“Old Wine in A New Bottle”—Literacies, and the Intertextuality Between the Print and the Digital

My response this week is on Kathleen Blake Yancey’s “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key” because I had a headache with Cheryl Ball’s “Show, Not Tell: The Value of New Media Scholarship”.

The latter mentions the growing difficulties for teachers in our field to gain tenure position through limited publication possibilities, which is also true in China because you have to get well-known first to be able to publish. Besides, you have to spend your own money to get any book published unless you are really a big potato and publishers grab your name as an advantage to boost their business. Although the concept of “tenure” does not exist in Chinese universities, public universities do give their employees the right to prolong their contracts as long as they are willing to do so. Private universities, however, only give such a priority to those executive celebrities and famous professors or experts because they need their fame to run the business. However, publication of books and papers with big publishing houses and big magazines remains a huge challenge to teachers in the humanities, especially in the Departments of English. We have fewer professional magazines in China that can be seen as the “right places” that will make you a professor. Most teachers cannot become professors before their retirement. Competition is fierce, and a high percent of university teachers end up with associate professors or even lecturers.

Yancey’s “new key” for rhetoric and composition at this “moment” is to embrace multi-literacies that have been enabled by digital revolution. She tries to search a definition of composition in this new world permitted with multi-literacies. She suspects school education’s function on composition because her own experience is one that proves the unfruitfulness of classroom writing assignments(297-299). Her nineteenth century example illustrates the similar change today brought forth by digital revolution as compared to the what drastic changes the Industrial Revolution brought to novel writing and people’ life(299-301). She believes that the future of education is connected to the future of the English Departments because composition is a vital component of higher education(302-305) owing to its broad connection to global and social concerns. Situating the development of English Departments and the discipline of rhetoric and composition, she traces history while envision the future of writing(305-306), which, according to her opinion, will be a future that increasingly combine print and the digital technologies to enable multi-genres(307).

While facing such a future, Yancey lists three changes in our field: “Develop a new curriculum; revisit and revise writing-across-the-curriculum efforts; and develop a major in composition and rhetoric”(308). She claims that the broadened arena of rhetoric and composition embraces mani-fold writing possibilities rather than compartmenting knowledge(308). Her model of composition: “Circulation of composition, cannons of rhetoric, deicity of technology”(311-312) because they easily help us on an epistemology that both inherit the canons and corporate technological advantages. Peer review is important to our composition process because students are the living literature. Her original citation is “on-going compositions”(312). The combination of technology and the canons can be seen as “ole wine in a new bottle.” When emphasizing multi-genres, Yancey also encourages instruction of registers and genres to students by a comparison between journal article and newspaper writing (313). I think this is brilliant because most of the time students’ writing fall into the latter category, an obvious influence of mass media on writing. This task of teaching students proper genres and registers is urgent. I still remember in one session of our discussion Anderson talked about students’ unawareness of curtesy in emails, which is highly relevant to their digital life: instant messages, tweets, etc.

I found the interrelationship among the five canons fascinating. I was thinking about this these weeks and I finally found the authoritative quote here! This will be helpful to my study on comparative rhetoric(316-317). Whereas delivery is considered as the core of the five cannons in text, instruction, public extra-curricula, each one of the other canons also play the role of the leader under certain and different circumstances.

Yancey’s “deictic” definition of literacy(318) reminds me of thinking interface as a transformer. They both are, which reminds me of the context that relates to the theme of next ATTW conference—the myth of “high-context” and “low-context.” Yancy mentions Selfe’s connection for technology and literacy that technology should be paid due attention to because it teaches us new literacies(319). This is an idea at the beginning of our readings that constitutes the foundation of our course. I really like her idea of “writers use technology rhetorically” and “writing, by its very nature, encourages abstraction”(319). She incorporate other evidences such as “new composition includes rhetoric and is about literacy”(320) to elaborate that our challenge of multi-literacies, expertise with technologies, and so on demand us to recognize the intertextuality between school education and social education both in the print and on the screen(320). Such an unprecedented cross-disciplinary possibility for teachers, students, and other people alike pushes us to learn more and try to adapt the changes rather than dreaming to reverse history. When she mentions “global, educational, technological changes” at the end of her paper(321), I feel huge pressure as a reader although I know what I should do. It is really a long way to go. I mean, people are having double majors, there are even IT experts with a degree in English. How do I survive the rest of my life?

