Teaching Digital Literacies across the University

written by admin on August 12, 2014 in Doing EL and Writing with no comments

by Jessie L. Moore

In Writing in the 21st Century, Kathleen Blake Yancey writes:

“Today, in the 21st century, people write as never before – in print and online. We thus face three challenges that are also opportunities: developing new models of writing; designing a new curriculum supporting those models; and creating models for teaching that curriculum.”

Studies like the Revisualizing Composition project demonstrate that students write extensively in their daily lives, using a range of genres and technologies. Students also routinely make choices about how they compose texts based on their audiences and purposes. The Revisualizing Composition project focused on seven U.S. institutions, but work by Waycott et al. (2010) had similar findings in a multi-institutional study conducted in Australia. Their work reinforces that social and cultural contexts inform students’ choices about writing technologies.

These and other recent studies support efforts to develop new models of writing by helping teacher-scholars understand students’ composing practices, including students’ use of composing technologies as they navigate different genres for different audiences and purposes.

Fortunately, work in the fields of Computers and Composition, Multimedia Studies, and Writing Studies also offer strategies for new curricula and teaching models to support students’ developing digital literacies in writing-intensive courses across the university. Here are three examples from an Engineering Writing course, a first-year writing course, and an upper-level multimedia course:

Carl Whithaus shares his strategies for teaching students how to use images in engineering writing.


Kara Taczak describes how using a class blog helps students identify blogs as a community space for exchanging shared knowledge.


Paula Rosinski shares how she helps students understand the affordances of technologies.


The videos featured in this post were produced by the Center for Engaged Learning, with support from the Revson Foundation.


Jessie L. Moore (@jessielmoore) is the Associate Director of the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University and associate professor of Professional Writing & Rhetoric in the Department of English.