Rhetoric and Composition PhD
Rhetoric and Writing Teacher
Digital Rhetoric Scholar
Currently, I'm working on two separate research projects.
The first, "Ways of Knowing and Doing in Digital Rhetoric in a Post-Truth Era," follows up on the project Stephen McElroy, Matt Davis, and I started in 2015 (listed just below) that explores the ways scholars in Digital Rhetoric understand and articulate their best practices vis-á-vis the emerging subfield. In March 2019, we attended the University of Alabama's Digital Rhetoric / Digital Media in the Post-Truth Age Symposium to conduct another around of interviews (outside of ourselves, only two scholars participated in the 2015 interviews). This time, we included some new questions keyed to issues related to post-truth. As of now, we're coding the data pertaining to interview questions focused on post-truth to create a video for a special edition of enculturation thematized around the aforementioned Symposium. Going forward, we intend to work with the data as a whole to create a digital book about ways of knowing and doing in Digital Rhetoric over the past decade.
The second, "Designing Tutors: Mapping Multiliteracy Center Training," is a collaborative project with Elisabeth Buck and Noah Patterson that surveys multiliteracy center tutors at three different locations—Ball State University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and Florida State University—about the training they received. In particular, this project seeks to understand better not only how multiliteracy center tutors are trained but also how such training is similar to yet different from the training they receive to work in (more traditional) writing centers. Overall, this project spotlights tutor training and illuminates how such training responds in particular to the emergence of and attention allotted to digital and/or multimodal texts.
Ways of Knowing and Doing in Digital Rhetoric
In April 2015, members from the emerging subfield of Digital Rhetoric convened at Indiana University for the inaugural Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium (IDRS). The purpose of the Symposium in general was to facilitate discussions about digital rhetoric, but more specifically, it was a means to explore the connections and disconnections between the subfields of Digital Rhetoric and Digital Humanities. As scholars who identify as digital rhetoricians, my colleagues (Matt Davis and Stephen McElroy) and I were interested in exploring how others who do work in Digital Rhetoric describe their individual experiences and how those experiences begin to frame the contours of this nascent subfield. In order to gain such insights, we interviewed participants at the Symposium: in particular, we asked 25 different scholars 10 questions about not only how they define and understand digital rhetoric but also how they teach and research digital rhetoric, and we video-recorded their answers.
In "Ways of Knowing and Doing in Digital Rhetoric: A Primer", published in a special edition of enculturation devoted to the IDRS, we share some initial findings from our project.
In addition, we've shared findings at national conferences. At Computers and Writing in May 2016, we participated in a panel titled "Ways of Knowing and Doing in Digital Rhetoric." My portion of the panel, which shares and analyzes the data pertaining to teaching digital rhetoric, is available as a video and embedded to the right (top video). I expanded on this project in my April 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication presentation titled "The Teaching of Digital Rhetoric and the Cultivation of an Emerging (Sub)Field," which is also available as a video and embedded to the right (bottom video).
We have continued to examine and work with the data about teaching digital rhetoric by developing a webtext titled "Ways of Knowing and Doing in Digital Rhetoric: Pedagogy," which will be published at Kairos in the spring 2020 (24.2) issue.
Recent Conference Presentations
"It Reeks Like a Boy’s Locker Room: Twitter’s Digital Aphorisms and Toxic Masculinity" is a presentation I delivered via video (top video) at Computers and Writing 2018. In this presentation, I highlight the ways the tweet, as a short form genre of digital rhetoric operating as a digital aphorism, not only makes possible but also invites a digital manifestation and performance of toxic masculinity, one exacerbated by Twitter’s terms of service and inadequate measures for detecting and enforcing punitive consequences for harassment, gaslighting, sexism, and racism. In addition, this presentation demonstrates the ways those who are targets of this noxious rhetoric have leveraged the tweet—and Twitter as a digital space—to expose and resist digital toxic masculinity. Drawing on examples such as #metoo, this presentation considers whether Twitter can be a digital realization of using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house.
"Why am I getting Downvoted: The Yakarma of Rhetorical Failure," which I presented via video (middle video) at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) 2016 with Morgan C. Leckie, explores instances of failure that are delineated by and happen within the emerging (and perhaps failing) social media platform Yik Yak. Responding to the app itself as well as articles that characterize Yik Yak as a potential problem for college campuses, we examine the ways Yik Yak’s interface design defines and silences failure, thereby conditioning its users to search for, identify, and respond to “glitches.” Through its interface design and coding, Yik Yak makes possible three distinct kinds of failure: (1) technological glitches, (2) violations of best practices, and (3) collaborative convergence and consensus. Using this framework of failure as a hermeneutic, we share the results of a pedagogical unit on Yik Yak that asks students to analyze Yik Yak glitches in an effort to understand better how the app’s interface promotes not only appropriate Yak content but also, in a Foucauldian sense, digital policing in terms of what is “normal” and “upvoted” or “abnormal” and “downvoted.”
"Wrestling with Audience: Fans Hit the Mark as the YES! Movement Flips the Script," (bottom slides) delivered at Computers and Writing 2015, explores the convoluted interaction between the most successful North American professional wrestling company, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and its ardent fans. To illustrate in greater detail this intricate interchange, this presentation rhetorically analyzes the YES! Movement and the saga of Daniel Bryan, who through the collective power and support of the fans was eventually inserted into the main event of the biggest show (at that point in time) in the company’s history, WrestleMania 30. In chronicling Daniel Bryan’s unprecedented, unexpected, and audience-influenced journey to the top of the “card,” I demonstrate the complicated rhetorical exchange between the WWE and its audience, contending that agency in professional wrestling is a tenuous and fluid concept that is informed by the use of various communication technologies.
