What started as an enthusiastic Twitter conversation with Mark C. Marino, quickly became a webinar and will eventually turn into an article for Kairos. Dave Parry and Liz Losh joined Mark and I on Monday, February 28, to an audience of 38 webinar participants for “Teaching Writing as an Information Art.” (Note: Since Mark and I didn’t think to use a hashtag for our Twitter convo, I was reduced to favoriting both of our sets of tweets to re-build the conversation. Boy, PITA.)

For more than 40 minutes, Liz, Dave, Mark and I restrained ourselves physically and orally to facilitate an interesting streaming conversation complete with audience chatting on one side of the video.  The webinar, hosted by USC, is archived for posterity (and to torture myself in watching it).

A public collection of Google Docs is available, including a survey for participants.

Webinar: Teaching Writing as an Information Art
a webinar roundtable discussion
Feb. 28, 9am PST/12pm EST
50 minutes. Cost: FREE
Online or on campus (@ USC ACB 238)
Twitter: #infoarts

Katherine D. Harris (San Jose State U), Elizabeth Losh (UC San Diego),
Mark Marino (USC), and Dave Parry (UT Dallas)

Sponsored by
University of Southern California Writing Program,
The Center for Scholarly Technology,
& The Center for Transformative Scholarship
Contemporary writing courses have been taking on computational tools, from word processors to wikis, for over two decades now, and for a large portion of that time, the tools have taken center stage. However, contemporary talk of media “literacies” has changed the place of tools in the classroom — or rather, has reframed the role of language as information. When students begin to study the role of words as tags, metadata, or search optimizing keywords, they are studying not just semantic structures but the logic and rhetoric of the flow of information. This panel discusses the idea of reframing those courses and their lessons under the title of Information Arts.

Come join our round table discussion as we explore the implications of this reconceptualization of the contemporary writing course.

Katherine D. Harris. Assistant professor of English at San Jose State University. Dr. Harris teaches courses in Romantic-Era and Nineteenth-Century British literature, women’s authorship, the literary annual, textuality and digital humanities. Many of these issues are addressed in journal articles and chapters in edited collections, including Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America, The Poetess Archive Journal, and Journal of Victorian Culture. She edits an online resource for the study of literary annuals, The Forget Me Not: A Hypertextual Archive which will also become part of a comprehensive literary history of British annuals currently in progress. Dr. Harris’ most current work involves the short story, the Gothic tradition and the literary annual. An edited collection of Gothic short stories from the annuals is forthcoming in 2011 with Zittaw Press.

Elizabeth Losh
directs the culture, art, and technology program in Sixth College at UC San Diego and writes about digital rhetoric. Dr. Losh studies institutions as digital content-creators, the discourses of the “virtual state,” the media literacy of policy makers and authority figures, and the rhetoric surrounding regulatory attempts to limit everyday digital practices. She has published articles about videogames for the military and emergency first-responders, government websites and YouTube channels, state-funded distance learning efforts, national digital libraries, political blogging, and congressional hearings on the Internet.

Mark Marino. Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. Dr. Marino’s courses focus on writing in emerging information environments, particularly social media. Students in his course engage in a semester-long service project, using social media tools. He is also the Director of Communication for the Electronic Literature Organization, which recently published volume 2 of its Electronic Literature Collection. He blogs at Writer Response Theory and Critical Code Studies, a collaborative blog that explores the interpretation of computer source code. His portfolio can be found here.

Dave Parry.
Assistant Professor of emerging media and communications at UT-Dallas. David Parry studies the ways in which people communicate in the digital age, and prepares students to use media — both vehicles currently in existence and those which haven’t yet been created. Parry’s research addresses how contemporary theory can help answer questions about how technology, and language as technology, shape the act of reading. He also examines the ways knowledge changes as media for transmission and archivization become digital. Parry earned his Ph.D. in English from the University at Albany (SUNY).

One of the occasional topics at WRT is the way in which digital environments are impacting the writing classroom. In an upcoming webinar, several scholars will be proposing a reconceptualization of composition as an Information Art.