Current Issues in WAC* (2009)

  • What issues have recently surrounded WAC?
    • As of 2009, issues that have had a great impact on WAC programs include diminished funding for writing programs (and, hence, WAC), the growing ubiquity of technology and Web 2.0 (which have created a socially networked populace via Internet and cell phone technology), and the internationalization of WAC.
  • How has diminished funding affected WAC?
    • Currently, federal funding for higher education has been on the decline. Writing programs have been hit by this decline, and WAC has suffered some for not being a new pedagogy in an institutional grant culture that tends to value the "Next New Thing" (Lunsford). That has been, for many proponents of WAC, just one reason to integrate technology with WAC.
  • How else has WAC been affected by technology?
    • While the integration of technology into WAC has included debates on just how big of a role technology should play in writing programs, the consensus has been that technology is not going away and that it will continue to play a vital role in academia as well as the rest of the world. Having this in mind, many WAC proponents have found ways in which to productively integrate emerging technologies into their institutions' writing programs.
  • What are some ways in which technology can be used to enhance WAC programs?
    • Some ways in which technology can be used positively in the implementation of WAC programs include:
      • Course Management Systems
        • An example would be WebCT. This can be a help to WAC because it has the capacity to allow cross-curricular, campus-wide and even cross-institutional organization and sharing of class materials.
      • Archives
        • The ability to make vast archives of information available to many participants (instructors and students) across barriers of time and distance can be of an immense help in a WAC program. Archives may include anything from student work in many different courses to extensive electronic archives of scholarly journals in many different fields.
      • Web 2.0
        • The ability of students and instructors alike to collaborate at convenience via the web using tools like Google Documents has also opened up many new possibilities for WAC programs.

(Lunsford)

  • The Internationalization of WAC
    • WAC has crossed national borders for a variety of reasons, but technology and globalization (often working hand in hand) have been the biggest causes for the movement toward internationalization.
  • What are the major current causes of concern for WAC programs?
    • While technology seems to be giving WAC a new lease on life (at least monetarily) and giving it new means of expanding across national borders, there are concerns with writing programs becoming engulfed in technology. There are worries that the technology will move to the forefront and that the shape of the writing itself, for better or worse, will become altered by the whims of each new trend in youth culture and technology (such as the current craze of Twittering).
    • There is uncertainty as to how to assess students who are allowed to freely collaborate via Web 2.0. Web 2.0 poses a huge dilemma with regard to plagiarism, how to track it, and whether or not it is even ethical to attempt to track it (as with the controversy surrounding Turnitin.com).

* Writing Across the Curriculum or (WAC) is a pedagogy that originated in the 1970s (because of the changing demographics and curriculums in higher education caused by open admissions) that emphasizes the ability to write fluently in the many different content areas of academia as well as an understanding of why each academic content area has its specific way of communication through writing.

Essential Resources

The WAC Clearinghouse supports "scholarly exchange about communication across the curriculum" and works with the International Network of Writing Across the Curriculum Programs to publish "journals, books, and other resources for teachers who use writing in their courses."

The International Network of Writing Across the Curriculum (INWAC) is an informal group of teachers, researchers, and institutions that provides a number of resources for those interested in learning more about WAC; these include an online forum, access to new and previously-published books and articles, a database of member-authored information about activities, projects and programs at sites around the world, and annual meetings at which members can come together to discuss and share concerns and practices regarding WAC.

An Overview of WAC in the Composition Classroom is an overview that I compiled to provide composition teachers with a summary of how and why WAC might be implemented by composition teachers in the composition classroom.


Bibliography

Lunsford, Karen J. "Writing Technologies and WAC: Current Lessons and Future Trends."

Across the Disciplines 6 (2009): 34 pars. 26 March 2009

McLeod, Susan. "The Future of WAC." Across the Disciplines 5

(2009): 12 pars. 26 March 2009

McLeod, Susan. "The Pedagogy of Writing Across the Curriculum." ''A Guide to Composition

Pedagogies''. Eds. Tate, Gary, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. New York: Oxford, 2001.
149-64.

Reitmeyer, Morgan T. "Programs That Work(ed): Revisiting the University of Michigan, the

University of Chicago, and George Mason University Programs After 20 Years." Across
the Disciplines 6 (2009): 32 pars. 26 March 2009

*** created by: james hlavik *** on: 4/22/2009 *** updated: 5/4/2009 ***