Episode 24: Letting Our Students Lead in Digital Spaces with Rochelle Gold and Liz Blomstedt

This episode was part of the 2020 Big Rhetorical Podcast Carnival: “The Digital Future of Rhetoric and Composition.” Be sure to check out the other episodes in the round-up here!

In Episode 24, we talk to Dr. Rochelle Gold and Dr. Liz Blomstedt of the USC Writing Program about the democratizing potential of multimodal and online writing assignments, embracing new citation practices, navigating inequities on online platforms, and letting students lead the way in digital spaces.

This episode was recorded on August 17. Please be aware that, because we recorded via Zoom, there are occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

“Online teaching…gives [students] experience writing in digital environments, which I think is something they are going to be asked to do in their future lives and careers, as so much of our existence occurs online these days.” @lizblomstedt

“Our embodied selves are with us, even when we’re online.” -Rochelle Gold

“As much as I really like to see the students who have their cameras on…we need to be really conscious of those kinds of biases we have toward certain students. And so today, on syllabus day, I found myself articulating that it was okay if we weren’t able to do those kinds of ideal sets of practices and maybe we should even quit calling them ideal because of how they privilege certain students over others.” @lizblomstedt

“Citations…are a really kind of interesting space for re-inventing how we think about writing and having conversations about credit that are important not only in academic in writing but that are important in all forms of communication… Students are always so surprised that a bunch of people just come up with these [style] guides. There’s nothing inherent about them…This is something that’s transforming.” -Rochelle Gold

“Citations are so interesting because they do reveal so much about the power structures that play roles in how we use language…[and] what writers and readers value.” @lizblomstedt

“One of the benefits [of writing in digital environments] is I think that students often get to determine their own purpose to writing in those environments…and that they have more freedom to think about what their purpose is in this assignment and perhaps even shape that purpose for themselves…And in my experience it has led to some students embracing the opportunity to write in other Englishes or in a kind of a hybrid of English and whatever their home language is. So that’s another, I think, benefit of thinking about writing in digital environments specifically.” @lizblomstedt

“I think…that there’s a lot of fear of the kind of democratizing quality of digital media. At the same time, I would say my concern, and the concern of many others, is that it’s not democratizing enough.” -Rochelle Gold

“I think that the other part of the digital future of composition/rhetoric is keeping the critical thinking piece there. I would argue that multimodal writing does nothing to counteract critical thinking and that it can enhance critical thinking, but I do think that there’s this kind of fear that we’ll get too stuck on that stuff that looks good and kind of miss the depth…Critical thinking has to be a key component.” -Rochelle Gold

“Most of our writing happens online these days. And, not to be dramatic, but the future of our democracy is at stake, essentially, and the future of our society is at stake. It’s absolutely essential that our students get comfortable reading and writing online and that they develop their savvy and they hone their skills…Wherever they’re writing, they can really have an impact, much more so than if we try to silo their writing in other ways or if we feel tied to old traditions. I assume we all do this because we think that writing can change the world, and we hope that it will, and so I think that the future of rhetoric and composition has to be digital because that’s where these things are happening.” -Rochelle Gold

“[There’s] power in letting students be experts in the digital space…[and] feeling like they’re bringing that kind of knowledge to the table…It’s really vital that we embrace that kind of digital future for our field. ” @lizblomstedt

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