Tag Archives: Burkean Parlor

Expanding Texts, Collapsing Conversations: Multimodal Tutoring

Throughout the semester, we have been discussing how instructors are increasingly assigning both the consumption and production of digital texts. What we have not discussed, however, is how this alteration in classroom pedagogy affects the writing centers that aid these classes. In recent years, writing center tutorials have seen an influx of digital and multimodal texts. Because of this influx, tutors and writing center scholars have had to expand what they consider “writing,” or, in other words, what types of texts they consider appropriate material for writing center work. In addition to rethinking what writing is, we also need to rethink the types of conversations that writing center tutorials engage in. While these conversations were once purely academic, they now include elements of visual design, popular culture, and humor—just to name a few.

For my digital essay, I will examine how this shift in conversations alters writing center pedagogy. More specifically, I want to think about how the inclusion of digital assignments that span academic/popular conversations—e.g. blogs, “gif stories,” and mock-facebook conversations—change the conversations of the writing center tutorial. To accomplish this task, I will use the theoretical lenses of Kenneth Bruffee and Kenneth Burke to engage with current discussions of multimodal tutorials, such as David Sheridan’s and James Inman’s collection of essays Multiliteracy Centers: Writing Center Work, New Media, and Multimodal Rhetoric and Arlene Archers “Dealing with Multimodal Assignments in Writing Centers.” In addition to these scholarly works, I also hope to include video interviews of several UD writing center tutors on their experiences working with multimodal texts.

As of now, I am leaning towards wordpress as my format for this essay. Because this is such a multifaceted issue, I imagine each post dealing with different aspects. I have chosen wordpress because of the more conversational nature of the blog format. Because pedagogy is always developing, I do not want this essay to be a final word on multimodal tutorials. Rather, I want it to participate in a conversation that other writing center scholars can comment on and contribute to. I’m imagining my blog to follow a format similar to that of a specialty recipe blog. I want it to contain posts that are all different from each other, yet linked together under the same theme. So like this vegan dessert blog, my posts will all contain the same types of ingredients, but put them together in various ways to show different recipes writing center strategies.

Right now, I have two pressing (groups of) questions: first, do you think that wordpress is the best format for this project? What about my recipe blog analogy? How literally do you think I should take this analogy? Is there some other format that you think I should consider? And, second, because you have all been writing center tutors, are there certain issues that you think are really important for me to address? What were the biggest challenges that you faced when working with non-traditional texts in the writing center? What other conversations do you think multimodal texts bring to writing center tutorials?