Here’s where we’ll talk about DeVoss, Cushman, Grabill “Infrastructure and Composing: The When of New-Media Writing.” Like the Hull and Nelson, this is one of those pieces I decided to put at the end of the class but it might have worked at the beginning as well. And also like Hull and Nelson, this is more about teaching of writing that the practice of professional writing, but I think the overlap is there.
In the nutshell, what DeVoss and Cushman and Grabill are talking about here is the story of folks in English departments working with technology, and from my own experiences, I’d describe it as a “sliding scale” based on whatever the “next” technology is. When I started teaching writing way WAY back when, in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I used to require students to use some kind of word processing software for at least one of their essays. This freaked people out. When I first had students doing web pages in the mid 1990s, getting server space to host those projects on the web was not all that easy to do. And here we are now with audio/video projects. Who knows what will come next.
I think the description of “infrastructure” on page 20 and 21 is particularly useful– it might be useful to take this into the professional writing space to explain to employers and would-be clients what’s really involved in “throwing together a help video” or some such thing– and I also think the discussion on the bottom of page 22 about “when” something is a tool makes a lot of sense. After all, most of us are using our phones as the camera and microphone for our recordings, and that seems to shift the definition of infrastructure.