With the rapid advance of electronic media in academe, in the writing classroom, and in the workplace, college teachers of composition are faced with the need to teach writing for a number of new venues, with a number of new technologies. The four authors of Writing New Media address the expansion of their field by proposing an expanded vision of composition—one informed by what's possible in new media and by the changing conceptions of "composition" those new media bring. And they offer practical applications taken from their own classroom assignments to make their theorizing more concrete.
As new media mature, the changes they bring to writing in college are many and suggest implications not only for the tools of writing, but also for the contexts, personae, and conventions of writing. An especially visible change has been the increase of visual elements—from typographic flexibility to the easy use and manipulation of color and images. Another would be in the scenes of writing—web sites, presentation "slides," email, online conferencing and coursework, even help files, all reflect non-traditional venues that new media have brought to writing. By one logic, we must reconsider traditional views even of what counts as writing; a database, for example, could be a new form of written work.
The authors of Writing New Media bring these ideas and the changes they imply for writing instruction to the audience of rhetoric/composition scholars. Their aim is to expand the college writing teacher's understanding of new media and to help teachers prepare students to write effectively with new media beyond the classroom. Each chapter in the volume includes a lengthy discussion of rhetorical and technological background, and then follows with classroom-tested assignments from the authors' own teaching.
A significant contribution to composition studies, this work is one of the first major volumes to address this area with both theory and practice in mind. In addition, the structure of the book is unique, even trend-setting. In a field where the volume of collected essays is the dominant genre, these four writers have created a multi-author book with the diversity of a collection but the depth and coherence of a monograph.