Mapping Terrains & Navigating Bridges – resources

Below, please find resources from our panel presentation at Mapping Terrains and Navigating Bridges, a conference held at Macomb Intermediate School District on June 24, 2017.

PPT slides from panel presentation: “Technical Writing and Digital Rhetorical Spaces”

Assignment from WRT 160 – Proposal for Research Inquiry
Assignment from WRT 160 – Annotated Bibliography
Assignment from WRT 160 – Inquiry through Video
Assignment from WRT 160 – Inquiry through Written Research

Assignment from WRT 382 – Job Package
Assignment from WRT 382 – Business Correspondence
Assignment from WRT 382 – Proposal
Assignment from WRT 382 – Progress Report
Assignment from WRT 382 – Group Research Project
Assignment from WRT 382 – Research Report
Assignment from WRT 382 – Pecha-Kucha Presentation


Multimodal Training

Oakland University Writing Center
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Discussion of the Reading:
Drawing on “Toward a Rhetorically-Sensitive Assessment Model for New Media Composition,” jot down an answer to the following questions:
1.  What is new media / multimodal composition? Why does a writing tutor need to know?
2.  What is useful from the assessment theory reviewed in VanKooten’s chapter (in “The Landscape” and “Building the Model” sections) for thinking about writing center appointments?
3.  How might you use VanKooten’s assessment model (or elements of it) in a writing center appointment?

Discussion of “Karnik Pet Lodge”
1. Describe your “reading” of the video: what’s the video’s purpose? What do you see and hear? What’s working, and how do you know?  What’s not working so well?
2. Join forces with a partner, and write down 5 questions you might ask this author in a writing center appt.

Role Play with The Society of LSA Scholars website:
1.  With a partner, role play a writing center appointment using this text, with one person playing the author and the other the tutor.
2.  Debriefing: what was challenging about tutoring this student?  What worked well?


Game On! Grizzlies, or, bragging on WRT 330 students

I have to take just a few minutes to brag on the students in WRT 330 Digital Culture.  Yesterday, they hosted a community event for Oakland University students called “Game On! Grizzlies” which also served as a benefit for Beaumont Children’s Hospital.  The event was in fulfillment of the Digital Activism Project for our course, which asked them to design a community-based event, launch a social media campaign, and compose accompanying printed and digital texts.

“Game On! Grizzlies” was a unique challenge for us because students in the course are commuter students who drive to campus daily and haven’t been heavily involved with campus events.  Designing, marketing, and writing for an on-campus event like “Game On! Grizzlies” was a new experience, and the class really came together as a community (both in-person and digitally) to make the event a success.  We played games, tweeted, ate pizza, got to know each other better, posted to Facebook, met new people, and raised money for Beaumont.

Read more about the event on The Beaumont Blog: “Oakland University Students Gaming to Benefit Beaumont Children’s Hospital” and in The Oakland Press: “Oakland University Students Host Game Day to Relieve Stress.”  

Methodologies for Research in Digital Rhetoric – IDRS Presentation, April 2015

I’ll be presenting at the Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium on Friday, April 10, 2015.  My presentation is entitled “Methodologies for Research in Digital Rhetoric: A Survey of an Emerging Field,” and I’ve attached presentational materials below.  There is a script of my talk, PowerPoint slides, and a short annotated bibliography of sources related to digital methodology.

VanKooten – Methodologies for Research in Digital Rhetoric
Annotated Bibliography of Sources – IDRS
VanKooten – Methodologies for Research in Digital Rhetoric – Powerpoint slides


These words can anchor and focus this image.

These words can anchor and focus  the reading of this image.

I’m teaching a class this term called Writing for New Media.  As I prepped for class today, I read about anchorage, a new media composition technique drawn from the work of Roland Barthes, where a composer anchors a visual with written text, directing the viewer’s attention and changing the reading of the image based on the words, the anchor.  Thinking of anchoring images in this way reminded me that I’ve been meaning to blog for a while about transitions, change, and the “anchors” that sustain.

Crystal VanKooten in PhD robes

Walking at the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School Graduation Ceremony

So much has happened in my life over the past months, both academically and personally.  Last year, I defended my dissertation and finished my PhD in English and Education at the University of Michigan, I was on the academic job market from September through February, and I got a job at the end of it all as an Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.  This past summer, I walked in graduation, my partner and I sold our house in Toledo, Ohio, and we moved ourselves to Rochester Hills, thirty miles north of Detroit.