Form and Content in Interface Designing: the Seen and Unseen Transformer (Reading Response 4)

Anne Frances Wysocki and Julia I. Jasken’s “What should be an unforgettable face…” inspires me most among the three readings, although Cynthis L. Selfe and Richard J. Selfe’s attitude that interface can be the agent for the exertion of power in electronic contact zones. Because interface automatically enforce the ideology of the designer, then we as rhetoric and composition folks should pay attention to it and enable our students to design personal interfaces that will express themselves in a powerful way.

Page design, screen design, and web design are all closely related to visual rhetoric, through which we enforce our hidden desires. I agree very much with the idea of “good user interfaces are invisible.” I really wish that there will be a good interface on wordpress so that I will not try so hard just to find out the suitable background theme for my blog. After secretly blaming the designers for having been so lack of creativity for a little while, I suddenly realized that if I were allowed to design one of the themes on my own, it will be utterly difficult.

I think the title “What should be an unforgettable face…” is rhetoric itself, for it implies what an interface should be like in order to be useful. The tile also has dural meanings like a pun. “Unforgettable” can mean a great cohesion of composition which after reading its content, only its spirit, its core remains in our mind. We are completely not aware of its form any more because the content is so impressive. “Unforgettable” can also mean the experience of using certain interfaces. I think this should be why the authors want to emphasize the powerfulness of interface design when visual rhetoric is engaged.

Wysocki and Jasken do not agree with compositions instructors’ over emphasis on the form of interface, rather, they prefer the content of the interface, which is often unseen and quite influential to users because interfaces such as writing softwares are ideologically loaded(32-33). But it really strikes me when Wysocki and Jasken give a thorough analysis on how software designers can manipulate the users in terms of their design and rules of using that software(34), which means the classical idea of rhetoric’s function as “leading the souls” is hidden behind the curtain of interface design. Designers actually decide who they design for and how to lead their users to their designing expectations(35).

I was not aware of the interfaces of softwares the authors mention, and I never thought of interface as far as textbooks are concerned. However, I think I might have considered the issue for a while when the textbooks in China change a lot and I have to try to adapt to those new textbooks and new ideologies. Now I know that the hardships are caused by interface design and a planned shift from teaching ideologies to ideologies. Wysocki and Jasken also think that the interface of textbook is important, but often neglected by writing instructors and textbook designers(37-38). Therefore, maybe instructors should consider some of the aspects that the textbook designers overlook. Or, textbook designers should consider some of the interface problems when they make a shift in the first place.Wysocki and Jasken think that the technics we use to design interfaces are rhetorically neutral whereas the product they create are highly rhetorical(39-40). My own experience of using both HTML design and DREAMWEAVER makes me more than satisfactory on this argument. I do think that the latter will allow us more space to consider the rhetorical effects our designs are likely to trigger, rather than the process of learning how to use our functional literacy on codes and codes design in a writing classroom. Nevertheless, before we approach and understand the unseen, we have to get sufficient and necessary functional literacy. Form and content is after all intricately intertwined.

Digital Identities of Chinese Netizens and A Light Comparative Discussion on the Social Networks Between US and China

Hi everyone, I have been preparing since last week for our discussion on digital identities and I found some interesting websites. Feel free to leave me a message about what you want to know about social networks in China and some cultural differences. I got some links on the right side of my blog under Blogroll, you can just click and see what is going on there. You can also find some interesting blogs related to digital identities on under blogs that I follow. I’ll be adding links frequently during now and Monday morning. One of you already asked me about some issues in China, and I hope more of you will just tell me what you want to know concerning digital identities, digital environment, social identities, culture differences, and so on.

As social network systems are one of the most powerful way to shape our online identities, I chose to talk about popular online networking systems in China. I will generally be talking about how I use and interact with my family, friends, colleagues, and students in China with our social networks and how these actions define our digital identities. I also have real stories of two of my best friends who are in the queer culture. I’ll tell you how their identities came into being and how they maintain their life on the web and in reality. The “Queer” interview triggered this. Besides, I will introduce some features of identity defining functions of social networks in China as compared to Facebook and the like, though I have just used Facebook for one year or so. I had a Facebook account years ago in China, but later on it was banned in China, and I forgot my username and had to start all over again when I arrive here last August. I guess you may not want to learn the functions because most of you will never use Chinese social networks in China, but I will try my best to amuse you by introducing my social networks in a developing country. Things are totally the same, but not always the same as far as digital identities are concerned. I will try to inform you more on how things move on in China so that you may get a general idea of another way of life, and what people’s digital identities are like in another part of the global village. Honestly speaking, maybe it is subjective, most US news have negative evaluation on China. While I know more about the good and bad side of the China coin, I wish we could communicate more about the differences and similarities. I do not want to go political at this point, but we will have a chance to communicate many things now that the internet has shaped a global village and that people can be who they are or are not in a digital world. The opportunity to be here and learn from you will be my life’s treasure and hopefully we could get the kind of  mutual understanding that our digital era pushes or demands us to.

