Public writing spaces, such as blogs and social media sites, are expanding quickly with new websites, web applications, and other interfaces constantly available to users. As these digital composing spaces continue to expand, it is important that writers are capable of operating within them, yet many composition students lack the rhetorical awareness to present effective arguments in multimodal digital interfaces. To address this issue, the author designed a project to introduce students to public writing while reflecting on the implications of the permanence of their writing, the searchability of these public spaces, and their responsibility as writers. This project began by asking students to reflect on their own online personae, be it through Facebook profiles, personal blogs, or online class forums. Utilizing websites like Yelp and YouTube offered students the opportunity to see how others present themselves online and the effectiveness of composers in these digital spaces. Taught in an online course format, this project demonstrates how writing can live outside of the traditional classroom space and contribute to the students’ community. For the writing teacher, it creates the occasion to delve into students’ understandings of ethics in online writing while illustrating the rhetorical components necessitated by composing in digital media.
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Laura A. Ewing; Rhetorically Analyzing Online Composition Spaces. Pedagogy 1 October 2013; 13 (3): 554–561. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-2266477
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