Sunday, February 25, 2018

Wardle Threshold Concepts

Amy Lueck's Notes from Elizabeth Wardle's 2/12 Talk

Earlier this month, my colleague Julia Voss coordinated a visit with talk and workshop with Elizabeth Wardle, who spoke on the topic of threshold concepts. Below are the notes taken by other amazing colleague Amy Lueck. 

(Flyer for event)

 Erik Meyer and Ray Land (2003) developed Threshold Concept Framework. People get hung up on the notion of “concepts” here, but you might think “learning thresholds.”
Characteristics of these learning thresholds include:
  • transformative (change ways of being and knowing); sometimes bounded (may mark disciplinary territory); integrative (help learning perceive connections); troublesome (question ritualized or inert common sense views, are conceptually difficult, are counterintuitive, require adopting unfamiliar discourse, may conflict with your worldview, can make the world appear more problematic or troublesome). 

  • ways of thinking and practicing
  • not core concepts, which are important but don’t lead to “a dramatic shift to a new level of understanding” (Biggs and Tang 83)
  •  writing is a process

Liminality- the journey toward a threshold concept

Liminal space- you thought you had things connected, but now all the connections are gone and it can be uncomfortable until you find out how it all can fit together again.
  • repetition, application, reflection, connections across time, and dialogue with both peers and faculty
  • name them early and often. 
  • helps students to integrate and make connections across seemingly disparate contexts
  • help students learn by doing- then step back from it and name what they were doing
  • aid student in using throw to understand practice and vice versa
  • adaptation during the state of liminality results in Engfish or mush faking. Examples are important for providing a bridge to cross liminality- Science templates from Tracy Ruscetti
  • may make them feel robbed of a comforting idea, entailing a sense of loss

 (Me w/my eyes closed, Wardle, Voss, and Lueck)

First Year Writing threshold concepts

- brainstorm rhetorical strategies

-look at the rhetoric of your discipline
-opportunities for theorizing, doing, reflecting

 (Wardle's Handouts)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SCU Faculty Workshop on BEAM

Framework for Rhetorical Research

Yesterday I had the chance to present a workshop for the writing faculty on the use of Joseph Bizup's "BEAM: A Framework for Rhetorical Research." We began by discussing what kinds of texts faculty used with students and what kinds of questions remained with regard how sources were being used.
I identified a couple key issues:

  • Reluctance to use sources that ran counter to their position or the sources that they agreed with (a form of confirmation bias)
  • Uncertainty of how to organize sources (chronologically?)
I presented a few examples of Exhibits ("E" of BEAM) that could help provoke research questions from students (another difficult part of the research process). They work well as a place to start for recent/relevant research because they:
  • Provide an example of what the research question addresses
  • Provoke a research question based on a broader topic

We spent a good amount of time discussing Methods ("M" in BEAM) and the extent to which students are already familiar with "guiding concepts or procedures" that provide interpretive lenses or frames for their research. Another made the point that Methods can be instrumental so that they might not need to be a source, but acknowledged in terms of discipline how they approach a topic. 

Others present discussed the benefits of setting aside time to look with librarians at Background sources, using encyclopedia databases such as Omnifile. 

I shared the Learning Glass video I did for BEAM as well as a Portland State video that someone did for BEAM (below).

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Student Podcast on Basic Writing in the Digital Age

Featuring an Interview with Yours Truly

The following podcast was composed by Sanah Imran, who was a student in my Introduction to Writing Studies undergraduate course this Fall. For her final project, she composed a podcast on basic writing and the use of multimodal composing because of her background as a multilingual speaker and her Engineering major.

Sanah began researching basic writing and coming up with a literature review. From her literature review, she created a survey that I distributed on the Facebook page for the Council of Basic Writers, and I believe that she had some 40 or so responses by very generous instructors of basic writing who responded to her survey. From these responses, she prepared questions for our interview based on my work in the University of Arizona's award-winning basic/developmental writing program.

Sanah Imran is an Electrical Engineering major and English minor, as well as a recipient of SCU's Presidential Scholarship.

To read more about Sanah's project, visit the ePortfolio she composed for the course:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

My Bread Loaf Student in BLTN Journal

A Great Podcast Interview with Rajwinder Kaur by Tom McKenna

The BLTN Journal site has a great podcast interview with my student from last summer, Rajwinder Kaur, about her final project that she created for my Multicultural Digital Storytelling class. Raja details how she is working to incorporate this kind of storytelling into her classes, although she notes difficulties she faces because her students still face issues of access to resources, which she is working through.

