Cheesy title, yes. But that’s the digital persona I’m creating.

Visual courtesy of http://blogs.houstonpress.com  image courtesy of http://blogs.houstonpress.com

J.E. Clarke’s article “The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for a 21st Century Pedagogy” addresses the idea of students creating an evolving body of work online in order to engage themselves in the texts they work with and to heighten their sense of audience. This is done through ePortfolios, online games, discussion forums, etc. I am particularly interested in the ePortfolio because they not only allow for class engagement, opportunities for authorship and publication, and fostering community of writers (the class), but they also provide a space for students to develop a “digital persona.”  Students have the opportunity to see how their writing improves and are able to see themselves as academics, but they are also able to determine how they want to sound to their audience. Clarke writes, “Public artifacts shared with parents, professors, and employers are markedly different than informal peer-to-peer communications among students. Students tailor their digital identities for multiple audiences, learning how to introduce themselves to a virtual world. This sense of network-situated self allows students to see how they function within different communities.” Students have the opportunity to present themselves, receive feedback from their academic community, revise, and develop a voice of authority, and also a writerly voice. I agree with Clarke– this kind of scholarship would create a wonderful awareness in our students.

After reading Kelly Ritter’s “The Economics of Authorship: Online Paper Mills, Student Writing, and First-Year Composition” it seems clear that a surprising number of students don’t see themselves as authors, don’t think student-writing is valuable, and don’t feel important to the academic community. I think that ePortfolios would be a way for students to see their contributions to their field, to see themselves as the authors they are, and to have their writing taken seriously not only by their teacher, but by their classmates, and by anyone else who might find it online. There is a power in publishing, as we discussed in class. I think that power would encourage students to use their voices, and this space would give them the opportunity to see how that voice progresses.


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