The theoretical grounding for all of my research lies in the idea that rhetoric is a foundational element of all human communication and literacies.  Rhetorics and literacies continue to move into digital spaces, where instructors and students meet to negotiate shared semantics and shared agency.

My pedagogical research centers around beyond post-process theory and praxis in undergraduate learning environments.  I am most interested to discover how students experiment with multimodal texts and genres in writing and rhetoric courses, and how they employ as well as evaluate digital tools and perform public literacy in digital spaces. I am also interested in how we, as professors of rhetoric, work with students to develop multimodal writing opportunities that meet or exceed learning outcomes.  My research also centers on helping students (re)cover their own voices in their writing, and how that writing then becomes part of academic conversations both within and without our University communities.  The New London Group's theory of multi-literacies further informs my research praxis within learning environments, including the combination of aural, visual, and written texts.

My other professional research interests, including my dissertation, center around rhetorical theory and its cross-disciplinary intersections with other fields in the Humanities such as linguistics, historigraphies, and gender studies.  I also research within digital archival collections of both academic and ordinary-life rhetorics, interrogating what gets in and what gets left out.  I am interested particularly in recovering the works and life experiences of forgotten female rhetors and interrogating how social constructions of gender and regulative discourse marginalize women and other minorities within Western cultural communities. 

My M.Ed in Learning & Technology provided me with the opportunity to create, develop, and empirically test whether an e-instructional model and technology integration would positively impact writing test scores for at-risk populations of 11th-grade high school students.  Listen to a podcast of the project abstract.

Current Projects

I am currently conducting advocacy research with students in my courses. For example, my 1102 Women in STEM special topics course is collaboratively developing and producing a Wiki, which will we will disseminate to local high schools and STEM organizations as an instructional tool. I have “flipped” this research, so that my students drive the entire project. They divided themselves into two groups, voting on co-chairs for each. One group will present a panel on forgotten women in STEM as part of SPSU’s Women’s History Month (WHM) celebrations. The other group will develop a multi-media presentation for the WHM awards banquet. Students are currently canvassing SPSU, interviewing professors for quotes, snapping photos of STEM in action, and researching their own topics (Women in STEM). Two students have volunteered to co-write a paper with me describing this research experience for presentation and publication.  View a Prezi that describes the current project status here: Women in STEM Wiki Project

I am a member of SPSU's Research Learning Community (RLC), a diverse group of teacher-scholars who meet regularly to share our own research and plan collaborative research projects.  For spring semester 2014, the RLC  will conduct an affective study that seeks to discover faculty and students' attitudes towards course attendance policies and whether mandatory class attendance affects student performance.  We will then write-up our findings and seek to present and/or publish our work both within and without our University communities.  My participation in the RLC is an opportunity for me to explore and share research interests across disciplines and collaborate with fellow teacher-scholars.

I am in the second semester of research into how students communicate using multiple digital literacies and why they make elemental rhetorical choices in their acts of composition.  I have presented this research at Kennesaw's Digital Pedagogy Workshop and Georgia Southern University's Student Success in Writing Conference. View the Slideshow below:

Past Projects

Past projects include rhetorical analyses, primary participant research, linguistic recoveries, and social justice advocacy.

Examples of Empirical Research Praxis

I have provided a few abstracts and links to past research projects. I have presented these projects at regional and national conferences, including WPA, CCCC, IWAC, and Computers & Writing. Further examples may be found at:

1. “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Differently…”

For this particular research case study, I surveyed a group of thirteen high school students and analyzed their responses through a feminist lens, marking and inferring from the differences in responses based on the self-identified gender of respondents. Through an affective attitudinal instrument, I attempted to answer the question: How do female teens differ from their male counterparts in regards to their attitudes towards writing with and without technology in academic and home settings? The project found that 100% of girls interviewed said that texting did not make them better writers. This suggests that the girls did not connect texting on their cell phones (personal) to the rhetorical aspects of writing (diction, audience, purpose).  All of these girls also said that they wrote their school essays by hand, while two-thirds of them wrote “for fun” by hand as well. And, even though 67% of them had a computer at home, they did not use it for writing. These findings present a possible disconnect between girls’ writing and their use of technology to produce it.