I am also embedding her video below:

Raja mentions the Digital Storytelling text we discussed in the class Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community (Digital Imaging and Computer Vision)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fall 2017 issue of Composition Studies

My piece "Identity, Decolonialism, and Digital Archives"

I am proud to be included with a great group of Latinx scholars in rhetoric and composition who have contributed pieces for this issue of Composition Studies on current Latinx research. I begin my piece by discussing UTEP's Rhetoric Symposium where I spoke on decolonizing digital platforms and the rest of my piece is framed around a Google Doc that serves as a growing archive of citations from members of the NCTE/CCCC Latinx Caucus and the decolonial potential for archiving knowledge at the margins. If you're unsure about the term Latinx, Christina Garcia offers an explanation of the term in her contribution, and there are great contributions from other great scholars who I am honored to share journal pages with. 

See the Table of Contents below or here:

Link to my piece in SCU library: 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Frederick Aldama coming to SCU in February

Reading from his Bilingual Flash Fiction Long Stories Cut Short

On February 27, 2018, writer and scholar Frederick Aldama will be reading from his book of bilingual flash fiction Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands (Camino del Sol) at Santa Clara University.

“Buzzin’ from start to finish, an unexpected bilingual knock-out punch!”—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States

Aldama’s is graphic reality, in bold typeface, lines as abrupt as single words—go, allá, fast, ya.”—Dagoberto Gilb , author of Before the End, After the Beginning: Stories

Long Stories Cut Short exists in that borderland space where fact frictively rubs up against fiction in the lives of Latinx peoples. From Xbox videogamer cholo cyberpunks to philosophically musing Latinx tweens and undocumented papás and romancing abuelitas, these dynamic bilingual prose-art creative flash nonfictions probe deeply the psychological ups and downs of Latinxs surviving a world filled with racism, police brutality, poverty. These flashes of creative nonfictional insight bring gleaming clarity to life lived for Latinxs across the Américas where all sorts of borders meet and shift.

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, and University Distinguished Teacher. He is the author, co-author, and editor of over 30 books. He is editor and coeditor of 8 academic press book series. He is founder and director of the Ohio Education Summit Award and White House Hispanic Bright Spot winning LASER/Latinx Space for Enrichment & Research. He is founder of the Humanities & Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute. He has been honored with the 2016 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education Award. In 2017 he was inducted into the Academy of Teaching as well as the Society of Cartoon Arts.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Alexandra Hidalgo's Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition

New from Computers and Composition Digital Press is Alexandra Hidalgo's (Michigan State UniversityCámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition. It is a video book that enacts the strategies and practices that it articulates.

One of my favorite quotes from the Introduction is when Hidalgo writes, 
"I have five years of experience as a documentary filmmaker but nothing taught me more about life behind the camera than these fevered, rushed, ecstatic weeks when there was never enough footage to fill the six chapters that comprise this video book."

The subtitle of "A Feminist Filmaking Methodology" makes me think of the idea that women's rights are human rights, and the methodology that Alexandra Hidalgo outlines is an articulation of ethical practices that are collaborative and reciprocal, thereby postulating an approach to filmmaking that is humanistic and considerate of the rights of all involved.

Each chapter runs somewhere between 15-30 minutes each and include interviews, memoir, and professional considerations. The ebook is open source and free to read from Computers Composition Digital Press, the electronic imprint of the University of Utah Press. Below is the preview for the book, although the link is also here ( 

Hidalgo outlines the chapters as follows:
"Chapter 1 defines the video book’s key terminology and introduces viewers to the qualitative study I draw from as I make my arguments about film and video production in Rhetoric and Composition.Chapter 2 uses my filmmaking experience and interviews with women filmmakers to define feminist filmmaking through six key principles.
Chapter 3 provides a taxonomy of the film and video work currently done by rhetoricians.
Chapter 4 explores the ways in which rhetoricians use the principles of feminist filmmaking to learn how to make moving images and provides a set of guidelines for Rhetoric and Composition’s film and video production.
Chapter 5 uses the principles of feminist filmmaking to provide strategies for making film and video production count toward tenure and promotion.
Chapter 6 discusses the particular benefits that rhetoricians bring to academic film and video production and presents my thoughts on the future of moving images in Rhetoric and Composition."
This is not any kind of exhaustive review of Hidalgo's important project; however, it is a ringing endorsement for those interested in filmmaking, feminist practices, feminist theory, and multimodal scholarly publishing.

