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Annotated Bibliography: Digital Writing Assessment & Fairness

Poe Mya. “ Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers.” Eds. Heidi A. Mckee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web. 3 February 2014.

In “Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers,” Mya Poe argues that digital writing assessment must consider fairness in order to provide an equal opportunity to all students. Digital writing assessment is becoming more important due to the rise in digital writing and multimodal composition. Poe presents two theories about assessment and technology: “writing assessment as technology” and “writing assessment with technology. First, writing assessment is a technology.  Poe sites the work of George Madaus, who argued that assessments fall under “very simple definitions of technology—the simplest being something put together for a purpose, to satisfy a pressing and immediate need, or to solve a problem” (qtd in Poe).  Second, digital writing is being assessed through automated essay scoring (AES). The research on AES is mixed. On one hand it has been shown as reliable. On the other hand, the programs are said to have the “raced ideologies of their designers” (4). In response to this, Poe presents 3 key terms in digital writing assessment: validity, reliability, and fairness. She defines validity and reliability; however, the focus here is fairness.

Fairness is fundamental to digital assessment because through fairness instructors are able to “make valid, ethical conclusions from assessment results so that we may provide all students the opportunity to learn” (7).  Poe uses the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing as a starting point for developing more equitable large-scale digital writing assessments.  Using the Standards, Poe presents that fairness guidelines require the following:

  • Thoughtful design
  • Extension of fairness through the entire assessment
  • Data collection (locally sensitive data through surveys, ethnographic research)
  • Interpretation of evidence in context
  • Frame assessment results for the public

Under the fairness, instructors consider the goal of the assessment and to ensure that students understand the purpose of the assessment. In addition, when interpreting assessments, instructors consider the social context and connect writing program data to institutional data. The fairness guidelines also encourage instructors to gather evidence about digital identities, understanding students’ past digital writing experiences and the nature of those experiences. The Standards “provide us ways to think about the interpretation and use of assessment results” (14). Digital writing assessment has to go beyond traditional rubrics to seeing digital assessment as a way for instructors to make informed choices for the benefit of their teaching and student learning.

The questions posed in Poe’s work (and in the entire collection) remind me of our initial class discussion where we talked about defining a network and understanding the affordances and roles of networks. Poe’s work aims at the question: “How might the multimodal, networked affordances of digital writing affect issues of equity and access?” (Preface).  This goes beyond questions of access to the network but also the benefits that sad network offers to that particular group. A minority group may have access to the network, but lack the knowledge or ability to capitalize on this access. This could be a network of physical friends and co-workers or a digital network.

Poe’s work also made me think of assessment as a kind of boundary genre. Boundary genres are defined as genres that “may actively participate in interprofessional struggles about hierarchies, dominance, and values, helping to create, mediate, and store tensions” (Popham 283). Assessments work in this way, as scholar-teachers we struggle over the role of assessment and when and how to assess. Assessment goes across professional disciplines/boundaries because teachers, administrators, and the public use them to make changes to pedagogy, develop policies, and judge quality/effectiveness, respectively.

I am still pondering the connection between boundary genres and networks. Would boundary genres serve as nodes, providing connections between disciplines and groups in order to redistribute information and communicate between different points?

 Works Cited:

McKee, Heidi A., and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Eds. “Preface.” Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web.

Poe Mya. “ Making Digital Writing Assessment Fair for Diverse Writers.” Eds. Heidi A. Mckee and Dànielle Nicole DeVoss. Digital Writing Assessment & Evaluation. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State University Press, 2013. Web. 3 February 2014.

Popham, Susan L. “Forms as Boundary Genres in Medicine, Science, and Business.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 19.3 (2005): 279-302.


Deuren, Joe Van. “Fairness heading” Balanced Life Sills. Web. 3 February 2014.

Tarbell, Jared. “Node Garden.” Gallery of Computation, 2004. Web. 3 February 2014.

Mindmap #2: Rhetorically Situated Foucault?

