What are Place-Based Mobile Web Applications?

  • web-based (we used Adobe Muse to do our building)
  • functional tools rather than mere information dumps
  • user centered
  • designed for UBICOMP (in this case - using the system and simultaneously decentralizing it)
  • designed to function in specific spaces and places

This FYC (first -year composition classroom) practice developed out of a community writing project I worked on called "The Easley Bus Stop." In this project, I wanted to make an argument about why we needed to rethink a Clemson Bus Route.

But I quickly discovered that this practice would be extremely useful in my FYC classroom at Clemson.

The FYC classroom at Clemson is what I would characterize as a stagnant ecology

this stagnant ecology is...

  • territorialized
  • contiguous
  • white
  • privileged
  • secured by design

Teaching in such an environment begs the question: what is the role of the rhetoric and composition teacher in a stagnant ecology?

This is the question of advocacy vs. inquiry

Finding a place to stand in this classroom can be challenging.

It can also be difficult for our FYC students to even admit that we have problems at Clemson. This assignment requires students to:

1. Find a problem and assemble a cadre of like-minded students. (Piaget's Constructivism).

2. Build a gamified experience that draws the user to the physical problem (Papert's Constructionism).

3. Manipulate java script passcodes and embed them into the app to require the user to enter these spaces (Stolley, Karl. The Lo-fi Manifesto (2008).

This Practice compliments my Place–Based approach to Teaching Rhetoric Aided by the conceptual reading I borrow from Frank d' Angelo's "A Conceptual Theory of Rhetoric" (1975).

The most important move in this application is the transfer of agency to the user, what I argue is the most powerful function of rhetoric (cf. Burke, "A Grammar of Motives"). What enabling tools can we imagine to transform our user into activists?

Students approached this specific task in a variety of different ways, from crowd sourced composition to creating form fields that would be emailed directly to the Clemson University President or appropriate individual.

Results: Through this praxis, my students have the opportunity to engage in a public rhetoric through situated, student driven engagement. This, along with my GIS Mapping work, offers my students the opportunity to engage in the sort of topistic practices E.V. Walter discusses in Placeways, A Theory of Human Environment and that Nedra Reynolds fleshes out in Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference.

Works Cited

  • Ackermann, Edith. "Piaget’s Constructivism, Papert’s Constructionism: What’s the Difference." Future of Learning Group Publication 5.3 (2001): 438.
  • Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. University of California Press, 1969.
  • d'Angelo, Frank J. "A Conceptual Theory of Rhetoric." (1975).
  • Reynolds, Nedra. Geographies of Writing: Inhabiting Places and Encountering Difference. SIU Press, 2007.
  • Stolley, Karl. "The lo-fi Manifesto." Kairos 12.3 (2008)
  • Walter, Eugene Victor. Placeways: A Theory of the Human Environment. UNC Press Books, 1988.


Connect to My Talk


Created with images by Sweet Carolina Photography - "Clemson Football" • Sweet Carolina Photography - "Clemson Football" • umezy12 - "Classroom" • umezy12 - "Classroom" • Bombardier - "untitled image" • LoggaWiggler - "ruins ephesus theater"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.