Multimodal and Multimedia Projects in the Writing Center by Douglas Eyman

Douglas Eyman is Director of the PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, the MA concentration in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR), and the undergraduate Professional Writing Minor at George Mason University.  He teaches courses in digital rhetoric, technical and scientific communication, editing, web authoring, advanced composition, and professional writing. His current research interests include investigations of digital literacy acquisition and development, new media scholarship, electronic publication, information design/information architecture, teaching in digital environments, and video games as sites of composition. Eyman is the senior editor and publisher of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, an online journal that has been publishing peer-reviewed scholarship on computers and writing since 1996. 

Anna S. Habib, Associate Editor, CWCAC


In this post, I hope to provide some concrete advice for working with multimedia and multimodal projects in the writing center, but I should start by noting that my advice (and even my definition of “writing”) comes from my work as editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy and from my research interests in digital rhetoric – I’m not a scholar or practitioner of Writing Center pedagogies, but I am an ally and supporter of  the great work that Writing Centers accomplish. I’ll start with some history and some context; feel free to skip down to the “Advice and Preparation” section to get straight to the practical bits.

A Bit of Context: Histories and Scholarship

In some ways, I trace my career in writing studies to my experience as a peer-tutor in my undergraduate writing center. It was there that I first became interested in the teaching of writing specifically (a topic about which my school had no course offerings beyond the class that served as a pre-requisite for working in the writing center itself). At the risk of sounding just as old as I am, in those days (around 1989-90) computers were just starting to be used by students, and we didn’t see their effects in the writing center until many years later. Similarly, when I worked in the writing center as part of my teaching assistantship for my MA program, there were no classes teaching multimedia or multimodal composition (the closest was the FYC course I taught at the time, which included basic web page design the year that the first graphical web browser was available). Fast forward to 2003 when I started my PhD program at Michigan State, and the whole field had shifted from distrusting computers as depersonalizing machines that came between the writer and the text to nearly ubiquitous use for drafting, revising, and editing. And in this program, I did not work in the writing center, but I did use it as a patron – both for traditional, textual writing, and for multimedia work. Continue reading “Multimodal and Multimedia Projects in the Writing Center by Douglas Eyman”

The Writing Process Abroad: A tutor reflects

Our guest post this week is courtesy of Leanna Jasek-Rysdahl, a peer tutor at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. She shares an anecdote from her time studying abroad–and what it felt like to transfer her writing center skills to a new environment.

On Thanksgiving in Budapest, Hungary, my day consisted of microwaving a sweet potato, Skyping my parents, and helping a student in a two-hour long session. While “seeing” my family was enjoyable, the writing center appointment was by far the most interesting aspect of the holiday, and proved to be one of the most fascinating and challenging appointments I have had to date.

10616670_10152778381083974_6322940345137937058_nIn order to fully understand the Thanksgiving appointment, it is necessary to provide context. Last year, I studied abroad in France during the summer for three months, directly followed by a semester at McDaniel College’s sister campus in Hungary.

These seven months were, without a doubt, the most formative of my life. I travelled to nine different countries and spoke with countless individuals. Whether it was on a park bench in Oslo, a ruin bar in Budapest, or a hostel in Bratislava, the people I met shared their stories with me and collectively changed my view of the world and the people living in it.

Continue reading “The Writing Process Abroad: A tutor reflects”