Empowering first-year students through digital rhetoric
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This study describes two approaches to promoting authorial identity: the self-expressionist and the social constructivist. Without resolving the tension between the two approaches, this thesis investigates how both may prove pedagogically useful when incorporating digital media (such as e-mail and weblogs) into the First-year Composition curriculum, specifically as tools for teaching authorial identity expression and construction. I begin by analyzing the "Great Debate" between Peter Elbow and David Bartholomae. Then, I expand the argument by examining how a constructivist pedagogy could be realized by using e-mail to help students construct a writerly identity and how an expressivist sense of writerly identity could be taught as students create weblogs. In each chapter, I briefly provide a comparison and contrast of these two new media to their traditional counterparts (letter writing and journals) in order to further express how digital rhetoric can be remediated for a contemporary twist on writer empowerment. I contend that the discipline has arrived at a critical point where we need to expand our pedagogical horizon within First-year Composition. Therefore, writing students should be given more opportunities to both construct and to express authorial identities within the writing space provided by new digital media.