Academic Cypher

In hip hop culture, the cypher is a circle of MCs, B-boys/B-girls, beatboxers, etc who freestyle and/or battle one after the other without interruption, exchanging rhymes and flows back and forth or around. The cypher is where training takes place and skills are tested, where people collaborate, and where people create "off the top" or written/choreographed, tapping into the place where thought and action come together to share energy and advance the craft...the Academy should aim to do the same.

Tag: Annotated Bibliography

Annotations Remix

A remix takes the original version and edits or recreates in order to sound different from the original version. Below is a remix and response to the Digital Writing: Assessment & Evaluation Annotations created by Maury and Leslie.

I chose to respond to Maury’s entry on Crystal Van Kooten’s article, “” Toward a Rhetorically Sensitive Assessment Model for New Media Composition,” as the article was practical and a great example of digital (and multi-modal) writing. I have always been hesitant to assign multi-modal assignments because of assessment issues. Van Kooten managed to present an assessment model for multi-modal writing that is practical. I especially liked that she involved students in the assessment process via self-assessment and reflection. With an increase in multi-modal composing, it is important for students to know how and why they make decisions when writing. The self-assessment and reflection can help them to understand their rhetorical choices. Van Kooten shares that the first attempt was unsuccessful due to the rubrics, as Maury states, “being outgrowths of the print media rubrics.” With digital writing and composing in online spaces, we often resort to using the same tools and strategies even when they do not translate well into a new environment.  Van Kooten’s model reminded me of our first discussion topic: the rhetorical situation. I recall a few of us mentioned that we would like to utilize Biesecker’s approach to the rhetorical situation in our composition classes, but we often end of teaching Bitzer’s approach to the rhetorical situation. Van Kooten provides an approach to new media composition that presents the complex and interactive rhetorical situation that Biesecker discussed in his article. Van Kooten’s model makes connections between the technical features and rhetorical strategies; the rhetorical situation isn’t a flat author-subject-audience.

Crystal Van Kooten's model of New Media assessment of multi-modal compositions.

Crystal Van Kooten’s model of New Media assessment of multi-modal compositions.

I chose to respond to Leslie’s entry on Brunk-Chavez and Fourzan-Rice’s article “The evolution of digital writing assessment in action: Integrated programmatic assessment,” as it was a case study and provided a concrete look at digital writing assessment. I like the idea of being able to see things “in action.” I was immediately drawn to their argument about redefining what counts as writing and preparing students for writing in new mediums. Before I started teaching at Christopher Newport University, I taught exclusively online. Although the courses were all online (some asynchronous and some synchronous), many of the students had no idea how to write online. They were unfamiliar with how to write on a blog or discussion board. They were also unfamiliar with visual rhetoric. A part of my problem, and this connects back to Maury’s entry, was that we were required to use a course wide rubric that was not designed for digital writing. I like that the digital writing assessment system allowed students to have an audience outside of the instructor. I think that the other 4 outcomes are important, but helping students to understand the importance of audience awareness greatly impacts their writing (both process and product). I agree with Leslie’s evaluation. University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) program sounds wonderful, but I do not think that it is replicable. Cost and labor issues are important factors to consider. The Writing Program Administrator would have to have the funds available to implement all these programmatic changes. In addition, there are already labor issues in regards to adjuncts. The downsizing of adjunct staff and the increase in class size does not sound like the best approach. This seems like a step in the right direction; however, I do not think more students, less instructors, and more technology is the answer.

Minerwriter Instructions

Here is information given to students about the purpose of MinerWriter and how to access it.


Annotated Bibliography: Digital Writing Assessment & Fairness

Poe Mya. “ Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers.” Eds. Heidi A. Mckee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web. 3 February 2014.

In “Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers,” Mya Poe argues that digital writing assessment must consider fairness in order to provide an equal opportunity to all students. Digital writing assessment is becoming more important due to the rise in digital writing and multimodal composition. Poe presents two theories about assessment and technology: “writing assessment as technology” and “writing assessment with technology. First, writing assessment is a technology.  Poe sites the work of George Madaus, who argued that assessments fall under “very simple definitions of technology—the simplest being something put together for a purpose, to satisfy a pressing and immediate need, or to solve a problem” (qtd in Poe).  Second, digital writing is being assessed through automated essay scoring (AES). The research on AES is mixed. On one hand it has been shown as reliable. On the other hand, the programs are said to have the “raced ideologies of their designers” (4). In response to this, Poe presents 3 key terms in digital writing assessment: validity, reliability, and fairness. She defines validity and reliability; however, the focus here is fairness.

Fairness is fundamental to digital assessment because through fairness instructors are able to “make valid, ethical conclusions from assessment results so that we may provide all students the opportunity to learn” (7).  Poe uses the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing as a starting point for developing more equitable large-scale digital writing assessments.  Using the Standards, Poe presents that fairness guidelines require the following:

  • Thoughtful design
  • Extension of fairness through the entire assessment
  • Data collection (locally sensitive data through surveys, ethnographic research)
  • Interpretation of evidence in context
  • Frame assessment results for the public

Under the fairness, instructors consider the goal of the assessment and to ensure that students understand the purpose of the assessment. In addition, when interpreting assessments, instructors consider the social context and connect writing program data to institutional data. The fairness guidelines also encourage instructors to gather evidence about digital identities, understanding students’ past digital writing experiences and the nature of those experiences. The Standards “provide us ways to think about the interpretation and use of assessment results” (14). Digital writing assessment has to go beyond traditional rubrics to seeing digital assessment as a way for instructors to make informed choices for the benefit of their teaching and student learning.

The questions posed in Poe’s work (and in the entire collection) remind me of our initial class discussion where we talked about defining a network and understanding the affordances and roles of networks. Poe’s work aims at the question: “How might the multimodal, networked affordances of digital writing affect issues of equity and access?” (Preface).  This goes beyond questions of access to the network but also the benefits that sad network offers to that particular group. A minority group may have access to the network, but lack the knowledge or ability to capitalize on this access. This could be a network of physical friends and co-workers or a digital network.

Poe’s work also made me think of assessment as a kind of boundary genre. Boundary genres are defined as genres that “may actively participate in interprofessional struggles about hierarchies, dominance, and values, helping to create, mediate, and store tensions” (Popham 283). Assessments work in this way, as scholar-teachers we struggle over the role of assessment and when and how to assess. Assessment goes across professional disciplines/boundaries because teachers, administrators, and the public use them to make changes to pedagogy, develop policies, and judge quality/effectiveness, respectively.

I am still pondering the connection between boundary genres and networks. Would boundary genres serve as nodes, providing connections between disciplines and groups in order to redistribute information and communicate between different points?

 Works Cited:

McKee, Heidi A., and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Eds. “Preface.” Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web.

Poe Mya. “ Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers.” Eds. Heidi A. Mckee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web. 3 February 2014.

Popham, Susan L. “Forms as Boundary Genres in Medicine, Science, and Business.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 19.3 (2005): 279-302.


Deuren, Joe Van. “Fairness heading” Balanced Life Sills. Web. 3 February 2014.

Tarbell, Jared. “Node Garden.” Gallery of Computation, 2004. Web. 3 February 2014.

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