Rhetorical Instruction and Paradigm Shifts

Wrote this today, and thought I’d post it here, as I kind of liked it, but didn’t really feel that it’s worth a Word doc of its own.

One of my scholarly/pedagogical interests is 19th century rhetorical instruction—specifically the paradigm shift that took place in the university during the first half of the century: both the understood “highest purposes” for discourse (and thus, composition instruction) and the makeup of the student body were changing. I see a strong comparison between the pedagogical paradigm shift that occurred during the 1840s to 1860s and what is going on now with the growing importance of digital literacy, new media, and how they mix with “traditional” composition instructional methods, especially as we continue to slowly move beyond the process movement. One of the things I’m hoping to get at in this course is how design can be more effectively used to enhance learning (cognition/perception) in online contexts, whether working within the context of the CMS or beyond it. This is especially important as the online course becomes more and more important for smaller universities (like my own) as they try to stay competitive in an increasingly… ugly market. Of course, one of the things that connects the literary study that I’ve done in the past to the rhetorical study that I do now is the connection between hypertext and intertextuality, one that I’m also interested very much in.

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