Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition

By Anne Frances Wysocki; Johndan Johnson-Eilola et al. | Go to book overview

STUDENTS WHO
TEACH US
A Case Study of A New Media Text Designer

Cynthia L. Selfe

Why have increasing numbers of English composition teachers turned their attention to new media texts in recent years? What is it about these texts—and the literacies associated with their creation and exchange—that keep us paying attention to them? And what is it that prevents many of us from using them systematically in the composition classroom?

In using the term “new media texts,” I mean to refer to texts created primarily in digital environments, composed in multiple media (e.g., film, video, audio, among others), and designed for presentation and exchange in digital venues. These texts generally place a heavy emphasis on visual elements (both still and moving photography, images, graphics, drawings, renderings, animations) and sound, and they often involve some level of interactivity. Although such texts often include some alphabetic features, they also typically resist containment by alphabetic systems, demanding the multiple literacies of seeing and listening and manipulating, as well as those of writing and reading. Because new media texts often resist conventions of traditional fiction or nonfiction genres, they may appear unfamiliar to those of us raised on print texts and invested in the cultural systems of print literacy. Typical of such texts— especially those that locate themselves in the general area of experimental communicative arts—is an exploratory focus on aesthetics, design, and innovative visual presentation that spans prose/poem/performance (e.g., “The most painful distance in the world” at the eneriwoman site ; “The Modern Era” featured in the experimental section of the online magazine Artistica or the texts in the Exploratives section of Netdiver ).

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