Category: "Welcome"

"Multiliteracies for Inclusive Technologies: A Case Study on Location-Based Services and Domestic Violence Survivors" by Jennifer Roth Miller

Jennifer Roth Miller

Jennifer Roth Miller is a student in the Texts and Technology Doctoral Program at the University of Central Florida. Jennifer's research interests explore the convergence of philanthropy, social justice, education, corporate social responsibility, and cause-based marketing in socially constructing collective views on issues such as technology, lifestyle, health, and community.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Location-Based Services & Privacy

Location-Based Services & Privacy Cont.

Domestic Violence Survivors & Geolocation: A Case Study

Digital Literacy Possibilities for Domestic Violence Survivors

Digital Literacy Possibilities for Domestic Violence Survivors Cont.

Potential for Rhetoric & Composition

Works Cited

Abstract

Location-based services on smartphones connect users with real-time relevant information such as maps, directions, recommendations, reviews, and opportunities to connect socially. At the same time, these applications supply the network with users’ personal and location information. Posting on social media allows people to build positive identity socially. However, people barter away small bits of privacy with each user agreement and post. Users’ personal and location information, embedded in code and metadata, is aggregated across sites to produce geodemographic and activity pattern information and is sold as a commodity to advertisers. Beyond marketing, location-based services offer tech-savvy criminals another tool for tracking. This case study investigates users' privacy concerns and the degree of their concerns about safety, monitoring, and crime; these were found to vary across demographics such as age and gender. Impact to the mainstream public is generally considered low, however, domestic violence survivors emerged as a non-mainstream population whose safety is severely jeopardized by the technology. This case study examines how location-based services impact the safety of domestic violence survivors and reveals ways that emerging technologies might be shaped by a variety of actors, ranging from technology designers, to mainstream and non-mainstream users, to rhetoric and composition professors who strive to be more inclusive and just. This case study elucidates a model for promoting social justice in future technologies by fostering multiliteracies on many fronts.

Keywords: location-based services, smartphones, social media, intimate partner violence

Pages: 1· 2· 3· 4· 5· 6· 7· 8· 9

"Assisting Writers with Assistive Technology" by Maggie Collins

Maggie Collins

Maggie Collins is earning her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include writing program administration, writing assessment, and composition pedagogy. Before attending BGSU, she attended DePaul University where she earned her M.A. in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse while working at DePaul University’s University Center for Writing-based Learning as a peer writing tutor.

Contents

Introduction

Assistive Technology Overview

Assistive Technology Overview Cont.

Framework for AT in Writers Centers

Focus Group Research

Focus Group Research Cont.

Discussion

Assistive Technology Recommendations

Conclusion

Works Cited

Introduction

Writing center tutors try to accommodate every writer who wants feedback, but tutors often utilize the same strategies for different writers. These strategies are not effective with all writers because everyone has different learning styles and composing processes; therefore, it is necessary to determine how writing centers can better serve writers so that they can easily create drafts that capitalize on their skills.

With the increase of technology use and technological advances today, writing centers should examine using assistive technology (AT) in tutorials to see how it can help writers in a new way. Assistive technology is defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, off-the-shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (as cited in Raskind & Higgins, 1998, pg. 27). This definition follows most people’s understanding of assistive technology, which makes AT a “marked” term that implies users have learning disabilities (LDs). However, the definition is slowly evolving, such that it expands to include an even broader spectrum of users: “Assistive Technology (AT) is a tool for making the learning environment more accessible and for enhancing individual productivity” (Hetzroni & Shrieber, 2004, pg. 143). Yet, even this expansion does not effectively alter the state of the word’s meaning, because the word is still widely associated with disabilities. 

