Multiliteracy and Rhetoric
Students may become frustrated by the conflicting messages received from professors when encouraged to communicate with detailed and descriptive prose in one class while conversely encouraged to communicate with crisp, concise bulleted lists in another class. To help students navigate such rhetorical challenges, the writing center should function as a centralized home of discourse that is able to explain and demonstrate writing in context. (1)
Golden, Paulette. "Writing in Context: Redefining the Writing Center as the Multidisciplinary Hub for Writing in the New Millennium." Praxis: A Writing Center Journal. 8.2 (2011).
When we think of tutors, we think of peer students who are skilled at writing. Since writing centers were created, tutors have been trained in writing styles, psychological behavior, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and resolution conflict. They are supposed to be all things to all students, so why not now in the digital age? Paulette Golden argues for this in "Writing in Context: Redefining the Writing Center as Multidisciplinary Hub for Writing in the New Millennium." She specifically states,
Writing tutors and administrators need [not] to be specialists in all fields, but they should have an informed awareness of the differences in curricular styles, which include variances in purpose, audience, voice and document type. (1)
In her article, Golden discusses the rhetorical context in which tutors should tutor students' papers. In addition to the context, they must also take into consideration the the different styles and media for each discipline. To further her research, she discusses how tutors can help students connect the context of texting with short hand to academic writing. By doing this, Golden emphasizes "the writing center should be the place that teaches students how to navigate the constraints of different writing contexts" (3). This article focuses on spinning the rhetorical situation for any subject, medium, audience, and purpose.
The reason for our inclusion of this article is because it gives a good rhetorical foundation for why tutors should teach in a mulitliteral and multimodal center. Just like the authors in The Norton who discuss the importance of the rhetorical situation (which is pretty much all of them), Golden's article gives the rhetorical situation a direct connection to media like Twitter and Facebook and suggests that tutors can help students distinguish the differences as well as link them together.
In the next article by McKinney, she continues the discussion of tutors teaching in the digital age but focuses specifically on new media and redefining how it works in writing centers. Click here for McKinney.