2. Sapelo Island Linguistic Heritage Project

"I'll Fly Away: A Socio-linguistic Analysis of African American Homecomings"

When discourse and semantics mutate, they create linguistic and cultural apocalypse within specific discourse communities. In isolated areas, features such as migration, geography, and language contact drive this change.  On Sapelo Island, Georgia, the implications of such features acting on language and culture mean a marginalization and possibly even an elision, intentional omission, of the voices of the indigenous residents of the historic Hog Hammock community, of which less than eighty remain.  Sapelo itself represent a unique situation.  Almost all of the residents can trace their lineage back to the late 1700s- early 1800s and to the slaves who were brought by the French to this Island to cultivate Sea Island cotton and rice.  The Island’s location further ensures lexical and cultural homogeneity, as it is separated from the mainland by the Intercoastal waterway and salt marshes on one side, and an estuary on the other.  Its other boundary is the Atlantic Ocean itself.  The Islanders call themselves Saltwater Geechee, in reference to their original home in Sierra Leon on Africa’s West Coast and the Sapelo’s geographic separation from Georgia’s coast by the marshes.  When we examine the linguistic features that are currently acting on the residents’ language and culture, we see that humanity is perilously close to losing this marginalized population’s contributions to history.  In seeking to provide solutions and alternatives to this apocalypse, the papers presented in this session offer investigations of these linguistic and cultural features.  Thos project further describes a project conducted by a research team from Georgia State University in partnership with Sapelo Island’s residents. Our team seeks to electronically recover the oral history, cultural traditions, and unique language variations of the Saltwater Geechee population.

3. "Using Multi-Modal Digital Methods in a First Year Composition Classroom to Recover Marginalized Immigrant and Refugee Rhetorics from Latin America"

Anne Wysocki postulates, “there is little or nothing to help composers of texts think usefully about effects of their particular decisions as they compose a new media text, to help composers see how agency and materiality are entwined as they compose… Writing teachers can fill a large gap in current scholarship on new media; they can bring to new media texts a humane and thoughtful attention to materiality, production, and consumption, which is currently missing.”  Taking up Wysocki’s challenge to bridge the gap, our class conducted collaborative, advocacy research, as part of a first year composition course We conducted rhetorical recoveries and produced multi-modal, new media writing projects in which images and words were combined in digital space (our own YouTube Channel) to tell the stories of immigrants and refugees fleeing to the U.S. from the Global South.  Student-scholars used new media instruments, including flip cameras (a grant we received), video editing software, and blogs to describe the experiences of Third World immigrants and their tenuous spaces in America’s social constructions.  They employed flip cameras to document experiences in the words of the immigrants themselves through interviews and observation.  They also developed, conducted, and recorded on-campus activism in support of the DREAM Act, in which they employed social media to organize and comment on events. Applying digital rhetoric and new media as theoretical foundations, students made rhetorical choices in producing their personal and collective scholarship related to these rhetorical recoveries as they created public writing in an electronic medium with a purposeful, social justice component.  Their work resulted in their increased rhetorical prowess and a heightened awareness of global concerns. Their work was recognized also by media outside the University community, which gave them the opportunity to further articulate their advocacy. Their research with and about these experiences, contributed to our field’s body of knowledge in both public and digital rhetorical spaces.

View Youtube videos uploaded by students: 1102 Multi-Modal Rhetorical Recoveries: Student Videos

Future Projects

I have planned future research projects, which include interrogations of digital archives, determining the materialities of what “gets in” and what gets “left out.” I also want to conduct an IRB-approved research project that measures student attitudes towards New Media writing opportunities. I want to discover how students view the academic turn towards digital literacies and how they see themselves as consumers and producers of these literacies.