For MindMap #2, I added a few nodes about Foucualt. The nodes and connections were less developed this time because I realized that I was very wordy on the first mindmap.  I decided to start the mindmap by focusing on the key terms from Foucault. I specifically focused on trying to expand or understand “discursive formations.” I noticed through this that I had a better understanding of “discursive formations” than I thought. I like the idea of examining systems of dispersion, so I used this to guide the other nodes in the map. I have not made the connections between rhetorical situation and Foucault. I am not sure if this lack of connection is mental or emotional. What I mean by that is that I dislike mindmaps. I realize each time I look at the mindmap that I hate it. No matter how many connections I make, it still seems disorganized and chaotic. I like nice neat lines. A mind outline would work wonders for me at this point. I can’t tell if its a lack of understanding or lack of visualization ability.

Mind Map:

Reading Notes #1: Foucault Parts I and II

The first two parts of Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge reminded me why I have always avoided literature and philosophy. Reading Foucault was like trying to run through mud. I spent much of my time flipping back and forth between different chapters, dictionaries, and Google in order to make heads or tails (or any other part) of Foucault. There were too many words that I could not define or pronounce. So, I have come to the conclusion that in about 15 years, I will read Foucault and it will make sense. For now, I will keep running through the mud and fake it till I make it.

Part 1: History and the Historian

Part 1 served as a reminder of how much Foucault I have managed to avoid. He refers to previous works several times, which required me to take several quick trips to Wikipedia. The two terms that stood out in the introduction were history and document. History is defined as “one way in which a society recognizes and develops a mass of documentation with with it is inextricably linked” (7). History transform documents into monuments. There is a change in what constitutes history. The most significant change is the document. The relation between history and the document has changed. History is no longer linear.

history has altered its position in relation to the document: it has taken as its primary task, not the interpretation of the document, nor the attempt to decide whether it is telling the truth or what it is it expressive value, but to work on it from within and to develop it; history now organizes the document, divides it up, distributes it, orders it, arranges it in levels, establishes series, distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not, discovers elements, defines, unities, and describes relations” (6-7).

This visualization helped me to understand the change or shift from progressive, linear history that has unity to the more expansive, complex history (dispersion).


Part 2: T.G.F.B (Thank God For Books)

I started Part 2 of Foucault in quite a funk. I was still trying to wrap my head around all the terminology from Part 1. I was also pushing my self to understand and make connections. My ray of hope came on page 23:

The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network.

This passage was my light-bulb-moment. My first thought was: yes, of course. Books/texts enter into conversation with one another all the time. That is what academic writing is all about. Then Foucault hit me with this next part:

And this network of references is not the same in the case of a mathematical treatise, a textual commentary, a historical account, and an episode in a novel cycle; the unity of the book, even in the sense of a group of relations, cannot be regarded as identical in each case. The book is not simply the object that one holds in one’s hands; and it cannot remain within the little parallelepiped that contains it; its unity is variable and relative. As soon as one questions that unity, it loses its self-evidence; it indicates itself, constructs itself, only on the basis of a complex field of discourse.

This section helped me to make connections to a concept that I already understand: intertextuality.  With intertextuality, the reader brings knowledge and experiences of reading other texts to the reading of the new text. This section of Foucault’s work reminded me of discussions I’ve had in other classes about one book’s dialogue with another. This of course lead me to Kristeva and Bakhtin. Kristeva goes beyond the idea that texts are in conversation or a network of references, presenting that the text, itself, is made up of utterances taken from other texts. Kristeva’s work is influenced by Bakhtin’s definition of the novel as a combination of diverse languages and voices organized in an artistic manner.

The connection to books helped me to visualize and ground Foucualt’s work. Hopefully, I will have another light-bulb moment in Parts 3-5.

Key Terms

  • Discontinuity-is a break with unity, challenges cause, effect, and tradition
  • Discourse-this was a complex term in Foucualt’s work. I think he uses it to refer to the verbal/written parts of history
  • discursive formation: I’m still debating and fleshing this out.
  • archaeology: Foucault’s approach to examining discourse of the past in order to understand the present; what led to now?

Works Cited

Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992. Print.

Foucault, Michel. Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Vintage, 2010. Print.

Kristeva, Julia.  Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Ed. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. Print.