Because of this definition and the adjustment to high-tech tools, many tutors are hesitant about using AT during appointments and tend to shy away from it completely and thereby miss opportunities to help writers improve their skills using new methods. One method to encourage AT use may solely be education on the subject, so the first portion of this essay reveals how assistive technology encourages writers and aids in writing skill development to ensure it is a tool that can help tutors better accommodate writers. Next, the frames of Universal Instructional Design and learning preferences will be overviewed to explain how tutors can think about incorporating AT into sessions with various types of learners. This information sets up the information gathered from a focus group of writing tutors regarding how writing tutors feel about using AT in their appointments and recommending them to writers.  The final section utilizes the focus group findings, discusses them to determine how tutors may think about the implications of AT, and recommends which specific technologies writing centers should integrate into their tutor training.   

Pages: 1· 2· 3· 4· 5· 6· 7· 8· 9· 10

"Digital Media Strategies in a 21st Century Church" by Celina M. Yebba

Celina M. Yebba

I am a graduate student at the University of Central Florida, working towards a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Composition. Prior to graduate school, I was assigned to a civil engineering squadron in the United States Air Force, and was deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the 560th RED HORSE. My research interests include digital evangelization and social media composition.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

History of Christian Media Use

History of Christian Media Use Cont.

Religious Use of Digital Media

Religious Use of Digital Media Cont.

Conclusion

Works Cited

 

Abstract

As with business marketing, the success of religious organizations relies heavily upon the effective use of new-media forms. Common social media trends such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram have an unquestionable impact on the way in which Internet users view particular religious organizations.

There is a diverse field of existing research that draws connections between the digital media presence of Christian organizations and the involvement of young adults in religious groups. Through the detailed examination of this research, I will evaluate whether or not, despite advancements in technological and digital media, Christian-based organizations have adapted to the needs of a 21st century followership. My intention is to assess the ways in which religious institutions are employing digital technology by reviewing the content of major Christian-sponsored websites like CatholicsComeHome.org and Mormon.org. Through this I will be able to determine whether or not the current media strategies are engaging both parishioners and potential converts. I will also explore the ways in which Christian institutions are employing Internet technology and make suggestions as to how these institutions could apply new digital evangelization techniques to enhance their followership.

 

Pages: 1· 2· 3· 4· 5· 6· 7· 8

Welcome to Issue 11.2 of Xchanges!

 

Welcome to Issue 11.2 of Xchanges!  A lot has been going on with us, and we’re excited to catch our readers up. 

As of Fall 2015, Xchanges has a new home at the University of New Mexico.  After eight great years at New Mexico TechXchanges is excited about new opportunities and growth from its new base at UNM. The format you see here, which is a new design and operates on a new content management system, is the work of a great group of New Mexico Tech Technical Communication students, undertaken as a part of their ENGL 371 course, “Publications Management,” in Spring 2015.  The students redesigned the site, migrated the old site over to the new CMS, and fixed a good many glitches that existed on our old HTML site.  Many thanks to the NMT students who worked so hard on the journal, particularly Summer 2015 intern Makala Hannagan.  In Spring 2016, a University of New Mexico exchange student, Ashleigh Topping, whose home university is Swansea University in the UK, worked as an Xchanges intern, building the current issue you see here and the forthcoming graduate student issue, 12.2.  Many thanks to Ashleigh, also, for her incredible work.

In Spring 2016, Xchanges was the “client” for a group of Documentation student in UNM’s ENGL 414 class, and the insights they derived from analysis of the journal and its web traffic metrics will be invaluable to the journal’s growth. Editors of other multimodal writing studies journals (Doug Eyman of Kairos and Justin Hodgson of TheJUMP) both shared their insights with these students via Skype visits and significantly enhanced the analyses the UNM students were able to produce in various types of documents examining multiple aspects of Xchanges.

As I’ve expressed above, one of Xchanges’s principal missions is a “teaching” mission, as Xchanges is the project on which many technical and professional communication students have worked over many of the last fifteen years, since the journal was founded. But, of course, Xchanges is nothing – in fact, cannot exist as a journal, naturally -- without the multimodal and traditional scholarly works of the student writers who are published on its web pages. You will find in the current issue here, Issue 11.2, four excellently written and well designed undergraduate research projects.  As the journal’s editor, I hope that these upper-level undergraduate research projects serve as inspirations and models of this level of scholarly rigor and clear information design for other undergraduate students who might be working on a project for a class or who might be hoping to publish their own undergraduate thesis or capstone project.

