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Association of Teachers of Technical Writing
October 21, 2014
Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education: Where to Next? (Edited collection, abstracts due November 31 2014)

Call for Papers:

Massive Open Online Courses and Higher Education: Where to Next?

(Edited collection, abstracts due November 31 2014) 

Edited by

Dr Rebecca Bennett, Murdoch University and

Dr Mike Kent, Curtin University


Since the first MOOC was launched at the University of Manitoba in 2008, this new form of the massification of higher education has been a rollercoaster ride for the university sector. Sebastian Thrun of the Udacity MOOC provider initially predicted that the disruptive influence of the MOOC would leave only 10 institutions providing Higher Education in fifty years’ time (Leckart 2012). However, just one year later, he abandoned the higher education space to focus on corporate training and admitted that his company’s MOOCs in higher education were often “lousy” (Schman 2013). Despite the shift in focus, MOOCs are still regarded by university leaders as having a disruptive influence on the sector. Whether this disruption benefits or harms higher education institutions is a complex and contested conversation, with multiple stakeholders and perspectives to consider.    

MOOCs have been criticized for their high rate of failure and their behaviorist pedagogical approach (Bates 2012), and others see these new models of education as a threat to the prevailing structure of universities (Grove 2013; Shirky 2013; Zhu 2012,). Indeed, some of the criticism leveled at these platforms seems aimed at online learning and teaching in general. More positive readings point to the high number of students who have completed units of study in these environments, despite the low pass rates (Daniel 2012). MOOCs have also been celebrated for their potential to provide access to higher education for a whole new range of participants and as a effective vehicle for the promotion of institutions, academics and courses; and the university experience, as a whole. 

This volume seeks to explore the future of the MOOC in higher education by examining what went right, what went wrong and where to now for the massification of higher education and online learning and teaching. (read more)

October 20, 2014

Ignite CCCC 2015 Call for Participation


Ignite CCCC 2015 Call for Participation

(via michaeljfaris)

October 15, 2014
CfP: The Materiality of the Immaterial: ICTs and the Digital Commons

CfP: tripleC-Special Issue “The Materiality of the Immaterial: ICTs and the Digital Commons”:

Special issue of tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique (
Abstract submission deadline: January 15, 2015

Guest editors: 
Vasilis Kostakis, Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia), P2P Lab (Greece); Andreas Roos, Human Ecology Division, Lund University (Sweden)

With an escalating environmental crisis and an unprecedented increase of ICT diversity and use, it is more crucial than ever to understand the underlying material aspects of the ICT infrastructure. This special issue therefore asks the question: What are the true material and socio-environmental costs of the global ICT infrastructure?

In a recent paper (Fuchs 2013) as well as in the book Digital Labour and Karl Marx (Fuchs 2014), Christian Fuchs examined the complex web of production relations and the new division of digital labour that makes possible the vast and cheap ICT infrastructure as we know it. The analysis partly revealed that ICT products and infrastructure can be said to embody slave-like and other extremely harsh conditions that perpetually force mine and assembly workers into conditions of dependency. Expanding this argument, the WWF reported (Reed and Miranda 2007) that mining in the Congo basin poses considerable threats to the local environment in the form of pollution, the loss of biodiversity, and an increased presence of business-as-usual made possible by roads and railways. Thus ICTs can be said to be not at all immaterial because the ICT infrastructure under the given economic conditions can be said to embody as its material foundations slave-like working conditions, various class relations and undesirable environmental consequences.

At the same time, the emerging digital commons provide a new and promising platform for social developments, arguably enabled by the progressive dynamics of ICT development. These are predominantly manifested as commons-based peer production, i.e., a new mode of collaborative, social production (Benkler 2006); and grassroots digital fabrication or community-driven makerspaces, i.e., forms of bottom-up, distributed manufacturing. The most well known examples of commons-based peer production are the free/open source software projects and the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia. While these new forms of social organisation are immanent in capitalism, they also have the features to challenge these conditions in a way that might in turn transcend the dominant system (Kostakis and Bauwens 2014).

Following this dialectical framing, we would like to call for papers for a special issue of tripleC that will investigate how we can understand and balance the perils and promises of ICTs in order to make way for a just and sustainable paradigm. We seek scholarly articles and commentaries that address any of the following themes and beyond. We also welcome experimental formats, especially photo essays, which address the special issue’s theme. (Read more)

September 28, 2014
3 Tools for tracking hashtags

Hashtracking: Historical and real-time Twitter hashtag tracking, as well as shareable visualizations. (30-day free trial)

Divud: “Divud is a GPL tool, born for social researchers and web marketers, that allow users follows, followers and hashtags compared analysis, to save results in text files, and store data to recover afterward. Divud let user to export data visualization in GEXF format for manipulating with Gephi-like software.”

