Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key Kathleen Blake Yancey
The invention of the steam press and the production of paper made reading more accessible
a population shift from rural to urban areas promoted a rising middle class who had the funds to reading materials
A London Library circa 1850
access to computers and new technology has created a larger reading/writing public
the internet and social media are the "reading/writing circles" of today
the internet has connected people from all over the world
All of these activities are happening OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM!
The short version of the definition of writing by Merriam-Webster's online version:
- the activity or work of writing books, poems, stories, etc.
- the way that you use written words to express your ideas or opinions
- books, poems, essays, letters, etc.
Traditionally, the transition from high school to college-and freshman composition in particular-has been seen as a gatekeeping moment whereby many students find themselves enrolling, but not completing, college.
Today, it is estimated that 89% of students complete high school, with 65% of those students enrolling in college.
However, only 28% of Americans graduate from a 4-year college.
17% of African-Americans and only 10% of Latinos graduate from college.
Instead, what if we expanded out views and looked at college and writing as a gateway for students.
What if we designed a curriculum in composition that prepared students to become members of the writing public and to negotiate life. How might that alter what we think and what we do? Elizabeth Daley, dean of USC School of TV & Cinema
what would this new curriculum look like?
- compose real world genres
- decide which medium/delivery would be best-suited for communication & share with different audiences
- think about the transfer from one medium to the next (remixing, remediation)
- transfer learning from one site to another- on or off campus
- reflect on how these practices prepare them to become members of the writing public
Can you think of any other possible activities???
Do you think changes in composition curriculum like those suggested by Yancey might weaken the discipline? If so, how?