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