I tried to read some papers on digital identities, hopefully the bibliography below will be enlarged by our collaboration. This post is currently under construction and will be changing during the weekend. Have a nice weekend and see you all on Monday when you will be traveling with me to the Chinese web communities!


Wikipedia defines Digital identity as “a psychological identity that prevails in the domains of cyberspace,” and “a set of data that uniquely describes a person or a thing (sometimes referred to as subject or entity) and contains information about the subject’s relationships to other entities.” Online Identity refers to “the social identity that an internet user establishes through digital identities in cyberspace.

Computer and the internet has prompted globalization more than what we can via traditional mass media. You can visit any part of the globe by just click google map. I walked on my cousin’s daily routine from work to home in Quebec, Canada.

Here are some  topics that I think of on digital identities:

    • Digitization & Globalization
    • Digital Identities & Mass Media
    • Digital Identities & Social Identities
    • Digital Identities & Digital Writing
    • Global Citizenship & Intricate Identities
    • SNS & Digital Identities

Here is a case study that investigates the drastic changes that occur to a group of people’s identities after they were introduced to the Internet:

Indeed, mass media has changed our life drastically. Educators, sociologists, and professionals in other fields have been investigating the influence of digital technology on our identities and society a whole. Here is a video on the impact that mass media has on us:

Our digital identities transfer to another level when we get ourselves involved in social networks. Instead of telling stories about the divide brought by TV shows, phone calls, and so on, we began to talk about the benefits and disadvantages the internet brought to our life.

    • digitalized identities via telephone, cellphone, TV, radio, etc.
    • sms, email, TV and radio transmission
    • MSN, QQ, etc.
    • MySpace, WordPress, Sina blog, 163 blog, etc.
    • Facebook, twitter, weibo/micro blog, Renren, weixin/wechat/micro  voice messenger, etc.

Here is another video on digital identity, I found it quite interesting on showing how Facebook and twitter shapes our daily activities. More interestingly, the sudden appearance of an India woman(am I right?) seems to depict global communications while a sci-fi scence happens that alien people on alien stars are attacking our earth. Then, all of it is just a movie, just as the party scene being condensed into Facebook posts and status, and twits. At last, the guy is tied of sitting in front of computer and TV and wants fresh air. However, his destiny seems doomed into this digital world. He was attacked by the blocks in the game “Russian squares”(the game’s Chinese name). Ironically, when he runs aways from being attacked, his fate is still doomed in running across the street just as a gaming like action. Then, all of it is just film on youtube and is liked by many people via facebook by an iPhone user. Every one thing is included in another larger thing and all technologies and digital vehicles symbolize our digital age and information explosion. When the video comes to its end, I really feel like all the information explores:BANG! Then my brian goes to blankness, then black just like the video screen. Anyway, it is a great demonstration of digital identity and our digital era:

WHO AM I? The once traditional question of existential philosophy comes to torture us again when it comes to the digital age. Descarte’s remark of “Je pense que je suis” is unlikely to be true any more because even if we think we are who we are, other people may not see us as who we really are. Our social identities and our digital identities sometimes are the same, but often, in order to protect ourselves from harmful usages of our real identities, we tend not to provide our real identities.

Besides our social identities, we have national identities as displayed on our passports. Each person is seen by other people as a representative of his or her own nation no matter it is a good or a bad national feature. Amuse or hate yourself by looking at the picture below. Our national identities are now digitally portrayed in this picture. I cannot help asking a question: Is it right and civilized to look at people by the characteristics of their nations? To depict China as the world’s factory is so vivid and so true a reality, but is it really what a nation is? If not, I guess there would have been far less wars between nations and their people.

Look at the picture below, our digital identities are just the same as Mr. Philippe Boukpbza.

