Writing Technologies and Writing Across the Curriculum: Current Lessons and Future Trends

Guest editor: Karin J. Lunsford, Writing Program, University of California at Santa Barbara

In their introduction to WAC for the New Millennium , Susan McLeod and Eric Miraglia note both challenges and advantages to WAC programs that may result as teaching with technology becomes widespread. On one hand, there is a concern that as instructors across campus begin to teach with technology, they face economic and administrative pressures to adopt pedagogies inimical to WAC goals. Technology becomes a means to "deliver instruction" more efficiently to ever larger classes, and thus the "banking model of education" may become privileged. On the other hand, technologies and uses for technologies are myriad, and instructors interested in WAC have always been adept at creating "cognitively rich" activities, spaces, and media for and with their students. Moreover, the technologies and norms for producing, revising, responding to, and distributing writing—whether to the general public or within the disciplines—rapidly change, and instructors respond to those changes. This special issue of ATD will explore how and why WAC/WID initiatives incorporate writing technologies, negotiate (or not) the calls for efficiency, and adapt to evolving disciplinary and cultural norms for writing.

We invite proposals for articles that explore questions such as the following, as well as others related to the topic of Writing Technologies and WAC/WID.

  • ECAC (Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum) programs have been established for some time. Have the distinctions between ECAC and WAC/WID collapsed in today's academy? If not, what distinctions remain? If so, what are the consequences for programs today and in the future? And what lessons regarding efficiency and ingenuity have we learned from ECAC?
  • Many campuses have adopted or are planning to adopt course management systems (Moodle, Blackboard/WebCT, Sakai, TOPIC, etc.). The CMSs offer various technologies for writing and writing instruction. How does the use of a CMS intersect (or not) with WAC/WID initiatives?
  • WAC/WID initiatives often involve Writing Centers and Online Writing Labs (OWLs). What does research have to say about the intersections among WAC/WID programs, Writing Centers and/or OWLs, and writing technologies? Are new models developing?
  • How are WAC/WID programs addressing the increase in multimodal forms of communication?
  • How are WAC/WID programs addressing changes in disciplinary and cultural norms for writing (e.g., new publication or distribution formats, attitudes toward intellectual property, the use of social networking software, etc.)?
  • Faculty across the curriculum often develop technologies for writing and for teaching (and assessing) writing—with or without consulting writing specialists. For example, faculty have advanced technologies such as calibrated peer review; plagiarism detection services; clickers; websites and blogs with writing advice; citation managers; and so on. How do WAC/WID programs intersect with these faculty initiatives? What strategies do programs adopt when faculty initiatives are at odds with WAC/WID goals?
  • Do writing technologies enable multi-institutional and/or multi-national collaborations among WAC/WID programs? What models, if any, are evolving for such collaborations?
  • What does research about WAC/WID programs have to tell us about questions of student and faculty access to technologies and/or about their use of technologies?
  • How should we best train instructors across the curriculum to use writing technologies?
  • What are the effects of computerized assessments of writing (e.g., ETS's e-rater) on WAC/WID?
  • What technologies aside from computers should WAC/WID programs consider? What innovations on the horizon are likely to impact programs? What technologies should WAC/WID programs actively develop or take part in developing over the next ten years?
  • As technologies become familiar, they often become invisible. What writing technologies deserve to be revisited at this point?

We're eager to read innovative work that critically explores the foundations, implications, and influence of writing technologies and WAC/WID initiatives—work that is theoretically informed, that offers original research data, and that builds on appropriate literature reviews. Although descriptions of specific WAC/WID initiatives are welcome, they should be situated within an analysis of a larger issue(s). We welcome inquiries about ideas for proposals.

Deadline for Proposals: August 1, 2007

Notification of Acceptance: by October 2007

Manuscripts Due: February 1, 2008

Publication: Fall 2008

Proposal Format: Please submit a one-page proposal explaining your topic, the research and theoretical base on which you will draw, and your plans for the structure of your article. Proposals and manuscripts should follow APA documentation style, which is the standard for Across the Disciplines. Send your proposal electronically (in MS Word format) to Karin J. Lunsford (klunsford@writing.ucsb.edu), guest editor, and Michael Pemberton (michaelp@georgiasouthern.edu), the editor of ATD. Please be sure to include your full contact information.