December 8, 2019

Blevins Presents at Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference

Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins

Brenta Blevins, Assistant Professor of English, recently presented at the 2019 Feminisms and Rhetorics conference her project “Composing New Public Rhetorical Possibilities Using Augmented and Mixed Reality.” Blevins analyzed installations of traditional epideictic rhetoric, such as memorial statues and artwork, at institutions that began as schools for women, and, after examining other Augmented Reality (AR) projects, contended that AR compositions, such as class assignments, could offer additional means for expanding campus historical interpretation.

Blevins Presents at Western States Rhetoric and Literacy Conference

Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins

At the 2019 Western States Rhetoric and Literacy conference at Montana State University, Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins presented a paper as part of the “Contemplating Rhetorical Futures in a Post-Desktop Computing World” roundtable with Jacob Greene, Arizona State University; David Rieder, North Carolina State University; Shannon Butts, University of Florida; and Jason Crider, University of Florida.

Blevins’ presentation, “Approaching the Event Horizon of a Digital Black Hole: Contemplation in Augmented Reality in an Era of Technological Change,” explored the tensions in post-desktop composing between attention and preservation, on the one hand, and, on the other, between distraction and deprecation. Taking augmented reality as one example, she explored how digital information risks falling into an information black hole where technology change renders digital texts inaccessible to future audiences. The digital black hole is a risk not just for augmented reality, but all instances in which human history, inquiry, and expression are recorded solely in digital media.

UMW ‘Keeps the Light On’ Banned Books Week

Born in Russia, UMW sophomore Katia Savelyeva has called America home for most of her life. But the English major sometimes wonders what it would be like had she stayed in St. Petersburg. “I hope I’d still do things that don’t require as much bravery here in the United States,” said Savelyeva, who read aloud […]

Blevins Publishes Article on Augmented Reality

Brenta Blevins, Assistant Professor of English, has had her article “Teaching Digital Literacy Composing Concepts: Focusing on the Layers of Augmented Reality in an Era of Changing Technology” published in the December 2018 Computers and Composition journal. In an issue focusing on wearable technologies, ubiquitous computing, and immersive experiences, Blevins’s article addresses the challenges that instructors face in teaching composing using current digital tools, while also supporting students’ future digital literacy acquisition in technologies that do not yet exist.

To address these pedagogical concerns, Blevins’s article explores educational composing in Augmented Reality (AR), a medium in which a digital “layer” is combined with the user’s surroundings. She elaborates the benefits and challenges of a scaffolded, analysis-oriented pedagogy focused on the layer for preparing students to compose in AR for classwork and other purposes. Blevins contends that the concept of the layer extends beyond the visual layers of AR to a composing strategy applicable across media. This approach thus supports composers developing critical media awareness and adaptability for multiple media in current and future contexts. Given our rapidly changing software and hardware technologies, teaching theoretical composing concepts, such as the “layer,” prepares students to become communicators capable of composing in multiple media, those present and those yet to emerge.

Blevins Presents on Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality at Watson Conference

Brenta Blevins, assistant professor of writing studies and digital studies​ in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, presented a paper, “Preparing for Current and Future Composing with Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality,” at the Twelfth Biennial International Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Louisville (October 25-27, 2018).

Her project explores Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality and contends these media are not futuristic media, but are already in use now for a variety of purposes, ranging beyond games to include public rhetoric, marketing, and technical documentation. As such, instructors should incorporate these media into their classroom assignments to prepare students for composing now and in the future.

UMW ‘Read Out’ Event Shines Light on Banned Books

Kit Lewers ’19 was in third grade when her Georgia school district banned Harry Potter. Just like that, a series of blockbuster children’s books disappeared from the library shelves, leaving Lewers to wonder why something so beloved was off-limits. But it didn’t stop her from devouring stories. Or from growing up to become an English […]

Banned Books Read Out Sept. 26-27

In honor of this year’s Banned Books Week (September 23-29), a Read Out will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 26, and Thursday, Sept. 27, on Campus Walk, in front of Lee Hall, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Faculty, administrators, and students will read from selected banned books.  The event, which is sponsored by the Department of English, Linguistics and Communication, Simpson Library, and the University Bookstore, is free and open to the public.  Rain location is the University Center.  A special exhibition of banned books will be on display in the lobby area of Simpson Library throughout the week.