Amid so much change, I feel anchored – personally, by my partner and family, but I also feel professionally anchored through my graduate training, the mentoring I received from my dissertation advisors, my experiences in the field of composition studies, and in particular, through what I’ve learned as a new media teacher and composer and a member of the computers and writing community.  Let me offer a few examples.

The Concept in 90 Viewing Screen

The Concept in 90 Viewing Screen

In May, I worked as a Senior Instructor at the Digital Media and Composition Institute at Ohio State.  I met and got to know wonderful teachers and friends there, led sessions on audio-visual composition and copyright, and watched as many participants composed their first audio and video compositions.  At the end of the institute, everyone gathered at Cindy and Dickie Selfe’s home to watch the participants’ “Concept in 90” video compositions.  We drank margaritas, ate desserts, sat outside in the yard as the evening turned dusky, and viewed and listened to each other’s compositions projected on a large sheet.  The videos played consecutively in a row with no stopping.  As I watched, insects were biting incessantly at my ankles.  But I couldn’t move, riveted by the images flitting by and the sounds and silences filling my ears.  I had observed and talked with participants as they conceptualized their Concept in 90 videos, looked at drafts, and tried to help trouble-shoot many technical problems.  Watching the results of our efforts together in person was special, and magical, and meaningful.  Teaching, and encouraging and helping as best I could, and then watching others use new media to communicate and to move an audience – this anchors me.

After DMAC, later in June, I attended the Computers and Writing Conference at Washington State University.  C&W has always been an anchor for me – a welcoming, smaller conference, filled with friends and teachers grappling with how to best use technologies in the writing classroom and generous senior scholars willing to mentor and guide (and buy beers for) us junior folks.  A few highlights from this year’s conference:

  • speaking at the GRN (Graduate Research Network) and seeing all the bright, excited faces anticipating the job market – oh, if you only knew what lay ahead, the joy and the sorrow!  (I presented this video on how to win the job market.)
  • listening to Kyle Stedman, Jon Stone, Harley Ferris, and Steven Hammer present on sonic rhetorics, play weird sounds, and even sing!! (You can access my review of their session on the Sweetland DRC.)
  • bowling with other video composition specialists!
  • watching Sarah Arroyo’s, Bahareh Alaei’s, and Corey Leis’s video compositions at their panel – I cried!
  • hearing UM colleague Aubrey Schiavone present on her research about multimodal composition and textbooks: smart.
  • learning about Mike DePalma’s and Kara Poe Alexander’s research on new media and transfer
  • cheering for my advisor Bump Halbritter as he won the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award for Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action
  • walking and talking with UM colleague Liz Homan and celebrating my birthday with wine, cheese, and HGTV
  • presenting on using audio-visual composition in FYC (drawing on my dissertation research) to a room full of interested and engaged scholars

As always, C&W was supportive, stimulating, fun, and I learned a ton.  In other words, the folks in the C&W community, their openness and generosity, the cutting edge scholarship, and the opportunity to join in and to learn – this anchors me.

A view on OU's campus that includes a road, the baseball fields, and a campus building

The view on my walk

Now, in the fall term, I’m teaching three writing classes and finding out what it’s like to be a prof.  I spend much of my time planning for teaching – oh, the planning!  I have also mapped out a research agenda for the fall, and I’m drafting several articles and a video project.  I go to meetings, and I’m starting to serve on committees.  But amid all this, the planning and the mapping of my own agendas and the getting-through-the-day, I see my students, and I get to witness and encourage their writing and learning.  I met with one student today, for example, who is grappling with developing specific inquiry questions for what will become a video project and a research essay on music therapy.  I can’t wait to see, hear, and read what she’ll compose.  I also gave feedback on essays, blog posts, and one collage made with Polyvore – some were creative, fun, and fantastic.  And then, as I finished my work day and walked from my office to my car, I looked around, and the campus was suddenly beautiful.  The sun was shining, and tinges of fall colors were edging their way onto the leaves of trees.  Cicadas chirped, the baseball team was practicing on the field below, and it was beautiful.   This – the students, the creativity, the beauty – this anchors me.