Logging On

Cheryl E. Ball and Beth L. Hewett, Co-Editors

  • Special announcement: This is the last issue that will be devoted to the proceedings of the C&W conference.
  • Kairos Awards, Workshops & Other Announcements: We invite people to submit nominations for the Kairos Awards, given annually at the Computers and Writing Conference. Kairos gives awards for best webtext (which does not have to be a Kairos-based webtext), best academic weblog, and three awards (co-sponsored by Bedford/St.Martin's Press) which recognize outstanding service, teaching, and scholarship among graduate students and adjuncts.

Logging-On Spring 2008

In this issue, the Topoi section of Kairos is pleased to showcase three webtexts originating from the 2007 Computers and Writing Conference (C&W) in Detroit: one focused on virtual case environments developed for CMS, the second focused on geoblogging as a way to present students with complex, place-contextualized writing scenarios, and the third focused on the consolations and constraints of words as writing, as speech, and as art.

The Praxis section dovetails with these texts by reporting on a project that takes a CMS called Sakai and integrates within it a university library presence beyond a mere link to the library’s homepage. Altogether, we hope that readers will find new ideas for considering place, context, and the role of simulation or critical analysis of a proposed scenario in exploratory and argumentative writing.

We hope that this issue’s focus on virtual, content-managed “place” and writing will provide readers will new ideas for the New Year!

Topoi 12.2 Overview
Last May, the computers and writing community was pleased to have its annual conference in Detroit, Michigan, which was the first, urban city in which the conference had been hosted since the 2000 conference in Dallas/Fort Worth. Kairos would like to thank the conference hosts and organizers: Jeff Rice, Richard Marback, and Jeff Pruchnic. It seems like each year the conference gets better and better, and this year, the editors overheard many people talk about the high level of scholarship in the presentations. Such praise is not surprising to us, given the caliber of work the C&W crowd submits to Kairos. (And keep 'em coming, folks!) From the conference, we are pleased to offer three, stellar webtexts in Topoi for this issue.

The first webtext, “Space, Time, and Transfer in Virtual Case Environments (VCEs)” by David Fisher, David Russell, Joseph Williams, and Dan Fisher, was collaboratively developed across three institutions. It uses multimedia and Bakhtin’s idea of the chronotope as time-space to develop case study simulations for student writing. By moving beyond the CMS as representation of a brick and mortar classroom (e.g., WebCT and Blackboard), the authors provide examples developed in MyCase, a database of multimedia artifacts that enable the rapid generation of Web-based cases by teams from multiple disciplines. Fisher offers as exemplar “Lot49 Communications,” a VCE for first-year writing and marketing communication classes, where students engage both in role-play and meta-critical reflection of genre. Lot49 Communications is a fully-developed virtual business environment complete with workers, personalities, inter-office communications, and specific work products; its use provides students with case-specific scenarios about which to write and that promote “transfer-enabling” knowledge. This webtext not only explains the use of VCE’s theoretically, but also invites readers into Lot49 Communications for a practical engagement with the VCE itself.

In our other topoi webtext, the authors Robert Dornsife and Russel Wiebe play with the form of the literary essay in composition and literary studies. In this audio essay, "(just) words" finds a theme in the idea of language heard and overheard. The authors weave seemingly disparate stories together (from the shooting at Virginia Tech and its aftermath on TV and in our classrooms to plagiarists and the mute suffering of a woman on a ventilator) to consider the consequences and responsibilities of asking our students to write from what they know. This webtext asks authors to practice their rhetorical listening by only listening. The form is a departure from the typical Kairos webtext, and we hope that readers enjoy the change. 

Computers and Writing 2007 Conference Reviews

Continuing with the tradition of the CCCC Reviews, which Kairos started publishing last summer, we are pleased to present a new feature: session reviews from the Computers and Writing onsiteconference, which was held last May in Detroit. Working with the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition and Communication (7C)-- specifically the 7Cs volunteer Task Force--we offer reviews of workshops, keynote speeches, individual sessions, and conference overviews. Thank you to Bob Whipple, Task Force Co-Chair, and Douglas Eyman, Senior Co-Editor and 7Cs member, for collecting and editing these reviews.