Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

E-Writing and the Composition Classroom

Dr. Rebecca Faery.

In an era when, in the most frequent mode of interpersonal communication, capitalization has been abandoned and emoticons rule, should writing teachers--usually thought of as the guardians of usage conventions--accommodate to those changes? And if we should accommodate, how should that be done? Is "E-writing" a separate genre, with its own conventions, like poetry, and should the genre and its conventions be taught in the writing classroom? Or should we assume that the conventions of e-writing will inevitably influence and alter (infect and contaminate?) all written forms of language? In this paper, I will review a number of commentaries by language and usage experts, mavens, and gurus on the conventions of electronic modes of communication and their relation to more formal writing, in an attempt to propose a way for writing teachers, and indeed all teachers who deal with students' writing in their courses, to navigate our way through these sometimes thorny debates. I will close by inviting a conversation among audience members about how they deal with these questions about the changes in usage conventions prompted by the ubiquity of e-communication.


Dr. Rebecca Faery  (United States)
Director of First Year Writing
Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rebecca Faery is a scholar and writer who directs the first year writing program at MIT. She teaches courses in the essay, popular culture, and race in US cultural history.

  • E-Communication
  • Usage conventions
  • Teaching writing

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)