Introduction to Brandy Dieterle

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Ever since my family first got a desktop with Windows 1995 on it, I’ve found myself intrigued and fascinated by the possibilities of computers and other digital technologies. What started out as using technology for game play turned into using it for socializing, and now a site for research. My trajectory for earning a Ph.D. was not always clear to me. In fact, it wasn’t until I had two semesters of coursework done for my Master’s degree, which I began working on because I wasn’t having any luck finding a job with a B.A. in writing, that I thought researching and writing about digital rhetoric, identity and self-representation, and multimodality could become a career for me.

Since I landed on this path, much of my research has been focused on identity and self-representation, particularly digital identities, and how we can teach an awareness of those identities to students. I personally approach this challenge of teaching awareness by engaging students in composing multimodal and new media texts. This research has been presented at several conferences over the past few years, and I’ve also had one article published (co-authored with Stephanie Vie) and a few others that are currently under revision for publication.

Due to my interest in digital rhetoric, identity and self-representation, and multimodality, there are three main roles I plan to engage in as a DRC fellow to continue learning from other digital research scholars: social media coordinator; wiki coordinator; and blog carnival coordinator.

Considering that identity and self-representation is an area of interest for me, I would love to be a part of continuing to hone and craft the DRC’s identity and presentation through various social media platforms, and also through listservs. Social media and listservs are some of the key ways scholars keep in touch with others from across the country, and even around the world, and we want scholars to keep in touch with us here at the DRC, too. Here I am envisioning promoting content on the website by sharing recent posts, sharing requests for contributors, and also sharing older posts that are still timely but haven’t had as much exposure as of late. Further, developing brief newsletters that provide an overview of the past month’s activities will also be great for those interested in the DRC but who might have missed a post or two.

Coinciding with my interest in utilizing multimodal and new media texts as a means for fostering students’ awareness of identity and self-representation, I am interested in developing the wiki on these subject areas further. The term multimodal is a complex one that scholars in the field engage in friendly debate on when trying to define and explain the term. Similarly, the phrase new media texts is also one that is under question and has shifted over the years. I think the wiki would be a great way to articulate the definitions of these terms, and illustrate for students and scholars alike how these terms are typically used in discourse and some of the scholarship that they are grounded in. This would give students and scholars an overview of the term’s history, and also a place to begin exploring particular parts of that history even further.

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An image of a multimodal text that I created during a multimodal composition workshop.

Finally, I’m interested in coordinating blog carnivals on the topics of identity and multimodal composing. Within the fields of writing and rhetoric and communication, identity is studied and often described as being performative. I think it would be fascinating to have a blog carnival about this subject to help bring awareness to the ways in which we perform various identities, and how we can think critically about those performances. For a second blog carnival, I think it would be a great resource if we could discuss multimodal composing and multimodal pedagogy to help teachers think about the challenges faced when teaching multimodality, and how to overcome those challenges by creating effective assignment sheets, developing rubrics, workshop days, and activities to foster multimodal composing.

If you have an interest in these topics or have something else that you’d like to share with the DRC community, contact me at brandy.dieterle at ucf dot edu.

About Author(s)

Brandy Dieterle is a doctoral student in the Texts & Technology program at the University of Central Florida (UCF). At UCF, Brandy has been a graduate student tutor in the University Writing Center and has taught first-year composition courses. As a teacher, Brandy encourages students to think of writing and literacy as both self representation and identity forming. Her research is focused on identity and self representation, gender identity and representation, multimodality and new media, and digital rhetoric.

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