To foster a meaningful graduate-level program in writing studies, we as a discipline need to attend more explicitly to a greater range of stakeholders (e.g., our states’ citizens, government, and community and business leaders; university administration; fellow academic departments) than are usually at the table in local curricular design. These stakeholders call for innovative programs that prepare students to respond to evolving economic conditions, social practices, and ways of making and using knowledge. At the University of Wyoming, we believe our in-progress program development addresses these challenges and in so doing can function as a telling case for those seeking to position their programs as responsive to the range of constituencies with legitimate stakes in contemporary writing studies. Throughout our collaborations, we identify new media—the tools, relationships, and novel rhetorical situations it creates—as a key mediator providing us with a domain in which to both enact and respond to contemporary calls for innovation. Investigating complex problems with new tools and entrepreneurial orientations can both drive program innovation and foster greater engagement with social challenges in order to pursue sustained responsivity to diverse stakeholders.
Functional, critical, and rhetorical training in multimodal teaching and research must span all aspects of professional development within the graduate curriculum in order to best prepare emerging professionals for success in the age of digital media. The authors call upon multiple perspectives of their home program and offer a range of benchmarks for other programs that want to promote digital teaching and research as integral, sustainable components of their knowledge-making spaces.
The traditional modes of knowledge production and circulation in academia are (slowly but surely) shifting from the hierarchical, top-down systems of print to the distributed, bottom-up systems of the Web. It is in the context of these shifts and the rapid development of Web 2.0 tools and methods that we argue for a concomitant shift in the predominant practices of graduate education in rhetoric—particularly for students of digital rhetoric. In this article, we describe the development of a research network that combines the power of digital networking with the collaborative facilitation offered by communities of practice and consider how research networks can be grown and sustained as part of the graduate education of technorhetoricians.
Higher education is still dominated by objectivist models of learning involving experts who convey information to novices. Educational research has shown that this model is less effective than more active, constructivist approaches that help learners to build new knowledge on existing knowledge. Although to a lesser extent, the objectivist model is perpetuated in graduate education, a context where students are, ironically, assumed to be working alongside their mentors and becoming part of the culture of research in their fields. Using a recent report issued by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, The Responsive Ph.D.: Innovations in Doctoral Education (2005), we argue that emerging technologies can help to create constructivist learning environments that challenge students to participate more actively in their own education. As illustration, we consider a graduate seminar on educational technologies that uses a wiki not only to engage students in knowledge-building but to link subsequent sections of the course into an ongoing, purposeful activity that functions both within and beyond the classroom. We explore some of the challenges we faced in getting students to take control of the wiki and overcome their existing assumptions about power and authority in graduate education.
Graduate education, in rhetoric and composition as in other fields, often makes changes incrementally. Occasionally, however, programs encounter a different exigence, usually as they initiate a program or rejuvenate one, allowing them to design more globally. Since 2005 at Florida State University, we have been re-developing the graduate program in rhetoric and composition to prepare students for the needs of the 21st century. Key to our program is a remix of technology and of culture—inside and across courses, within the program, and across professional opportunities.
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