Writing, research, service, and methods. by Adam Webb 2010. Purpose. The purpose of this research is to develop an effective approach in creating and developing a new model for First-Year Learning Communities that contains a New Media Writing course and a Service-Learning course. .
Writing, research, service, and methods
The purpose of this research is to develop an
effective approach in creating and developing
a new model for First-Year Learning
Communities that contains a New Media
Writing course and a Service-Learning course.
RQ1: How could service-learning effectively be incorporated into the first-year
program and core curriculum? Should it be its own course?
RQ2: What kind of writing course(s) should freshmen be required/given the
choice to take? Should their be a “New Media Writing” course instead of
a “Composition” course?
RQ3: How can university services such as the Center for Civic Engagement and
Career Services be effectively incorporated into a first-year program,
RQ4: How can a writing and service-learning course connect and work with
a content course (i.e. such as psychology, biology, etc.) to promote
writing and research?
RQ5: How can writing and service-learning courses effectively teach
students research and writing methods?
RQ6: What kinds of writing assignments and activities would be effective in
a design such as this?
What is service-learning? Service-learning is a
method that connects teaching and learning goals
with community service, usually in the form of
volunteering. Service-learning helps students
participate within local communities—promoting
civic engagement and responsibility—thus building
important connections and a greater understanding
of those communities’ diverse needs.
-Bruce Herzberg (1994, 2000) – Incorporating service-
learning into the composition/writing course
-Thomas Deans (2000) – Different approaches to writing for,
about, and with community
-Paula Mathieu (2005) – The purposes for establishing
service-learning within the university
-Ellen Cushman (2002) – “Sustainable Service-Learning
-Linda Adler-Kassner (2001) – Emphasizes Deans’ writing
for, about , and with community
-Dubinksy (2001) – Learning, serving, and reflecting
-Mikolchak (2006) – St. Cloud University in Minnesota
-Posey & Quinn (2009) - Interdisciplinary General Education
(IGE) track at California State Polytechnic University,
-Munter, Tinajero, Peregrion, & Reyes III (2009) - Project
Action for equity: Service-learning with a gender equity
focus on the U.S.-Mexico border (text, collection of essays)
New Media Writing:
-Lev Manovich (2001) – New Media includes: “Internet, websites,
computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMS, and DVD
… but also television programs, photographs, etc.” (p. 43)
-Brian McNely (2009) – “Allopatric, parapatric, and sympatric”
-Anne Frances Wysocki, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L.
Selfe, and Geoffrey Sirc (2004) – Writing New Media: Theory
and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition
(text by the authors listed)
-Neal Jansons (2008) – “How to Write for New Media” (blog
“Writers write, and we like to think we do it well. But sometimes what we were taught in writing classes and have learned from reading will mean death in online media. This is because the medium is so vastly different and people have different needs from the new media than they did from the old” (Jansons, 2008).
“Day One Leadership Community” at Mississippi
State University (Learning Community focus)
-“Pods” that consist of three courses:
--Large lecture (i.e. psychology)
--Large seminar (service-learning course)
-Master teachers recruited, trained
-Service-learning expert (visits various
-Support from lecture faculty
-Seminar focuses around guest speakers, creating a
dialogue, asking questions
Michigan University Learning Communities:
-Community and discipline-focused
-Fusing learning communities and service-learning:
University of Maryland Learning Communities:
-Different tracks, discipline and community-centered
-Service-learning at the University of Texas article: Does Service-
Learning Really Help?
-The University of Texas at Austin’s Service-Learning Blog
Would entail: Teaching writing using technology, web-based formats and conventions, critical analyses of written and visual media, “multimodal rhetoric,” technical formats, and research methods.
Would entail: Teaching students how to apply what they learn in their NMW course and their content course in real life, community service, reflective writing, community-based projects, civic engagements within city/local governments.
-Reflective writing assignments/activities
-Primary research strategies (i.e. plans and goals) and tactics (i.e. adapting and
altering those plans and goals as they go)
-Use of technology, locating, assessing, and understanding the “situation” in
which research and writing occurs (i.e. PBWorks, MS SharePoint, etc.)
-In-class speakers from certain writing and research communities and
-Focus on the sequence of writing and research
-Planning, goals, motivations, etc.
-Writing structured around and within the community(ies)
-Reading and writing on articles about service-learning
-In-class speakers from the communities
-Center for Civic Engagement at UTEP (other organizations/individuals
within the community[ies])
-The process of volunteering
-The process of conducting field research (i.e. semi-formal interviews, surveys,
connecting the primary data with the in-class readings on service-learning)
Why New Media Writing and Service-Learning
Reason 1: To better connect to research and writing in content (large lecture) courses (i.e. focusing on the teaching of writing and research methodologies (sequence of steps, the process of research and writing for certain situations), not just formats and conventions, that can help the students in their other courses
Reason 2: To introduce freshmen students to possible career choices, community issues, and the actual types of writing and research needed in order to be successful in their academic and professional careers
Reason 3: To more efficiently connect what the three courses (i.e. large lecture, university/seminar, and composition/writing courses) are doing in the areas of teaching research and writing