Readings, and Related Inspirations

Approaching the Digital Composition Assessment Monster – A Midpoint Blog


You are looking at an interface. More specifically, you are looking at a wordpress blog interface. And even more specifically, you are looking at a MistyLook wordpress blog interface. When I sit down to write on my blog, I don’t see the MistyLook interface I spent a lot of time chosing and then altering. But when I hit the ‘publish’ button to my right, I often must go back and move around text, or pictures, or the occasional video I embed.

I don’t know what other bloggers do when they sit down to compose a blog (I’m sure some of them do it standing)

because It has never occurred to me to ask. What I do know about blogging is that my own approach to this wordpress interface is different from the way I approach a more traditional paper. When I sit down to write a paper, I usually begin by handwriting on a good old fashioned piece of paper. I used to use pencil exclusively, but it doesn’t archive well, so after several years of practice, I have finally upgraded to pen. Once I get the words going, I move to my Microsoft word program where I have already moved the default settings to Times New Roman 12 point font. I didn’t have to change the margins or any of the other default settings because apparently Microsoft does know something about essay writing (despite what the grammar check may betray). Another approach I take to writing traditional papers is that I plan. I plan a lot. I plan more than probably anyone I’ve ever met.

Clearly this person is left handed.

When I sit down to write a blog – either a response blog, an art blog, or a report blog (I have several blogs), I do very little, to no, planning. I don’t change the font. I don’t think a lot about lit reviews. What I do think about is what I’m going to link, or what images might be useful to the idea dangling precariously at the edge of my mind. When I write a blog, the product is often very different from what I thought I might do when I sat down and started typing.

In an article called “After Digital Storytelling: Video Composing in the New Media Age”, by Megan Fulwiler and Kim Middleton, the authors discuss the fact that there is a division between traditional approaches to composition and approaches to new media composition. Using a case study approach, they observe that their novice video production students were not able to transfer their script writing skills directly to the video. Instead, what needed to occur was instruction on compositing and new recursivity. Compositing is the idea that video composition involves layers of moving and static images, plus sound and consideration for cues. New recursivity is a “circle back” approach to composition where the video composers circle back through their composites over and over to make sure the layers are falling together correctly.

“After Digital Storytelling” is my inspiration for looking at how to approach digital composition. What the authors do not ever mention, is how they assessed their case study students. Further, while the authors address ideas of compositing and new recursivity, they do not talk about whether or not they actually taught these strategies. At this midpoint moment in the course, I plan to look at how the approach to composition in a wordpress interface can help us begin to etch out best practices for assessing an assignment that could occur in a wordpress interface.

My exigence is this: If we ever plan to teach digital composition, it is important that we understand what it is that we are asking our students for. Therefore, I plan on excising as much information as possible from the readings we have already done on interface, computer literacy, assessment and sonic aurality. I will look at other texts on blogging and composing within a blog interface. But what will set this exploratory project aside from others, is that I plan to launch it ON a wordpress interface, using videos, screenshots, and other helpful images and hyperlinks to show alphabetic, visual, aural and static image require a different approach from traditional ideas of composition.

Right now, as we read through sonic aurality and get ready to talk about how important, yet neglected, sound is in our field, I am trying to reign in all these ideas. I wanted to show how the interface acts as a frame, and I’m sure there will be room for this kind of illustration, but I feel like my focus is as wide as this course and I might accidentally drown in it.

But before I drown, I have to make one more observation: I am typing this blog post up in a word document that is pre-formated by and for me. Perhaps because of this, I have not even thought about adding my usual cute pic or embedded video. In the spirit of new recursivity though, as soon as I cut this out of the word doc and paste it into the wordpress interface… image collecting I will go.


4 thoughts on “Approaching the Digital Composition Assessment Monster – A Midpoint Blog

  1. This sounds like a perfect topic and an article in the making!

  2. It does sound great. After something that I wrote earlier tonight, I am intrigued by the fact that you actually start with traditional handwriting. It makes me nostalgic to think about it. I actually purchased a theme for my blog, as I saw it being used for a larger purpose at some point, so like we talked about that day at lunch, I would be glad to help you with analysis of the interfaces ideas if you would like.

  3. Can you please add a link and credit to author of the lock image you used:

    Broken Rusty Lock: Security (grunge)

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