Keyhole: Track hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or track keywords or URLs (3 tracks for free)

September 27, 2014
"How to Tell When a Robot Has Written You A Letter"

How to Tell When a Robot Has Written You A Letter: The Next Turing Test? Handwriting,” by Clive Thompson:

But it turns out that marketers are working diligently to develop forms of mass-generated mail that appear to have been patiently and lovingly hand-written by actual humans. They’re using handwriting robots that wield real pens on paper. These machines cost up to five figures, but produce letters that seem far more “human”. (You can see one of the robots in action in the video adjacent.) This type of robot is likely what penned the address on the junk-mail envelope that fooled me. I saw ink on paper, subconsciously intuited that it had come from a human (because hey, no laser-printing!) and opened it.

Handwriting, it seems, is the next Turing Test.

CFP: Information Ethics Roundtable 2015 at U of Wisconsin-Madison, due January 5, 2015

General Information and Call For Papers:

Welcome to the Information Ethics Roundtable 2015.

Date: April 9-10, 2015
Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Memorial Union South
Theme: Transparency and Secrecy

Keynote Speakers

  • Louise Amoore, Professor of Geography, Durham University (UK), author of The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability (Duke University Press, 2013).
  • Christopher Kutz, C. WilliamMaxeiner Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs, University of California, Berkeley.

Theme Description

Transparency is important in a variety of ways, and disputes about transparency and secrecy permeate much of our public discourse. This year’s meeting of the IER seeks papers from a variety of perspectives and disciplines addressing questions about transparency and secrecy, for example:

  • What is transparency? What does it mean for something to be kept secret or made transparent?
  • What justifies transparency in different domains?
  • When is transparency bad, or unjustifiable? When is secrecy good, or justifiable?
  • Lots of organizations seek to make government and corporate actions transparent (e.g., fact-checking organizations, open records advocacy organizations, market watchdog groups). Do they succeed? What criteria should we use to determine whether they succeed? Do they introduce other questions of information flow?
  • What policies in scientific research and publishing, in journalism, in government, and in commerce best promote transparency?
  • Is secret law really law?
  • Is it possible to maintain and build trust within a climate of secrecy?

The goal of the 2015 Roundtable is to bring together scholars and professionals to examine these and related issues pertaining to transparency and secrecy, broadly construed. Hence, we welcome submissions on these and any related topics, and we encourage submissions from a broad range of disciplines. 

Abstract Submissions

Please submit an abstract of about 500 words to by January 5, 2015. Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and notification of acceptance status will be sent by January 20, 2015.  Paper drafts for commentators will be due by March 10, 2015. 


More information is available at  For specific questions and inquiries, please contact organizer Alan Rubel at

September 26, 2014
CityBeat: “Visualizing the Social Media Pulse of the City”

CityBeat is an academic research project that uses machine learning techniques to extract meaningful insights about city life in real time.”

"Exploring Real-time Urban Analysis":

CityBeat is a social media tool that extracts real-time information about city life. Our system collects streams of geo-tagged photos and texts, identifies trends and offers an interactive visualization of urban activities. The result enables us to follow city rhythms and happenings by visualizing real-life experiences of people as they are shared online.

About CityBeat:

CityBeat is a an academic research project set to develop an application that sources, monitors and analyzes hyper-local information from multiple social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter in real time.

CFP: “Popular Culture Pedagogy: Theory and Application in Academia” due Nov 15

Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy

Call for Papers:

Popular Culture Pedagogy: Theory and Application in Academia

Deadline for submission: November 15, 2014

We are pleased to announce a special issue of Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy ( be published August 2015. The issue will focus broadly on teaching and learning which integrates popular culture within academic settings.

Topics are particularly welcomed that address the following:

  • Innovative approaches and/or research studies addressing the use of popular culture within the higher education classroom;
  • Applying popular culture in settings often overlooked in academia (e.g., science, technology, engineering, and math fields);
  • Utilizing popular culture for professional development in higher education;
  • Theoretical underpinning of using popular culture references, materials, and/or resources for learning and teaching in higher education; and
  • Best practices and/or reflections for integration of popular culture resources in the classroom.

Submit articles to Lynnea Chapman King, PhD (Editor in Chief) and Anna CohenMiller, PhD (Managing Editor) at editors@journaldialogue.orgIf you are interested in another aspect of the topic that is not listed here, please feel free to email your abstract for guidance on possible inclusion in the issue.

