Photo: TWU Flickr
Composing in Digital Environments (CDE) began as a supplemental digital textbook collaboratively written by graduate students and instructors at Texas Woman’s University for use in first-year composition classrooms. Quickly seeing the potential for the supplement to be useful in all writings across the curriculum, CDE expanded to be a multimedia website to increase accessibility for all instructors, writing centers, and students. Drawing on standards set by National Council of Teachers of English, CDE provides students with multimodal “choices that increase motivation, promote engagement, and encourage personal response,” and it engages “students in experiences with multiple forms of literacy.” Its web-based publication allows future and further development by graduate students and instructors to continue its expansion as rapidly as technology itself continues to develop. Among its features, CDE shows students how using Twitter is an exercise in concision, and how Facebook and Instagram are research tools. As newer modes of research form, CDE guides students to current ways to cite those forms in MLA and APA. Just when state core curriculum is requiring team-based instruction, CDE provides example lessons that take teamwork beyond PowerPoint and Prezi. Cynthia Selfe and Pamela Takayoshi (2007) remind us “audio and visual composing requires attention to rhetorical principles of communication” and CDE aides in teaching students how to do that in ways that are applicable for success in their chosen fields. Understanding that not all instructors may know or be comfortable teaching the latest technologies, students utilize current technologies they may already be familiar with while exploring new ones in the process.