Hidalgo, Alexandra. Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital P/Utah State UP, 2017. Web.

Read the ebook here

Alexandra Hidalgo can be found on Twitter @SabanaGrandePro

Or visit find more from her here:


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017 Bread Loaf School of English Awards

Emily Bartels, Director of Bread Loaf School of English, is at the Santa Fe campus this week to meet with students and faculty. Last night, she also presented fellowships to students and teaching awards to faculty. 

(Myself with Chair awardees, Profs. Bruce Smith and Rachel Lee)

I am extremely honored to have been awarded with the M. Ruth Marino Chair, pictured above. The M. Ruth Marino Chair is a teaching award presented a faculty member who brings course offerings that previously were not available at Bread Loaf campuses. Bruce Smith (USC) and Rachel Lee (UCLA) were also presented with Chair awards for the continued commitment and contributions to the BLSE curriculum. 

(Video by Mads Delaney)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Guest Contributor Perla Luna on SJSU CCCC

Note: I am excited to have a guest contribution from Perla Luna, an undergraduate at Santa Clara University who attended CCCC on June 9-10 at San Jośe State University. Luna is double major in English and Sociology, the incoming Managing Editor of The Santa Clara and the outgoing Opinions Editor. A version of this will appear in the SCU English department newsletter.

Behind the Curtain Our Opinions Are Valued: 2017 CCCC San Jose State University 

by Perla Luna

(Nalukas, Luna and Medina)

On June 10, Isabella Nalukas and I accompanied Dr. Cruz Medina to San Jose State University for the regional College Composition and Communication Conference (CCCC). The conference was a great opportunity to hear about what’s happening in the field of writing for the panelists and attendee interested in education and the teaching pedagogy.

A stand-out panel was one which challenged the compositional work educators do for diverse readers and writers. The lecturers modeled curriculum and learning strategies, but one of the most interesting aspects of that panel was the debate on class discussions. Since high school, class discussions have been the cornerstone of any great English class in my experience. What could compare to the collective excitement of unpacking the themes of James Baldwin’s Another Country or discovering (yet another) layer to Hamlet’s madness? However, the presenters of the panel explicitly challenged this notion of class discussions as the golden standard for stretch learners.

(Writing Center Workshop Presenters
Michelle Hagar, Maria Judnick and Denise Krane)

One panel member discussed the ways in which class discussion can be punitive, shutting out readers from the learning process before they even get a chance to dig into the material. This is because professors assume their students have the foundational skills required to understand the reading. With stretch and multilingual students especially, this is not always the case. It was an important moment for me that made me reconsider how I can incorporate these types of considerations when I teach at Breakthrough Silicon Valley this summer, a program that serves underserved communities.

Getting to sit down with a table of professors for the workshop on writing centers was also a unique, thought-provoking experience. This past quarter I’ve been taking a class at SCU geared at writing center studies, so it’s a topic I was already pretty familiar with. But brainstorming alongside Prof. Krane, Prof. Judnick and Prof. Hagel was an extra benefit of the workshop. It opened up the possibility of collaboration between students and faculty, a process at the heart of writing centers and something not utilized often enough elsewhere. I would definitely recommend this type of one-on-one experience to other students—and professors! We’re happy to have our brain picked for ideas and feel like our opinions are valued.
(With Presenters from Dr. Lueck's Archival History Course)

In general, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how many ethical considerations educators consider when designing their courses—whether it’s considering the liminality of writing centers, confronting power through rhetoric or challenging the ethics of hip-hop literature and service learning. Students don’t often get to peek behind the curtains, but I walked away from the conference with a deeper understanding of how the way we learn is arrived at carefully and purposefully.

Even though the conference was aimed at others in composition studies, I was still able to connect to the information presented. The conference has even inspired me to do research on study locations for first generation students. I hope that in the future these types of conferences see the benefit in opening it up to students on a larger scale, so that we can create a truly collaborative environment.

To read more from Perla, see her work on The Santa Clara newspaper's website:

Monday, June 5, 2017

Computers and Writing 2017

Techne and Wonder

(My co-panelists Julia Voss, Laura Gonzales and myself)
This past weekend, I was out in Findlay, Ohio for the 2017 Computers and Writing conference, where I presented on the forthcoming digital collection that I am co-editing with Octavio Pimentel called Racial Shorthand: Coded Discrimination Contested in Social Media. I put together a Storify from the popular Twitter hastag #cwcon to document some of the thought-provoking and inspiring panels. Too many interesting tweets to get them all...