Twenty "computers and writing" books

I’m getting together a syllabus for a gradute course I’m teaching in the fall called “Computers and Writing, Theory and Practice.” The course is pretty much about what the title implies, although one thing not obvious is the course is supposed to be about pedagogy.

One of the challenges about teaching classes that have to do with technology and writing (as opposed to, say, Shakespeare) is that most readings more than about 3 years old get pretty “long in the tooth.” While I’ve taught the class several times before, I haven’t taught it since spring 2003, and back then, the readings I were teaching were getting kind of old. One of the things I’m doing in the spirit of the “out with the old, in with the new” this fall is to assign book review presentation/projects for the class. Basically, students get 15 minutes to give their spiel in class about one of the books on this list, and they need to hand in a short (3 or 4 page) essay about the book.

In putting together this list, I decided to stick to “authored books” (as opposed to edited collections of essays), books published in the last 4 years, and that it had something to do with “computers and writing.” I was aiming for books that had to do with teaching, but I also included things on the list that I guess have more to do with things like “media” and “cyberculture” in a more abstract sense. Anyway, here’s my list of books available for review (and for goodness’ sake, if you have anything to add to the list or if there’s anything here that you know is bad, let me know):

Alvermann, Donna E. Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World (New Literacies and Digital Epistemologies, Vol. 7). Peter Lang Publishing, 2002. (Steve’s comments: the description says in part: "Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World explores the significance of digital technologies and media in youth’s negotiated approaches to making meaning within a broad array of self-defined literacy practices.")

Bolter, Jay David Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Second Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001. (Steve’s comments: solidly a "computers and writing" book; revision
of one of the very important books in the field)

Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. MIT Press, 2000. (Steve’s comments: Interesting book, very much about "cyberculture" and fairly theoretical, too).

Cuban, Larry. Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2001. (Steve’s comments: Cuban’s book focuses on K-12 issues and not "computers and writing" per se)
Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. (Steve’s comments: This book comes highly recommended from several friends and colleagues.)

Hayles, N. Katherine, and Anne Burdick. Writing Machines (Mediaworks Pamphlets). MIT Press, 2002. (Steve’s comments: Hayles is a very theoretical writer, and the reviews suggest that this book is a melding of "pseudo-autobiography" and theoretical reading of the way electronic publishing has changed texts.)

Inman, James. Computers and Writing: The Cyborg Era. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004. (Steve’s comments: A "brand-new" book, Inman is a fairly well-known and respected name in the "computers and writing"
community. Probably a focus on higher ed and theories of writing).

Kress, Gunther. Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge Press, 2003. (Steve’s comments: Kress is a great writer and his previous work focuses on "Language Arts," education, technology.)

Lankshear, Colin, and Michele Knobel. New Literacies. Open University Press, 2003. (Steve’s comments: the description on suggests this book is about the "new literacies" and "new social practices" of literacy.)

McGann, Jerome. Radiant Textuality : Literature after the World Wide Web. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.(Steve’s comments: Brand-spankin’ new book which seems to be as much about "literary theory" as it is about the web.)

Meadows, Mark. Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative. Pearson Education, 2002. (Steve’s comments: Highly recommended; the focus seems more on the uses of "interactive/multimedia" narratives in "writings"in general– not really about education).

Monroe, Barbara. Crossing the Digital Divide: Race, Writing, and Technology in the Classroom. Teachers College Press, 2004. (Steve’s comments: Brand-spankin’ new book that looks like a promising read).

Palloff, Rena M. and Keith Pratt. The Virtual Student: A Profile and Guide to Working with Online Learners. Jossey-Bass 2003. (Steve’s comments: Highly recommended, a focus on K-12 and "education," not just English studies.)

Rheingold, Howard. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Perseus Publishing, 2002. (Steve’s comments: Rheingold has gotten a lot of "buzz" as a result of this book; more about "cyberculture" than it is about "computers and writing.")

Selber, Stuart. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Southern Illinois UP, 2004. (Steve’s comments: Selber is a well-regarded "computers and writing" scholar. The focus here is almost certainly higher ed.)

Snyder, Illana and Catherine Beavis. Doing Literacy Online: Teaching, Learning and Playing in an Electronic World. Hampton Press, 2004.

Warschauer, Mark. Electronic Literacies: Language, Culture, and Power in Online Education. LEA, 2000. (Steve’s comments: This looks to be pretty clearly about "computers and writing" with a focus on higher education).

Warschauer, Mark. Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide. MIT Press, 2003. (Steve’s comments: As the title suggests here, the focus is on the concept of "the digital divide." Less about writing or education and more about "cyberculture" in some broad sense).

Wepner, Shelley B., William J. Valmont, and Richard Thurlow. Linking Literacy and Technology: A Guide for K-8 Classrooms. International Reading Association, 2000. (Steve’s comments: Judging from the description comments on, this is a book that seems to emphasize "practice" over "theory" in K-8 teaching.)

Wysocki, Anne Frances; Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia Selfe, and Geoffrey Sirc. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004. (Steve’s comments: A brand-spankin’ new and probably somewhat experimental book, very much "in the middle"of computers and writing.)

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