Identifying Components of Meta-Awareness about Composition: Toward a Theory and Methodology for Writing Studies
This article is published in the online journal Composition Forum, Issue 33, spring 2016.

Current Projects

Compose, Revise, Reflect: Video Composition and the Teaching of Writing
This qualitative research project extends the work on meta-awareness and student learning through video that I began in my doctoral dissertation. Through observations and interviews with instructors and students in two writing classrooms, I seek to examine multiliteracy learning, the transfer of writing knowledge across media, and the pedagogical moves that foster student learning through video.

The Nurses from Alaska
This research project is a long-term multimodal oral history in which I use audio and video recordings of interviews to tell the stories of three women who moved to Alaska in the 1950s to work at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

To Argue, Organize, Represent, and Recognize: Music Goes to Work in Multimodal Video Assignments.
This in-progress article illustrates the complexity of students’ sonic composition practices as they create multimodal videos in first-year writing. I use data from interviews with nine students across four first-year writing courses to demonstrate how students use music in complex, layered ways—as organizing device, as part of an argument, as associational link, as memory cue, and to add value to other modes.

Video as Method
In this ongoing research project, I examine how writing researchers can use video technologies as a key aspect of methodology.

Doctoral Dissertation

My dissertation is entitled “Developing Meta-Awareness about Composition through New Media in the First-Year Writing Classroom,” and my research is positioned at the intersection of two areas within composition studies: work highlighting “meta-awareness about writing” as one factor that aids in the transfer of writing knowledge, along with work addressing how students benefit from reading and composing with a range of modes and media.  In my dissertation, I interrogate what meta-awareness consists of through audio-visual (AV) composition, providing empirical evidence of learning outcomes in students who compose with video in a writing course.  Please view the video abstract for a brief glimpse into the study:

Video Dissertation Abstract – Transcript

Specifically, this study focuses on how students and instructors in two first-year writing classrooms at a major university revealed markers of meta-awareness about composition through an AV composition unit.  Drawing from video interviews, class observations recorded on video, and student-authored digital and written documents, I argue that meta-awareness is multifaceted, and it is best developed through enactments and specific articulations together in recursive process.  The data from my study also suggests that audio-visual composition is uniquely suited for helping students develop meta-awareness because it encourages rhetorically-layered doing.  As students composed videos, for example, many thought and talked about layered and overlapping audiences and purposes for their work, and they took ownership of projects in ways that went beyond the minimum stipulations of the assignment.  I also use the data from this study to examine instructors’ interpretations of their own and their students’ learning as they taught the AV unit.  Through their narratives of enacting a new pedagogy for the first time, the instructors demonstrate the need for alignment between learning goals and assessments and how messy and ongoing developing meta-awareness is for learners of all ages.  Overall, the findings from this project reveal that if writing courses aim to support students in the development of meta-awareness, instruction must be designed that acknowledges its multifaceted nature, gives attention to both enactments and specific kinds of articulations in a recursive process, includes audio-visual composition, and honors the messy process of learning.

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