Trahan: Are there any upcoming articles or issues or themes of Computers and Composition: An International Journal that you are really excited about?
Blair: Well, I think the literacy narratives issue [in September 2012] is going to be very cool. Any time you are emphasizing that notion of narrative, you’re emphasizing lived experience, you’re emphasizing voices from the margins. And, given John Scenters Zapico’s work on borderland voices in his Generaciones’ Narratives—read that book through CCDP [Computers and Composition Digital Press]; it’s very very powerful: the different generations of narratives he chronicles, and the acquisition of not only multilingualism but multimodal literacies…it’s just a stellar treatment, both historically and methodologically, as well as technologically, because he captures all of this in video form. And so it’s a great great book—and I think that he’s replicating that at the editorial level through this particular issue with Sally Chandler. So I’m excited about the types of pieces that we’re going to get there. Also, there are some other people who are wanting to look at disability studies in relation to technology; so, you know, looking at the types of rhetorics that evolve both pro and con when we talk about issues of access and issues of ability with regard to technological literacy. That’s an exciting prospect. I think that I’m excited about any type of submission or issue that fosters new voices in the dialogue. So both of those represent new voices.
We’re supposed to get a special issue having to do with the technological have-nots. The idea that, you know, we sit here at Bowling Green—and despite the things we might carp about over a beer or something—it’s a digitally-rich campus; we don’t have problems accessing technology. But what happens when you go to work in a community college where you have no access to a computer lab, or if the computer labs don’t have something like Adobe Dreamweaver on them? So if you want your students to do a website, how are you going to have them do that? And how are you going to use a tool like Composer or Weebly or Wix—which have some capacity but certainly aren’t as robust and don’t foster the level of multimodality or even the skill set that would be really beneficial to students inside and outside of the academy? So that proposed issue is supposed to deal with that.
And then on the online side we’re supposed to get an issue on the community college, and how these issues play out there. And I know that the submissions are all there and done—it’s just that the guest editors have to give them to us. So, again, this notion of looking at teaching writing with technology in ways that talks about the politics of location—
Blair: …and the politics of access. And so I think any submission or issue that deals with those issues is very very important. I got a query the other day about whether or not writing about something from a high school perspective would be acceptable for the journal. And I said yes, because that bridge between what happens at the secondary school level and what happens in college is so important.
Trahan: Right. That’s great!
Blair: Yeah, because sometimes more is happening there than is happening here.
Trahan: What do you mean “more”?
Blair: Well, if you think about the public schools, there’s more emphasis on the language arts, even with the common core standards that are being enforced. The National Council of Teachers of English is emphasizing this multiliteracy: the idea of visual literacy, the idea of media literacy, the idea of technological literacy that is not just functional, but also, à la Stuart Selber, rhetorical and critical. And so that gets emphasized. You know, you have to meet those standards in the public schools—and I think that’s exciting. And we’re not necessarily held to the same learning outcomes in the teaching of first-year writing, in particular. First-year writing can be taught in a very product-based way, and I’m sure is taught just that way in institutions all around the country.