Planning The Future of Writing

Today we’re beginning our final unit, but before we do I want to check in on your reflection assignment for Unit 2, which is due tonight: any questions about what you need to do?

Unit 3: The Future of Writing (FOW) Project

First, let’s review the [assignment] for Unit 3.

Exploring the mission and work of FOW

FOW brings together a few different ideas: it focuses on technology and digital culture but is targeted toward an audience of undergraduate students who have their own sets of norms, concerns, and expectations. At the time when my WRT students and I started it last fall, we could not find any digital culture sites directed toward college students; however, there were several excellent sites focused on college students and college life more generally, as well as many sites that focus on digital and techno-culture [see the “Examples of sites” link under Unit 3, above].

Our goal now is to (re)imagine the space of FOW — thanks to those previous students, we now have some ideas on how such a space might work. Last semester those writers looked at the example sites just noted and developed a list of ideas on this Google Document. Above all, they were looking for sustainable, reusable programming that would be exciting to compose and produce over and over. That’s where you come in.

Building out FOW

As you browse the contents of FOW, you’ll notice some patterns. Take some time to do this and answer some questions on this Google Doc. After a while, we’ll convene and talk about the project through this document.

As you consider ideas for your project, you’ll likely come up with one of the following options. Any of these, it’s worth noting, can be produced by multiple authors. If you are interested in working with a partner or in groups, however, I do expect your work to reflect that added labor.

1. Build from a previous writer’s research/writing subject. This would entail picking up where a project left off, such as Julie’s feature story, “Defining Analog.” As Julie notes in her letter, if you wanted to extend her project exploring digital and analog tech, you might “address the bias in current culture that states one is better over the other. Talk about the subject in way that brings the divide together. ” In other words, you might use Julie’s idea and her research to make this piece stronger and more developed.

2. Contribute a new post to a project that was pitched for repeated or serialized content. Taylor’s piece, “The life lessons I learned from a cheap old Kodak film camera” reflects on her relationship with an older film camera: the Kodak STAR 35. You might similarly reflect on a technology that you grew up with, or feel nostalgic for now that it’s gone. As Taylor writes in her letter, authors interested in this idea might reflect upon certain memories associated with the object, research the object,  be critical of it, and/or ask questions of it. She also lists several links of articles that are written similarly. Feeling nostalgic lately for that old Tamagotchi? Now is your chance to emote.

3. Work on the space itself through site design, social media presence, etc. FOW offers an opportunity to take your current WordPress skills to the next level. You can help the site by finding better themes, plug-ins, or widgets that make the space more functional and attractive. And like most digital publications, FOW also needs people to develop or manage additional spaces like Twitter and Instagram and design other elements for those sites. Consider what Amanda did last semester, for example. She learned how to use Photoshop to create several possible banners and logos for FOW. In her letter, she says that she wished she ran the banner ideas with the classes before settling on one. Students who work on this might help see which banners the class likes and tweak from there.

4. Come up with a new idea. If nothing seems really attractive to you or (better yet) you have an idea you want to work on,  pitch it. I may know of an existing piece you should check out, or might help you find ways to think about how to write it beyond simply using alphabetic text. For example, Kim and Gia created a podcast about the new dorms for their project. 

Homework for Wednesday, 4/11

Finish your reflection on Unit 2 and think about what you want to do for FOW by reading the site.