Taking where learners write from the most and are more comfortable writing strikes me as a logical starting point. It's like planning a drainage systen: first see where the water wants to go (or not) and then design accordingly.
Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students :: WIDE Research Center, Michigan State University
This white paper reports initial findings from a Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center study entitled Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students. These initial findings are drawn from a survey of students enrolled in writing classes at a sample of US postsecondary institutions.
Writing practices and technologies have changed considerably over recent years. Given these changes, we know that contemporary college students are highly literate, but we lack clear and comprehensive portraits of how writing works in their lives. The primary aim of this study is to generate a large and uniform data set that leads to a better understanding of the writing behaviors of students across a variety of institutions and locations. Working from the assumption that students lead complex writing lives, this study is interested in a broad range of writing practices and values both for the classroom and beyond it, as well as the technologies, collaborators, spaces, and audiences [e.g. distributed networks] they draw upon in writing.
Initial findings include the following:
- SMS texts (i.e., texts using short message services on mobile devices), emails, and lecture notes are three of the most frequently written genres (or types) of writing
- SMS texts and academic writing are the most frequently valued genres
- Some electronic genres written frequently by participants, such as writing in social networking environments, are not valued highly
- Students’ write for personal fulfillment nearly as often as for school assignments
- Institution type is related in a meaningful way to the writing experiences of participants, particularly what they write and the technologies used
- Digital writing platforms—cell phones, Facebook, email—are frequently associated with writing done most often
- Students mostly write alone, and writing alone is valued over writing collaboratively
Read the rest at Revisualizing Composition: Mapping the Writing Lives of First-Year College Students. Download the complete whitepaper (PDF, 766 KB)