My dissertation, "Now with More Modes?: The Curricular Design and Implementation of Multimodality in Undergraduate Major Programs in Writing/Rhetoric," explores the intersection of two relatively recent phenomena in the field of rhetoric and composition: (1) the proliferation of undergraduate major programs in writing/rhetoric, and (2) the increase in multimodal composing and in the scholarship surrounding it. More specifically, this project examines the design and implementation of curricula attentive to and inclusive of multimodality, paying close attention to the ways multimodality is taught, assessed, and supported within undergraduate major programs in writing/rhetoric. To provide this portrait of multimodal curricula, I surveyed program representatives of 21 undergraduate major programs in writing/rhetoric and conducted case studies of three major programs in particular: one with low multimodal activity, one with medium activity, and one with high activity.
The images to the right will link you to two different Prezi presentations: (1) the top one provides an overview of the project and shares data collected via the survey, and (2) the bottom one shares and synthesizes data collected via the case studies.
Below you can access my dissertation abstract and my dissertation as a whole.
This project, "Addressing the Situation: An Analysis of the CCCC Chairs’ Addresses of the Last 11 Years (1998-2008)," extends Ellen Barton’s 1997 historical study of the first twenty CCCC Chairs’ Addresses where she examines what she calls “a tradition of […] ‘evocative gestures’—the articulation of broad concerns in the field” (235). In her analysis, Barton demonstrates two themes: (1) accordant gestures about the complexity of teaching composition and the service this teaching provides to students and the community and (2) conflicting gestures about how best to represent the field through research and where the field should be housed within the academy. Between the publication of Barton’s study and the time this project was completed, eleven new Addresses were delivered, thus providing an exigence for additional research. This project responded to that exigence by analyzing the past eleven CCCC Chairs’ Addresses, starting with Cynthia Selfe’s in 1998 and concluding with Cheryl Glenn’s in 2008. The results from this research show the emergence of three new themes in gestures different from the two Barton identifies: recurring gestures about (1) literacy, (2) our stake in writing, and (3) diversity. This project makes two significant contributions to our understanding of our own history: (1) using a coherent set of texts, it maps the important topics in our field over the last eleven years, and (2) using Barton’s themes as an historical context, it illustrates how the focus in our field has changed since the inception of the CCCC Chair’s Address in 1977.
Clicking the button below will direct you to a digital version of my thesis.
Previous Conference Presentations
Located to the right are buttons for digital texts I’ve presented at previous conferences. Clicking an image to the right will open up a window that provides a description of the presentation, the location and date of the conference at which it was presented, and a link to the actual text.
These digital texts complement two digital pedagogy poster sessions (top) and two panel presentations (bottom). Each of these digital texts speaks to either my pedagogical or my administrative experiences. These texts also highlight the importance of technology not only to my scholarship but also to my pedagogical and administrative work.
This website functioned as a digital pedagogy poster at the 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Las Vegas, NV. The webpage focuses on a remediation/remix unit delivered to an upper-level rhetoric and composition course. It features pedagogical materials—including the assignment prompt, the corresponding rhetorical rationale, and in-class exercises—as well as examples of student-created remediations and remixes.
This website functioned as a digital pedagogy poster at the 2012 Conference on College Composition and Communication in St. Louis, MO. The webpage focuses on a professional portfolio unit delivered to an upper-level rhetoric and composition course. It features pedagogical materials—including the assignment prompt, the corresponding process memo, a set of in-class exercises, and a class-created heuristic—as well as examples of student-created professional portfolios.
This Prezi complemented Natalie Szymanski’s and my presentation at the 2011 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Atlanta, GA. The Prezi explores the emergence of Digital Studios by tracing the history and projecting the future of such tutoring spaces. In addition, this Prezi focuses specifically on the Digital Studio at Florida State University, speaking to its development and current practices.
This website complemented my panel’s presentation at the 2011 Computers and Writing conference in Anne Arbor, MI. My portion of the panel and website focuses on a Keyword Project assigned to an upper-level course in rhetoric and composition. This page of the website features assigned readings and a set of keywords explored through various projects as well as pedagogical materials, including the assignment prompt, the corresponding process memo, and a heuristic on genre conventions.
Prezi vs. PowerPoint
This text, "One of these Things is Not Like the Other?: Exploring Prezi's Relationship with PowerPoint through the Lens of Accessibility, Function, and Authentication," applies Dennis Baron's framework from "Pencils to Pixels" to two popular presentation platforms, Prezi and PowerPoint. Baron's framework offers three criteria for new communication technologies emerging and gaining acceptance historically: accessibility, function, and authentication. After articulating the origin and history of each platform, this text puts the two in dialogue with one another, arguing that Prezi is paradoxically associating itself with while simultaneously distancing itself from PowerPoint.
Because this argument is delivered through Prezi itself, this text concludes by raising meta questions about the form academic work takes and the way such forms are becoming increasingly digital. To "read" this Prezi about Prezi's relationship with PowerPoint, click the image to the right.