In this issue are articles by Wyn Andrews-Richards (University of Nebraska Lincoln), Benjamin Sherick (University of Calgary), Kristy Lesperance (University of British Columbia), and Mikal Lambdin (George Mason University). These four texts reveal the rich diversity of approaches within writing studies to primary text analysis, whether this “primary text” is a film (as it is in Lambdin’s essay "A Different Kind of War Film: The Ethos of the Individual Soldier in The Hurt Locker"), mathematical scholarly journal articles (the subject of Lesperance’s study of “code glosses” in "Strengthening Connections with the Audience: Reformation and Exemplification in Mathematics Research Articles"), online forums of those skeptical of vaccine safety (communities studied by Andrews-Richards in "Exploring Science Literacy and the Literacy Communities of the Anti-Vaccination Movement"), or the ethos-generating capacity of a preacher’s Sunday morning sermon (studied by Sherick in "The Ethos of Mark Driscoll: A Summary of an Undergraduate Thesis").  By reading the titles of these four article alone, I am confident that Xchanges’s readers will be excited by this breadth and will be curious to read the conclusions drawn by these undergraduate researchers in the fields of rhetoric, communication, the rhetoric of science, and mathematical discourse analysis.

As Xchanges celebrates its fifteenth birthday, as Editor I want to thank all of our readers, the faculty members who encourage their undergraduate students and graduate students to submit their work for review, the readers who comprise our 20+-member-strong faculty review board, the supportive members of the ejournal community within writing studies, and the students who have worked on/for Xchanges as students enrolled in courses that I have taught, as interns who have worked dedicatedly on journal production and social media expansion, and as directed study students.  Xchanges is poised for growth, the next example of which is our next issue, graduate-student issue 12.1, which will be released quickly on the heels of this present issue.

We look forward to receiving new submissions from prospective authors for our next undergraduate and graduate-student writers in the coming academic year and we – the entire Xchanges production collaborative—hope you will follow us or “like” us on Facebook and Twitter and will visit us at conferences in 2016-2017 (including the Research Network Forum at CCCCs).  Enjoy this current issue!

--Julianne Newmark

Pages: 1· 2

"Rhetorical Web Design: Thinking Critically about Ready-Made Web Templates and the Problem of Ease" by Jason Tham

Jason Tham

Jason Tham is a PhD student in the Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication program at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities. His current research includes connected knowledge making and sharing, digital and visual rhetorics, and new inventions in writing and communication technology. His scholarly works have appeared in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Intercom, and Digital America: Journal of Digital Culture and American Life.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Of Ease & Efficiency: The Problem with Template-Driven Web Designs

Agency, Techne, and Extreme Usability

Agency, Techne, and Extreme Usability

Analysis of a Template: WordPress.com

Analysis of a Template: WordPress.com Cont.

Recommendations & Conclusion

Works Cited

Appendices

Abstract

Recently, programming and web-writing courses have observed an exploded enrollment of young professionals and students who are eager to learn how to program and develop code literacy. While the rewards of creating and using such frameworks are ease and efficiency, novice developers risk relying too heavily on the prefabricated works of others, allowing them to focus more on ease than skill. Such a practice may also misguide developers to becoming unaware of the larger cultural and functional contexts within which the technology was developed. The overall ease of usability strips away the developer and designer’s ability to exercise rhetorical agency over the development of an interface. To explicate the concerns central to the use and misuse of “easy,” ready-made templates, the author examines website templates from WordPress.com to evaluate their design flexibility using the concepts of agency and techne. By doing so, the author challenges the validation of ease in using prefabricated applications and ready-made web templates – teaching users to analyze specific audiences and rhetorical situations in the design of websites, and not to compromise their autonomy in full self-expressions and identity on the web.

Pages: 1· 2· 3· 4· 5· 6· 7· 8· 9