Digital Literacy in Composition Studies

Colleagues – This is a late follow-up post on your last meeting, which I was unable to attend. Nonetheless, I wanted to share a statement I’ve found helpful related to how digital writing and digital literacy are defined in my area of study. I’ll link to the document so that you can review for more information, but I’ll highlight the parts I found useful in relation to our interdisciplinary work:

This is a statement by one of my field’s professional organizations that is meant to help administrators develop curricula for teaching writing in the first year of college. What I found interesting in revisiting this statement is the way the document very broadly defines “composing” to encompass digital texts, as well. This resonates with my approach to digital literacy, but I hadn’t realized one of my professional organizations defines this so much in line with my feelings about teaching writing. Here’s the excerpt from the statement, with some of my added bold-face:

In this Statement “composing” refers broadly to complex writing processes that are increasingly reliant on the use of digital technologies. Writers also attend to elements of design, incorporating images and graphical elements into texts intended for screens as well as printed pages. Writers’ composing activities have always been shaped by the technologies available to them, and digital technologies are changing writers’ relationships to their texts and audiences in evolving ways.

As our group continues to hone our own understandings of digital literacy in our respective disciplines (as well as across disciplines), I think it’s essential for us to think about how our students’ writing and work are shaped by technology and how that impacts their sense of audience and purpose.

Looking forward to talking with you all more about these issues in the near future!

~Ashley Holmes

GSU Conference on Digital Literacy, February 2-3, 2017


Here is more information about the conference I’ve mentioned that Mary Helen and I are helping to organize for early next semester. Please feel free to circulate this to anyone you feel might be interested. We’re hoping for broad participation across disciplines from faculty, staff, and students.


The GSU Conference on Digital Literacy is a faculty-organized event for Georgia State University faculty, students, staff, and administrators from any discipline or department who want to learn more about using and implementing digital tools to enhance teaching and learning. This open conference will provide an opportunity for professional development, community building, and critical conversation related to digital pedagogy and scholarship.

Please see the CFP ( if you’re interested in submitting a proposal for one of the Friday conference sessions. Proposals are due November 15, 2016, and participants will be notified of acceptance by December 1, 2016.

The conference will take place on February 2-3, 2017, and participants can attend either or both days:

WORKSHOPS: On Thursday, February 2, participants can register for one of four workshops. One workshop will provide an introduction to digital pedagogy tools and strategies. One will delve into how to get the most out of iCollege. One workshop will focus on data analysis for the humanities and social sciences, and one will guide participants interested in designing courses that make use of WordPress and student-owned websites. Detailed descriptions of and registration for the workshops will be available soon on our conference website:

STUDENT SHOWCASE: On Thursday evening, students will present innovative digital work. The showcase will include a poster-style session, and a live performance with a post-show “talk back” with the student presenters. If you and your students are interested in participating in the showcase, please contact me or Ryan Pine (

CONFERENCE: On Friday, instructors and students will share their insights and experience using technology in the classroom during hour-long concurrent roundtable and workshop presentations. The CFP for the Friday conference is available on the conference website:

We look forward to seeing you at GSU’s Conference on Digital Literacy.

Organizing committee:
Robin Wharton, Mary Helen O’Connor, Tracy Burge, and Ryan Pine
For any enquiries regarding the program, please contact Robin Wharton (
For all general enquiries, please contact Ryan Pine (