Ever since my parents bought me a desktop computer as an eighth grader in 2002, I have loved computers. The introduction to that machine was a turning point for my literacy practices. I started reading on screens, typing instead of writing, and communicating through emails using the dial up internet connection. Moreover, it was also a gateway to a life of composing texts in different modes as well as sharing those that were already in existence. I remember the days when we would use Compact Discs to watch our favorite movies or listen to our favorite songs. Also, I remember generating and modifying content with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Paint, along with Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver. Twenty years later, computers are still crucial for me – in fact, they are mandatory to my personal life, work, and study. Composing texts, conducting research, developing instructional materials, connecting and collaborating with professors, colleagues, students, family, and friends happen through the internet, via laptop, tablet, and mobile applications.
As a digital native, my interests have been furthered after I decided to become a citizen of academia. A major aspect of my pedagogy and my dissertation research, is focused on care ethics or “carefull-ness” informing the responding processes in writing classes taught online. I decided to conduct my dissertation research on virtual spaces because the digital world is an integral part of my life and identity. Since I am an international student, visits to home are scarce. Therefore, the digital sphere eventually became my “home” space where all human relationships – born digital as well as the migrated ones – gradually started to grow and live. Furthermore, my digital presence expanded with the pandemic because in addition to being a large part of my personal life, my entire professional and academic life shifted online as well. This shift strengthened my belief that it is possible to develop academic and professional connections in online writing classrooms despite the lack of physical human presence and a solid brick and mortar setting. The dissertation project that I am currently working on investigates caring or “care-full” written and audiovisual responses to students’ project drafts. Feedback is one of the strongest and most effective means of connection and communication in any process-oriented writing class: specifically a virtual one where opportunities for interactions between different members of the classroom community are extremely limited. In this context, a thoughtful and caring response contains the power to contribute towards boosting a feeling of community and a sense of intellectual partnership between the teacher and the student. At the same time, it is important to understand that while “care-full” responding aims towards deepening community bonds, the process of responding, specifically in an online writing classroom, can be as complex, multifaceted, and rigorous as the process of composing multimodal texts.
Given my passion for multimodality, digital pedagogy, and teaching writing via all modes of instruction, as a DRC fellow, I am excited to work in projects that are pedagogy-oriented, fun, and innovative. I think it is possible to create human bonds and communities in virtual spaces if we use technology in a creative and constructive manner, whether it is a CMS, a social media platform, or a digital composing and designing tool. Therefore, I wish to explore the creation, development, and usage of technology in contemporary times, and the ways in which they fit into a writing classroom, which, I believe, is simply a slice of our larger life, culture, and society.
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