Mentoring, Methodology, Social Media and Research, Video, History/Historiography


I've been working with several colleagues on problems attending the mentoring of women students in STEM fields, new teachers of professional writing, and women entering professional writing as a field.

  • Michele Simmons, Lisa Meloncon, Kristen Moore, Liza Potts and I completed a Keynote (upon receiving the Diana Award from the Association of Computing Machinery--SIGDOC) and an article for the Proceedings for SigDoc 15. Entitled "Intentionally Recursive: A Participatory Model for Mentoring," the talk and article reports on efforts that Women in TC have taken to research academic mentoring in Technical Communication and reshape it for our field's needs.

  • Michele Simmons, Kristen Moore, and I have an editorial in the current Programmatic Perspectives entitled "Mentoring Women Faculty in Technical Communication: Identifying Needs and the Emergence of Women in Technical Communication." It can be downloaded at:
  • Kristen Moore and I published "Time Talk: On the Power of Small Changes in Mentoring of Undergraduate Women" in Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. This article uses feminist approaches to mentoring as a way to assist STEM women (and men as well) practice a skill women engineers are thought to struggle with, i.e., developing language and practices that assist them in controlling and justifying their work time. That article has recently won the 2015 CCCC Award for best Article on Philosophy or Theory of Technical or Scientific Communication.

  • Alex Layne and I are working on a case study of mentoring new teachers of professional writing who are not disciplinarily affiliated with professional writing research.

  • Methodology

    Methodology is always on my mind. I look forward to starting a book with Michele Simmons, and in preparation I have worked on several publications that trace practices and extend some conference presentations that interrogate the building of small or mundane habits: 3 of 4 are placed.

    • "Tracing Uncertainties: Methodologies of a Door Closer" (with Michele Simmons and Kristen Moore) examines how Bruno Latour's sociological deployment of ANT works in his ethnographies (and might work in some of our public research);

    • "Methodological Ballast: Storytelling as a Balancing Practice in the Study of Posthuman Praxis" (with Emily Legg) that examines how varied uses of storytelling (particularly American Cherokee storytelling) interact with human and nonhuman agents in ways that facilitate posthuman praxis;

    • "Beckon, Encounter, Experience: The Danger of Control and the Promise of Encounters in the Study of User Experience." Rhetoric and Experience Architecture, edited by Liza Potts and Michael Salvo (book under review);

    • "'We say it as we see it': Promises and Challenges for using Participant Generated Images (PGI) as a Participatory Research Technique in Technical Communication" (article under review)

    Social Media and Research

    Social media both depends on communication and changes dimensions of that communication: techniques, technologies, audiences, archives, purposes, and yes even genres.

    • Mark Hannah and I are working on an approach to online research practices that are sensitive to disciplines as well as technology advances.


    Peter Fadde and I have written a series of articles on video and composing in digital environments.
    • The first article we published addressed developing a sustainable approach that would assist you in handling the rapid technology changes: "Video for the Rest of Us? Toward a sustainable process for incorporating video into multimedia composition." In D. DeVoss, H. McKee, & R. Selfe, eds., Technological Ecologies and Sustainability: Methods, Modes, and Assessment. Computers & Composition Digital Press and Utah State University Press, 2009.

    • A second article, "Guerrilla Video: Adjudicating the Credible and the Cool," appeared in a special issue of The Writing Instructor on "Disruptions of/in Professional Writing Pedagogy" in May 2010. It examines how professional writing teachers might navigate those difficult aesthetic shoals between the professional video look workplaces might want their employees to have and the grassroots aesthetics that most young people think are cool. Then it applies that discussion to video resumes found on YouTube.

    • Further, Educause Quarterly's December 2011 issues includes our "Cool and Credible Web Video: Old Rules, New Rules, No Rules?" That article contrasts the basic rules used in TV composition with emerging rules of YouTube composition, and includes a tutorial.

    • We also have been studying how video can be used by young teachers to improve the problems they notice in class. "Using Interactive Video to Develop Pre-Service Teachers' Classroom Awareness."  CITE Journal (Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education) 13. 2 (2013): 156-174.
    We continue to study and ponder the production of and reception of digital video in old and new public settings. . and how rhetoric plays a role.

    History and Historiography:
    Digital Humanities, Historiographies, and the Education of New Historians of Rhetoric

    • Together with Tarez Graban I have been investigating how advances in digital humanities impact both historiography in rhetorical history and the education of new historians of rhetoric. A first paper "Digital and Dustfree" that grew out of a session at a Feminisms and rhetoric Conference was published in Fall of 2011 in Peitho. A second paper is circulating. We also have a chapter on digital circulation that is included in an edited collection under review. It is entitled "New Rhetorics of Scholarship: Betweenness and Circulation as Feminist Historical Motives."
      "Digital and Dustfree" can be downloaded at:

    • I completed an historiographic article inspired by these projects and entitled "Inspecting Shadows of Past Classroom Practices: A Search for Student Voices" that was published in College Composition and Communication. It relates the stories of two quite different students from the early 1920s, Lena a student from a rural Indiana school who attended a normal school in summers in order to teach and Emmett an engineering study at VPI who enrolled in a technical writing class during spring of his senior year. Lena's voice comes from her notebooks saved and donated to a local historical society and Emmett's come from his marginal notes in his textbook. My argument is that their voices add needed vitality to accounts of pedagogical history.

    • Two projects related to the history of instruction in engineering writing are completed or underway. The first looks at evidence found in an old textbook about a 1924 technical writing class, interested in whether and in ways that class enacted a humanistic or a utilitarian approach. It starts with the marginal marks made by an electrical engineering student in a 1924 class in "Technical English" held at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The paper "After the Great War: Utility, Humanities, and Tracings from a Technical Writing Class in the 1920s" examines both the published discussion about instruction extant in that time period and the evidence of classroom work provided by E. L. Owens' marginalia from his copy of Homer Watt's 1917 The Composition of Technical Papers. This article appeared in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication in April 2012, and the proof for opening is attached.

    • The second project examines writing instruction inside engineering in the late nineteenth century, targeting the "Contracts and Specifications" classes that were popular in engineering schools that also had law schools. This project is co-authored with Mark Hannah, and we are interested in exploring the history of writing instruction that operated inside engineering. One question that motivates the work: If that approach had held sway, how different would our jobs be today?