Similarly, we are writers, students, costumers, producers, and so on.

We are experiencing an identity fragmentation in our digital age. Have you ever had the feeling that your are so split and cannot do all the things at the same time, but have to? Everyday, I open my email boxes(I have four emails) and instant chatting network(QQ), delete the advertisements, read the news, reply and talk with family, friends, professors. While doing this, I will also open my unlearn, wordpress, and see what’s happening in the discussion board and whether there are new posts. After one day’s course work and homework, I also log on my QQzone and renren to see what my Chinese friends are doing, the newly shared posts, so on and so forth.

Currently, I am a wife, an international student, a writer to some extent in my Chinese blog, a consumer on various US, Chinese, and Japanese websites, etc. During the summer, my Mac broken due to my careless drop of water on its keyboard, then I experienced a totally different way of life during the several weeks without it. It seems life is so quite and simple, yet a torture to me because it seems I can no longer live without computer because without it, I lost contact with my friends all of a sudden. I read several Japanese novels, tried to better my cooking skills, and stay at home or walk in the park to think about my life and my future. Then, after I “disappeared” from the internet for a while, I found tons of emails and messages in my accounts of emails and other social networks. My friends were worried about me, my students even asked me whether I was pregnant!

In the digital age, people are pushed to do similar things to support our digital life. The picture below shows what Chinese and US netizens use to share video, purchase online, maintain social networks, search online, and blogging. Although there are some inappropriateness here because some features of the applications we use are not exactly the same, the picture vividly depicts how similar a way of life we are sharing with each other as long as we are netizens.

Below is some statistics on top Chinese social networks. Qzone is currently the biggest social network in China and many of my foreign friends are using the QQ international to contact their Chinese friends. However, unlike renren, pengyou, and kaixin, qq does not require real name registration, which is to a large extent why it has so many users. In my opinion, people in China, due to our culture, are not always willing to express themselves directly, or expose their information to the public. While the figure does not point out, actually renren and other social networks allow us to use fake names or fake photo ids, but when you use a fake name or id, renren will not give you an orange name privilege, which means, all names not orange are considered by others as not real person. This will damage your credibility to make friends online.

The figure below ranks China’s top social networks from daily communication social networks to dating service networks. And the identity of user groups are generally defined in the user demographics column.

The picture below is a map that show how our identities are divided and classified according to the functions of different websites. Despite the over generalization of each website systems, it gives us an overall idea of our digital life and identities.  

As Chinese population is one of the world’s largest, someone humorously did an investigation on how big is social media in China according to its user populations.  

The icons in the picture below are what Chinese netizens use frequently. However, in this global age, most of Chinese also use Western social media networks such as Facebook, twitter, youtube, and so on. Chinese banking accounts and credit cards can be used everywhere as long as they belong to “unipay” network. Think of what cannot happen in a digital age, I was amused by one of my sister’s stories. Once she was using QQ to make friends. Then she got serious with one of her friends who she thought would be her soul-mate. However, this online relationship came to an end when she found out that the guy is an old man within a marriage. Anything can happen online when we are not sure about each other’s digital identity. My dorm mate in graduate school was nearly deceived by a young man before she realized that man was only trying to get money from her.  It makes me think that information literacy in China has such a long way to go. People are easily deceived online and I have heard too many such stories. It also reminds us that a digital identity is not necessarily equal to our identities in real life because online people can easily pretend to be someone else. Once my QQ account was stolen, and my friends and students told me later when I got it back that someone was trying to borrow money from them in my name. 

How do Chinese social networks work?

Tencent: QQ(instant typing messages, video and audio chat, games, email, music, etc.), Qzone, QQ Schoolmates net, etc.

Renren: social network among students, later on expanded to other communities. 

Dynamics of Privacy and Digital Ethics


Questions for Discussion:

1. Digital identity is currently not merely about who we really are, but more and more ideologically involved when cultures and different opinions meet. How do we understand and make the best use of digital identities in our real life and specifically in the writing classrooms?  

2. As rhetoric and composition scholars, how do we do our research on digital identities as related to digital literacy, multi-modal writing, gender studies, cultural studies, and use technology to fulfill our humanistic ideals? 

3. Does digital identity help us to bridge cultural and ideological gaps on a constructive and conducive basis? Why or why not? 

