I just spent four days in Menomonie, WI at the 2015 Computers & Writing Conference. As I do with every academic conference, I dread going but I always have a better time than I expect. In fact, I think the longer I’m in this discipline, the better they get. Now, I have friends who go, acquaintances who I’ve met over beers, and scholars who have work that I admire. I still find it surreal to sit across from someone who I cited in my dissertation or someone who has essays and books that I share with my students.
I walked away energized to revise an article with my co-author, ready to revise an article of my own for a new venue, and tons of ideas for my classroom. I think I will start using Twitter and create hash tags for my classes. I think I want to find more ways for my students to compose in different arenas. Moreover, I talked about my new online courses and got amazing feedback on how to make that work better. It was invigorating and informative … it’s why I go to conferences.
At the same time, I found myself looking for more. Sometimes, things seemed cool for the sake of being cool. Other times, the focus on making/coding rather than analyzing or teaching alienated me. Or, when analysis occurred, it seemed largely divorced from the kind of work I do. Except for Danielle Nicole DeVoss’s panel on the canon, I had a hard time connecting to the material.
So, where do I belong? The collaborative nature of C&W appeals to me, but I’m not sure it’s my home. The more I teach, the more I realize my interests are on how classrooms work and how we run writing programs … I think I’m becoming a WPA.
At the same time, I want to learn more about the avant-garde ways we can teach writing. I want to be the kind of administrator who supports faculty when they use Twitter in class or have their students make things. Maybe these are my people?