Reviewed by Emma Lee Guthrie
Throughout their extremely engaging individual presentations that made up this panel, Sands, Blair, and Reid explored publishing and editing in academia. Sands began the panel by discussing results from zero textbook writing courses or open education resource (OER) courses at Mesa Community College. Next, Blair used the lens of technofeminism to advocate for further mentoring and increased value placed on digital publications. To conclude this panel, Reid discussed politics and change in two important journals: Computers and Composition, and the Journal of Basic Writing.
“Assessing Equity and Access in Zero Textbook Cost Writing Courses at the Community College” presented by Teryl Sands
Teryl Sands’ easygoing, knowledgeable, and extremely genuine presentation persona made it feel as if she had known all of us in the audience for years. She was able to present her complex data very simply, but with much clarity.
Mesa Community College (MCC) is beginning to offer “Z-Degree Courses”, or courses that do not require students to purchase textbooks. There has been a rise in open education resources (OERs) in recent years, and this presentation was very relevant to instructors, many who may use OERs or have considered doing so. Sands illustrated the devastating 88% rise in textbook costs in the past ten years, and how OERs can make courses much more accessible for a variety of reasons. The benefits of using open access texts seem monumental, but Sands touched on possible pitfalls including a lack of instructor awareness, the hefty time commitment to evaluate OER materials, and effective integration of OERs into course LMSs or CMSs. The Z-Degree courses that MCC offered illustrated some of these pitfalls including lower grades compared to courses where students purchased textbooks, and lower student evaluations. Sands provided possible reasons for these results, one being not enough instructor training using the “Expert Model” of how to teach these courses, and less sections of the Z-Degree courses offered than courses using high price-point textbooks. Naturally, all new ideas take time to implement successfully, and Sands understands and also advocates for further study of the Z-Degree at MCC.
“Technofeminist Editorial Mentoring and the Future of Digital Scholarly Publication” presented by Kristine Blair
Kristine Blair, editor of Computers & Composition, and co-editor of Computers & Composition Online discussed the innovation, time, and energy that goes into digital publishing, digital dissertations, and the lack of scholarly recognition in these accomplishments. Using technofeminism as a lens, Blair had multiple components in her presentation that she jokingly mentioned all ended in “al” including Ideological, Definitional, Cultural, Intersectional, Generational, Foundational, Relational, Environmental, Editorial, Developmental, and Transformational, and Sustainable. She briefly discussed each of these in light of digital publishing, with technofeminism serving as a framework for questions related to each of these topics. Some of her questions encouraged me to examine many of the assumptions that I unconsciously held about scholarship and publication. Some of my favorite questions that she posed included:
- What counts as scholarship, and who decides what counts?
- Why aren’t there as many multimodal journals as print journals?
- How can we create intellectual space for conversations in new modalities?
- Going off of Jody Shipka and the New London Group, how can we foster a broadened understanding of multiliteracies that is not just multimodal but multivocal and translingual?
- Can peer review be used as a mentoring strategy rather than a gatekeeping strategy?
Blair covered a variety of topics related to digital publishing but personally, the main takeaways were calls to push against the current acceptance of “important” published work, making sure to take note of new modalities and new voices in digital rhetorics. Technofeminism encourages us to use new methodologies and have conversations about what is truly possible with the technologies and ideas we are currently using or could use. With increased mentoring– and real value placed on mentoring, not only as service– there will be more collaboration and less mystification surrounding publishing and editorial processes.
“The Politics of Institutional Change in Computers and Composition and Journal of Basic Writing: Implications for Graduate Teaching” presented by Lynn Reid
Lynn Reid’s study analyzed Computers and Composition (C&C) and the Journal of Basic Writing (JBW) from 1995 through 2015. She claimed that graduate students and instructors must be the agents of change on campuses and engage in the world of institutional politics. Reid used Computers and Composition and the Journal of Basic Writing to see how this was done by building a corpus to see if journals are publishing on topics related to politics of institutional change. She noticed that there was not enough work being produced on the institutional stakeholders behind students and instructors, although these stakeholders play an important role in university programs. Administration must have the same programmatic goals and initiatives as the students and instructors they represent, and she found that Computers and Composition and its stakeholders were similarly aligned, unlike the Journal of Baseic Writing. Flexibility and encouragement towards institutional change is extremely important, and Reid argues that there should be more scholarship on this.