4. What kind of ethical and social problems comes into your mind when you think of digital identities?

5. As global citizens in the digital age, how do we deal with the unprecedented challenges of globalization and global literacy? Do you think it is unfair for us to have to learn much more about the world than our ancestors? Yesterday I was thinking “if I were born many centuries ago, I will only have to learn a little about history and the world, may be I do not even have to go to school.” Does our digital identities as world citizens automatically require more diligence in learning? 


Anderson. “Prosumer Approach”

Andrew Root. “Identity in a Digital Age”. Word & World Volume 30, Number 3 Summer 2010.

Cindy Hohanek. Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition. Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah. 2000.

Gian S. Pagnucci and Nicholas Mauriello. “The Masquerade: Gender, Identity, and Writing for the Web”. Computers and Composition 16,  141-151 (1999)

Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe. “Globalism and Multimodality in a Digitized World”. Computers and Composition Studies.

Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe. with Gorjana Kisa and Shafinaz Ahmed. Multimodal Composition: Resources for Teachers. Hampton Press, Inc. 2007.

Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia L. Selfe. with Gorjana Kisa and Shafinaz Ahmed. Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah. 1999.

Gina Maranto, Matt Barton. “Paradox and promise: MySpace, Facebok, and the Sociopolitics of Social Networking in the Writing Classroom”. Computers and Composition 27 (2010) 36-47.

Hohan Fornäs, Kajsa Klein, Martina Ladendorf, Jenny Sundén, Malin Sveningsson. Digital Borderlands: Cultural Studies of Identity and Interactivity on the Internet. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York. 2002.

Jeff Rice and Marrel O’Gorman. New Media/New Methods: The Academic Turn from Literacy to Electracy. Parlor Press, West Lafayette, Indiana. 2008.

Jeff Rice. The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media. Southern Illinois University Press. 2006.

Johnathan Alexander, Barclay Barrios, Samantha Blackmon, Angela Crow, Keith Dorwick, Jacqueline Rhodes, and Randai Woodland. “Queerness, sexuality, technology, and writing: How do queers write ourselves when we write in cyberspace?”

Jonathan Alexander, William P. Banks. “Sexualities, technologies, and the teaching of writing: A critical overview.” Computers and Composition 21 (2004) 273–293

L.E. Sujo de Montes, Sally M. Oran, Elizabeth M. Willis. “Power, language, and identity: Voices from an online course”. Computers and Composition 19 (2002) 251–271.

Natasha Lvovich. “Sociocultural Identity and Academic Writing: A Second-Language Learner Profile.” TETYC, December 2003.

Richard J. Selfe and Cynthia L. Selfe. “‘Convince me!’ Valuing Multimodal Literacies and Composing Public Service Announcements”.

Scott Lloyd Dewitt. “Out There on the Web: Pedagogy and Identity in Face of Opposition.” Computers and Composition 14, 229-243 (1997).

Susan Kirtley. “Rendering technology visible: The technological literacy narrative”. Computers and Composition (2012).

Susan Miller. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Intellectual rights of the pictures and videos belongs to their original productors. 

Achieving Functional Literacy: An Insight on Computer’s Function in Composition Classrooms (Reading Response 2)

Selber mentions the nature of literacy and computer literacy while illustrating the functional side of computer literacy. To discuss how the use of computers will affect communication, Selber traces the history of how literacy is defined or understood with a focus on how functional literacy is formed(1-6). The debates of whether or not literacy should be neutral or socially embedded is seen by Selber as not a problem because the neutral side of literacy does not necessarily exclude its social side, and more importantly, what we need is to ensure that our students can be qualified in their working environments. What he is concerned is how we manage, teaching, and assess writing in a digital environment, especially how students’ performance should be enhanced. For this purpose, he proposed five important parameters for us to consider:”educational goals, social conventions, specialized discourses, management activities and technological impasses(6).”

By making ourselves and our students “empowered users” or “functional literate users”(7), we are unbecoming the “computer-mediated users”(7) whose hands and minds will be trapped from time to time by the hows and whys of technology that block us to further our goals. To become functional literate, we will have to be aware of our computers competence, the unexplored areas of different softwares, and so on. This means we have to let our students understand that there are a lot of things that requires human brain and hard work, such as grammar knowledge and ethical issues in writing, and that we are still unaware of a lot of useful features of our own softwares(9). The website he mentions here and the insight to encourage the individual interest of students is promising to composition instruction in that such a pedagogical way allows students to explore their own writing and research in a creative fashion. Personalize a bookmark and make it public gives students a space to integrate social conventions and their language carriers(10).

