This article takes as its departure point the near simultaneous work on notions of cool, technology, and composition in 1963, to begin discussion on how the juxtaposition of these moments can lead to an electronic rhetoric. Based on classroom work done at the University of Florida in two courses entitled "Writing About Cool," the article presents juxtaposition as a method for writing electronically. Because this particular juxtaposition revolves around the word cool, the rhetoric proposed here is called a rhetoric of cool. The article frames a rhetoric of cool by describing how temporal events in the respective fields of writing, technology, and cultural studies seen in juxtaposition provide a model for electronic research. The article considers the influential 1963 Conference on College Composition and Communication (4Cs), writings by Albert Kitzhaber, Marshall McLuhan, Douglas Engelbart, and Amiri Baraka, and demonstrates how these works inform writing instruction in a contemporary networked writing classroom. Finally, the article examines how students working with hypertext, drawing from these works and juxtapositions, are able to not only write about cool, but are able to write cool as well.
Using some autobiographical information from my own life and that of my grandmother when we were both secretaries, I argue that we in the academy lack language to describe low-status, gendered and classed work. In order to fairly measure the work that women do with technology as secretaries, and the literacy skills they need to perform this work, we need to shift our perspective and better recognize how we measure knowledge in workplace settings. I investigate some history of secretarial work in America, its relationship to similar female-dominated occupations and its relationship to educational programs promoting literacy. Reveal Codes—a reference to a command in early WORDPERFECT software programs that allowed typists to view the formatting they had done such as indenting and underlining text—is a metaphor for framing this project as an interrogation of both our work as scholars and the work of secretaries.
This article enacts a dialogue between my experience as a full-time, online course designer and my background in composition and English studies. It proposes and theorizes a more conscious and extensive use of a compositional or third voice in online classes as an alternative to the combination of instructional and conversational voices typically available to students and teachers. This article argues that teaching and learning in online classes need to be recognized and articulated as aesthetic, linguistic, and performative processes, for which the literary methodologies and compositional pedagogies of English provide critical tools.
Joking seems to be an inescapable part of the culture of email and mailing lists, and yet few have described the rhetorical functions of humor in these text-based forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC). In this article, we argue that humor serves a critical ethos function in online communities created by mailing lists. By connecting what humor theorists already recognize as a social dimension in joking to the contemporary interpretation of ethos as a constitutive force, we find that humor constitutes a virtual group ethos. Our model of ethos-building humor emphasizes its computer mediation, drawing close attention to what we identify as threads of constitutive laughter that form in mailing list discourse. We apply the model to the rhetoric of a university writing center mailing list.
In examining graduate student teaching assistants’ (TAs’) adjustment to their first teaching experience in first-year composition (FYC) classrooms, scholars have recently noted that the experience mirrors that of their FYC students. Both groups—new TAs and new FYC students—are grappling with instantiations of Courtney Cazden’s (1988) notion of performance before competence. Specifically, both new groups work within initially uncomfortable but ultimately developmentally positive levels of ambiguity, multiplicity, and open-endedness. Because the computer classroom experience of new TAs is generally not examined, in this qualitative study several first- and second-year TAs recount, in personal narratives, some of their early personal and educational experiences with computers and recall their perceptions of their first semester teaching FYC in the computer classroom. Their voices, combined with computers-and-composition theory and learning theory, suggest that the temptation to respond to new TAs’ feelings of dissonance with more intensive computer training prior to their teaching may not ameliorate their discomfort and may, in fact, be counterproductive. After examining these new TAs’ experiences, a perspective on TA preparation for computer pedagogy, based on Wenger’s (1998) notion of communities of practice, is presented.
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