Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Competing Literacies and the 21st Century Research Paper

As I teach writing during this transitional period from print-based knowledge and teaching processes to digitally mediated varieties, I have become keenly aware of competing literacies that are now in play: print-paradigm literacy, and digital literacy. 

I think that college students should be getting trained to succeed within their current context, and that context is not primarily print-based -- not anymore. A the same time, I recognize that traditional print-based ways of thinking and producing knowledge remain valuable. And the pragmatic reality is that most teachers of writing are going to continue to expect traditional academic writing for some time to come. 

How do I reconcile these competing literacies? How can we connect traditional academic writing to the ways knowledge is meaningfully produced and shared in the digital age? What should the research paper become in the 21st century?