Talking about social conventions, I agree with Selber’s view that ” technology does not create a social vacuum”(11) despite the internet’s success in bringing forth an explosion of information and an unprecedented sharing of knowledge. Social conventions influence online conversations and the perception of an online space determines “whether or not people will use certain online spaces socially”(13) because people will discern in which cases they have are going to entertain or to be serious. The working settings, external contexts, group purposes, and participant characteristics in a writing classroom are the same with in real social context(13), therefore, the classroom is a small society where social conventions are expressed by different groups of students through different normative behaviors. This is true because we face students from different countries, regions, and cities where the social conventions vary from time to time.

As we are dealing with social conventions in a digital environment in our classroom, some guidelines should be helpful for students when they either email or MOO something they want. Issues concerning etiquette such as capitalization, the writing styles, and so on should be taught to students as starting point in their online writing process(14). However, to avoid the overly political engaged tendency of social conventions, Selber suggests to help students not only aware of social conventions, but also capable of critically analyze discourses that they are interested in. I think Selber gradually moves to the issues of race, gender, and the power of privileged cultures when he gives an example of what we should not do we encounter students who are not from our cultural community, no matter it is a national culture or a regional one, or even only a culture of different social status. Thus, our functionally literate students should be able to negotiate between and among discourses. To achieve this, we have to be able to design literacy technologies that will enable different rhetorics for cross-discourse communication(16).

While referring to the has-to-be situation of new media literacy, Selber laments, the same as what Selfe has been lamenting on the lack of attention and awareness of new media’s capability in improving students’ writing and communicative skills(17-18). He proposed several pedagogical methods to improve this situation, including how to use softwares to do visual rhetoric and special discourses and make group presentations on different discourses. All these help students to know the softwares better and to remind students that computer enables different practices from a vast sea of sources and communities, rather than just focus on the technological difficulties computer brings to their life .

Another aspect of Selber’s pedagogical advice is to do management activities which embrace passwords, file back-up, documents deleting, and so on on a computer either with or without internet access(19-23).  Selber considers such activities as critical because they engage students in social judgements, critical thinking of their own production and consumption. The he talks about how a functionally literate student can resolve technological impasses confidently and strategically. Whereas learning oriented and performance oriented differ in their goal of English classes, Selber prefers to combine the two orientations(24-28). Functional literacy, in Selber’s view is a social issue despite that many other scholars agree the value-free concept of literacy as related to one’s economic development(28). More importantly, functional literacy should not be tied solely with pedagogical method because it is only one dimension of computer literacies(29). I agree with his argument here because I can see that Dr. Hock’s course is one of such that not only render us functional literacy, but also other critical literacies.

Prosumer Approaches—-Postmodern Reflections on Learning, Teaching, Identities, and Living. (reading response 3)

I am very impressed by this video because it shows how powerful the new media can be in the writing classroom and also in the society as a whole. Writing’s function can be strengthened through using of videos and the like. The multi-modal composition also brings forth the issue of new media literacies, which in this post-print era are quite an urgent task for writing instructors. As far as pedagogical method is concerned, new media provides opportunities in teaching innovation and motivating students to compose.

I think in a traditional classroom where we ask students to write a composition is too boring for them in this digital era. Whereas there is a necessity to enhance their writings, sometimes we have to allow them to explore creative and new ways to express themselves. I have noticed that my students in China can be very different on line from who they are in real life. I made friends with them on Chinese Facebook and other blogs and it turned out they could be quite creative and dependent in thinking than the hate schooling youths in class.

The still image assignment and new media production experiment are good examples for non-textual and multi-modal writing classrooms. The non-textual argument, the students’ engagement in the activity, and what they learn from one another in group work is quite good for a student-centered classroom practice. Further, what he mentions the “intuitive skills” that students have as they group up in this digital era that not only verbal communications and writings are engaged, but also frequent expression of themselves with images, sounds, and videos. The intricate communication systems we have nowadays demand much more profound and wider knowledge to be able to express ourselves and to understand others.

