David Blakesley and Karl Stolley have sent around an email to the usual comp/rhet mailing lists about a special issue of Computers and Composition they are editing titled “Multimedia Composition: Pedagogies, Production, Possibilities.” It sounds cool to me, but while I generally have a favorable opinion about multimedia activities in writing classes, I did write a brief “cautionary tale” that was published in the online journal Inventio called “Yes, But is it Writing?” Essentially, this commentary piece raises questions of access and of expertise. I couldn’t do sophisticated multimedia (e.g., video, flash, animations, etc.) in first year composition classes if I wanted to because I don’t have access to the basic hardware to do it. But beyond that, I’m trained as a writer and a reader and not a film maker or a graphic designer, skills that seems to be a part of most multimedia productions. And these skills are key: anybody who has sat through a family slide show or video screening recognizes that just because you have a video camera doesn’t mean you can shoot compelling video.
Anyway, I was just going to send an email to David and Karl to ask them if they could see fitting a longer, researched, and more developed version of this essay into this issue, but then I started counting up the projects I have in progress right now. And I stopped myself. No more projects until I finish the ones on my list, no matter how compelling these new projects might seem.
Sigh. Okay, I feel better now.
So someone else, if you want to write the essay I was thinking about writing, go right ahead.