Some Initial Thoughts on Teaching and Creating Writing in an Academic Web 2.0 Environment

Some Initial Thoughts on Teaching and Creating Writing in an Academic Web 2.0 Environment

How does web 2.0 help users/writers/contributors collaborate? How does it change previous notions of identity, ethics, and privacy? What are my preconceptions? Last year, I read a Christine Rosen piece entitled, “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism” (http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/virtual-friendship-and-the-new-narcissism). The basic tenet of Rosen’s piece was that virtual friendships and that social networking are changing the idea of personal identity and friendship. In terms of creating and teaching writing in a web 2.0 environment, it seems to me that there are a few factors in play here, including the interactive component of web 2.0. What will ultimately happen to the virtual worlds that are being created? Is “the web 2.0 machine” just using our web 2.0 behavior to find out our consumer preferences??? I liked the idea of identity becoming fluid and collaborative in a web 2.0 writing environment but the Michael Welsch piece (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE) created a bit of anxiety for me about ownership and intellectual property. If all the fences are now virtual, who owns information? Pharmaceuticals and agribusiness are patenting life, does ownership mean that you are the first person to get to an idea and claim it? Who owns a collective evolving idea? Clive Thomson’s article on the new literacy (http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-09/st_thompson) cites Andrea Lunsford’s study of writing at Stanford (http://ssw.stanford.edu/) which suggests that tweeting is a valid new form of writing which has yet to be incorporated into a first year college curriculum. According to the 2004 CCCC conference report, “CCCC Position Statement on Teaching, Learning, and Assessing Writing in Digital Environments” (http://www.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/digitalenvironments) suggests that instruction in writing that uses new media should aim to bridge the digital divide, to develop literacy skills, and to underscore the social nature of writing. I’m not sure that writing alone at one’s computer without a defined audience is a social act. I think that community building must be taught in tandem with emerging multimedia writing in order for students to understand the rhetorical purpose and collaborative nature of writing in a web 2.0 environment.

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