Literacy for a world citizen is not only the verbal skills in the printing era, but also the ability to navigate and get what we want in a vast information sea, the ability to produce and understand multimodal and multi-media writing. Our identity as writers shifted from a simple pen and paper form to a complex but colorful one. Issues such as ethics, intellectual property rights, legal enforcement on privacies, and so on will be increasingly urgent for many areas, including rhetoric and composition.

Putting overlapping audio tracks to a video presentation or the like is significant. It reminds me of one of Chinese websites “xuduba” where professionals and amateurs dubbing voices for popular TV series. However, it is different from how dubbing voice is normally practiced. They change the original lines of the actors and actresses, making sarcastic comments on political and social phenomena, including the heavy rain fall this summer and the ineffective drainage system in Beijing. This is a little different from the overlapping sound tracks, but the same in their nature of composing with sound systems.

Seeing Steven Jobs talking there in the video alive is a great part of this reading/watching experience. I mean, imagine the time when we do not have this video technology. Now that we have it, images and sounds compose by themselves much more vivid and profounder than just print. Dead people are still talking to us as if they are alive, more attractive to the eyes and souls rather than reading a book in which Jobs or others express ideas. However, I am not saying this in a way that we should give up printed works. I am saying that this new media way of expression can be quite effective, direct, and become a good supplement to the verbal texts.

Additionally, I love the idea that test scores do not manifest one’s intelligence. This sort of brings me back to my second paragraph where I talked about how some students may seem quite different in a classroom and on their blogs. It is the same that those who have the lowest test scores are not necessarily clever enough. In fact, many low scored students tend to be the most creative ones in the society. I guess that is why genius always do not go to school, no matter in the scientific field or in the humanities. The problem is how do we get a way to both foster students’ individuality while get everyone literate? There is an inherent contradiction between the two. People are complaining about the standardized tests a lot in China and related  reforms on textbooks, pedagogies, and even tests are enforced all the time. The problem still exists.

Do we have to change the society, its ideology or ethical standards to get an answer, or we just move on like our ancestors? Because people live according to their own standards that is shaped by a set of social or global standards. As PhD students, we feel depressed if our proposals are not accepted. The same feeling our students have when they fail a course or cannot manage to get a better score. We start to question ourselves when we fail, and this is why when given a freer writing opportunity or a replaceable way of expression, we feel excited, unbound, and relaxed as if we are not ourselves any more. The postmodern idea of play, of questioning authorities, and be oneself is happening now to fight against the traditional way of learning, teaching, and living.

Last but not least, his final move of comparing the video composition with a final paper composition is interesting and essential. I think it answers the question of many audiences just in time that whether or not video making is the same with composing with texts.

(Welcome to comment on my non-native English writing!)

A Static Visual for Dr. Hocks and My Dear Classmates: Chinese Culture

The World Made in China


Jacky Chan


The Imperial Palace


The Great Wall




The Chinese Knot


The Chinese Fan


Peking Opera


Chinese Bamboo


Tea Culture

Chinese Dragon & Phoenix (The dragon is not the same with the Devil or Demon dragon in the West!)

The most prominent of all Chinese marriage symbols is the pairing of a dragon (long 龙) and a phoenix (feng 凤) which represents love and a happy marriage.

The dragon is the preeminent male or yang (阳) symbol and represents strength and the warmth of the sun.

The phoenix, as you might expect, is the ultimate female or yin (阴) symbol.

Foundations of Literary Studies: The Myth of Frankenstein

A blog for Vanderbilt English 199 Course

A Compositionist's Blog

Composing is a Way of Life

Foreign Policy

the Global Magazine of News and Ideas



Jenny Ungbha Korn

JennyKorn.com - Jenny Korn's website

Center for Intercultural Dialogue

Communication Clearinghouse

Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

For The Win

What fans are talking about.


Un site utilisant WordPress.com


Startup and Technology News


Quartz is a digitally native news outlet for the new global economy.

New Seeds

a reading notes blog in rhetoric/composition and postcolonial feminist/antiracist theory

Sandra Jamieson

Director of Writing Across the Curriculum & Professor of English, Drew University

Taking Route

Taking Root While en Route

New Voices Conference

Georgia State University's English Department's Graduate Student Conference

佐治亚理工 中国学生学者联谊会

Georgia Tech Chinese Friendship Association

Public Address Conference

MAPPING AUTHORITY, Georgia State University, 16-18 October 2014, Atlanta GA

Sigma Tau Delta at Georgia State University

The Digital Home of the International English Honors Society's Omega Iota Chapter