Suzanne’s How Stuff Works? Activity: Memory


This activity confirms my fear/dislike of the Cloud. I pretty much write down or print out everything. I refuse to allow others to have ownership of things that I need or create. I just cannot allow it to happen. To avoid this, I try to maintain control over “all the things.”

The majority of my files are on my Mac hard drives (I have two MacBooks) and on two back up drives. I have several giant binders filled with articles that I have read in classes, used as sources in papers, or plan to read for future research projects. I do not like any of the clouds. I even download and convert my ebooks to pdf, so I can have them saved on my computer and back up drives.

I think I may have trust issues.

Daniel How Stuff Works? Activity: Social Networks

Social Networks Popplet

This activity was an eye opener. I was surprised that I wasn’t a part of more social networks. I use Facebook (not as much as I used to) mostly because it keeps me connected to ODU friends and classmates. I remember joining Facebook in 2004. It was excellent back then. I don’t like it so much right now. I love Instagram. I use SnapChat a lot. I only use Twitter to follow trends and when watching shows that have a fan base that utilizes Twitter (Scandal, Walking Dead, Banshee). I also like to use Twitter when watching award shows (Grammy’s, MTV Video Music Awards, BET HIp Hop Awards).

I hardly ever use my academic social networks. They are not interesting to me at all. I probably should think about that more and explore why those networks aren’t utilized. I should be using those for building social and professional capital.

Maury’s How Stuff Works? Activity: IFTTT and Networking

Google Doc Response

Question #1: What did you think of IFTTT as a user? What about as a supra-network to “talk” and “do” things among your networks? How was writing your own protocol using their GUI (Graphic User Interface)?

Chvonne: I have had an account with IFTTT for about 2 years now. I have still not used it. Lifehacker recommended it as a way to increase productivity. Once I created an account and gained a better understanding of how it all works, I realized that I loved the idea, but have no idea what I would use it for. I think it is so cool. I wish I had more of a need for it. I often do not see the need to link things, so I was hesitant to allow access and to link to different networks to one another. I am not a big fan of making connections (mental connections but not many others). I finally decided on linking Facebook recipes shared with me to a Google Doc. I liked the idea of creating a recipe, so I let that guide me. Writing the protocol was straight forward. I think the software is very user friendly.

Jenny’s How Stuff Works? Activity: Types of Networks

This activity was interesting because the network at my home isn’t very complex. My brother and I are the only ones who access the network at home. We use the same types of devices (laptop, cell phones, eReaders, and game systems. I noticed how complex my classmates’ networks were compared to mine (and Summer’s network). I can’t imagine that many people accessing the network. I don’t even know we have enough kbps to handle more than the two of us. I did find it interesting that some of these devices also communicate or connect one another. For example, I can access the media files on my laptop through the playstation. I can also access my nook and my brother’s kindle through my smartphone. Overall, I learned that things are more “networked” than I realized.

Summer’s How Stuff Works? Activity: Welcome to the Cloud

Summer’s How Stuff Works? Activity: Welcome to the Cloud

Completing Summer’s How Stuff Works? Activity helped me to visualize how many connections I make to others through different cloud services. I also realized that I need to remove myself from the cloud a bit. I dislike not having ownership of things. That is a big part of why I refuse to put my music into a Cloud. I imagine one day that I’ll have to pay for space or access to the cloud. I refuse to allow a corporation/organization to control my access to music. I still buy CDs because of this fear. Its a bit crazy, but this activity helped me to see how much of my writing, files, etc are in the cloud. I didn’t have to add many technologies to the mind map because I could connect to the technologies already established.

Leslie’s How Stuf Works? Activity: Buses

When I first read that Leslie had Buses, I was very confused. I immediately thought of an actual bus that transports people from one area to another. After reading her post, I realized that I know even less about computers than I thought. I knew that transfer data in a computer was a complex process, but I did not realize how complex. I took the quiz first, thinking that I knew enough about computers to make it through. After reading the blog post, I realized that I know nothing. Anyway, the most interesting part of this process for me was that Buses allow users to personalize their computers by adding peripherals. I am a big fan of Plug and Play devices. They are user friendly and allow me to make my computer fit my needs. Now I know that buses make this possible; buses make my computer adaptable.