

Exploring Post-critical Composition: MEmorials for Afghanistan and the Lost Boys of Sudan
— Kevin Brooks & Aaron Anfinson, North Dakota State University

This article seeks to extend the concept of “post-critical composition” through an analysis of two MEmorials, the post-critical genre Gregory Ulmer [Ulmer, Gregory L. (2005). Electronic monuments. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press] has been exploring for 15 years. I resist the tendency on the part of some post-critical theorists to reject the role of genres and models in favor of perpetual re-invention of genres and pedagogies with each composition. Through a combination of product analysis and process reflection, this article documents the necessary but flexible role the genre of MEmorial played in a student composition, “MEmorial for Afghanistan,” and in my own composition, “Strangers in Strange Lands: A MEmorial for the Lost Boys of Sudan*.” This essay is an extension of not only post-critical composition but also online memorialization, described by National Public Radio [National Public Radio. (2007, May 28). Online memorials to the war dead. Day to day. Retrieved June 5, 2007, from http://www.npr.org] as a “modern phenomenon” and identified by Joyce Walker [Walker, Joyce. (2007). Narratives in the database: Memorializing September 11th online. Computers and Composition 24(2), 121–153] as a potentially powerful means of encouraging “cyborg citizens.”

What is Humanistic about Computers and Writing? Historical Patterns and Contemporary Possibilities for the Field
— Michael Knieval, University of Wyoming

Given the status of Ellen W. Nold's “Fear and Trembling: The Humanist Approaches the Computer” (1975) as one of the first articles published in computers and writing, it may be said that the relationship between computers and the humanities has organized the field since its inception. In this article, I trace ways in which scholars have described that relationship in answering the implicit question of “what is humanistic about computers and writing?” from 1975 to present. The rhetorical positioning of the field vis-à-vis the question has evolved as shifts toward postmodern and social epistemologies in English studies, coupled with social and cultural trends catalyzed by new technologies, have challenged traditional humanities parameters. The resulting new spaces for humanistic argument have emboldened scholars in computers and writing to claim a more significant role in an emerging production-driven model of the humanities. This model is organized around an emphasis on electronic literacy, which has (1) disrupted the printed book's status as the central object of inquiry within the academy and, (2) importantly and concurrently, gained social and economic currency outside of it. In combination, these changes in social and academic contexts offer computers and writing an opportunity to embrace a more central role in the humanities than at any time in its history.

Usability Research in the Writing Lab: Sustaining Discourse and Pedagogy
— Michael J. Salvo, Jingfang Ren, H. Allen Brizee, Tammy S. Conard-Salvo, Purdue University

Redesigning Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) presented the opportunity for collaboration among Writing Center and Professional Writing Program members. While the article briefly describes the OWL redesign process, the argument focuses on collaboration and presents a model for sustainable intraprogram collaboration. Following Hawhee, usability research is defined as “invention-in-the-middle,” which offers a model for understanding research process as part of the infrastructure of new media instruction as described by DeVoss, Cushman, and Grabill. This article offers four stakeholder perspectives on the process of participatory technology design: of writing center administrators, graduate students, technical writing practitioners, and writing program graduate faculty members. The model asserted by this article presents a dynamic understanding of expertise and of fluidity in the roles of participants. Collaborative usability research, seen as invention-in-the-middle, contributes both to long-term sustainability of technological artifacts as well as the discursive interactions among stakeholders whose work supports these artifacts.

The Rhetorical Work of Multimedia Production Practices: It's More than Just Technical Skill
— Jennifer Sheppard, New Mexico State University

Calls for multimodal communication are being heard with increasing frequency in composition and professional communication. Oftentimes, however, teaching multimedia production is viewed by those outside of the field as simply a matter of imparting technical skill rather than facilitating development of diverse and significant literacies. A closer look at these practices reveals how the complex choices made during production regarding audience, content, technology, and media can dramatically affect the final text and its reception by users. Rather than viewing multimodal production work as just technical skill, I argue that it requires careful attention to both traditional and technological rhetorical considerations. Better understanding these varied rhetorical practices specific to new media supports us in helping students to appreciate the constraints and possibilities of composing and offers support for the value of our work with multimedia to colleagues in other areas of English studies.

Keeping with the currency of the print-based journal, Print to Screen focuses on the themes found in the recent issues of Computers and Composition, and includes multimodal commentaries that explore and remediate relationships between print and screen.

Section Editor — Elizabeth Monske

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