September 18, 2014
CFP for ATTW 2015: Exploring the Value of Technical Communication

Tampa, Florida
March 18, 2015

Proposal submission deadline: Oct. 27, 2014

The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW) invites proposals for papers, posters, and workshops to be given at its annual conference. The 18th annual ATTW conference will be held in Tampa, FL, on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. The full-day event includes concurrent sessions, poster presentations, workshops, book exhibits, and opportunities for exchanging ideas and networking in an academic environment.


Value is most often defined as the worth or quality measured by a standard. But, value also carries other more nuanced meanings such as worth based on quality, esteem, or importance.  Moreover, value phrases permeate our everyday lexicon from “value-added” to “value orientation” to “value proposition.”

Historically, the field has always struggled with trying to explain the value of technical communication within workplace settings, thus the consistent conversations in the pages of our journals and at our conferences about the field’s legitimacy, status, and identity.  In the late 1990’s, there were a wave of articles specifically associated with value (e.g., Eilola-Johnson, 1996; Henry, 1998; Mead, 1998; Redish, 1995; Sullivan and Spilka, 1992) but since then, the field has not taken up the term and its associations directly.  In light of transformations in the global economy, the changing face of the academy, and innovations in our field, the timing seems right to revisit questions of “value.”

As austere conditions continue in higher education, programs and faculty are increasingly being asked to define and explain their value.  For example, resources are often allocated on the number of students in our programs, while students themselves ask for explanations of the value of their degrees.  In the workplace, technical communication has diffused into a myriad of specialties raising questions about the value of a common identity and questions of what value technical communicators bring are still persistently asked.  In classrooms, workplaces, and the halls of legislature, we are being asked over and again to articulate the value of technical communication.

Papers, panels and posters are invited exploring the broad question:

What is the value of technical communication both inside higher education and outside of it?  Or alternately, what does value mean to and in technical communication?

This inclusive call welcomes papers on a broad range of issues related to the value of technical and professional communication. For example:

  • What are the major values of the field at large? What value do technical communicators bring to academic, professional, and social contexts?
  • How can we better describe the value of the work we do both within our institutions and outside of them?
  • Are their things that we value as academics that are not valued in the workplace and vice versa?
  • Which concepts, practices, and objects has the field of technical communication over-valued? And which ones do we seem to under-value?
  • How can we reconcile different value systems in organizational or university settings?
  • How do the academy and the industry areas of the field parallel and differ in their perspectives on and understandings of ideas value within technical communication?
  • What theoretical perspectives or approaches can we use to better understand and address factors affecting practices related value in the field today?
  • What role can research play in establishing value in the field – and with parties outside of the field? How can be define and describe the value of our research, including rhetorical, textual, empirical and theoretical?   
  • What critiques could be advanced against the use of value?
  • What challenges - technological, pragmatic, ethical – do technical communicators face in describing our value? 
  • How might explorations of value transform our programs and teaching practices?
  • What skills, technologies, approaches should we value in our programs?

Questions and explorations of value intersect with those of identity, definition, location, and the future of the field.  So submissions on all topics are welcome. New teachers of technical communication, as well as graduate students, are especially encouraged to submit a proposal and attend the conference.


Proposals that explore these and related issues are welcome, although we may accept as well proposals that address issues within the broader categories of technical communication. All proposal submissions must specify one of the following formats:

  1. Regular Session Individual proposal: Individuals may submit proposals for 15-minute talks on panels created by the conference organizers. These proposals should be no more than 300 words.
  2. Regular Session Panel proposals: Groups may submit proposals for 75-minute panel presentations. These proposals should be no more than 200 words per presentation plus a 150-word contextualization/justification of the panel (800 words max). Panel proposals can take the form of typical papers, roundtables, ignite talks, or some other innovative form.
  3. Poster Presentation: Posters will be on display throughout the day with special times dedicated for conversations about this work. Proposals for poster presentations should be no more than 300 words.
  4. Workshop Sessions: The conference will include two 90-minute workshops concurrent with the regular sessions. Workshops that would help newcomers enter the field are especially welcome. Workshop proposals should be no more than 1500 words.

Deadline for Submission

Proposals should be submitted no later than October 27, 2014.  The submission system will open soon at All proposals will be peer reviewed.

Intended Audiences

All teachers and researchers interested in technical communication are welcome.

Contact for questions or additional information

For questions or additional information concerning this CFP and/or the conference, please contact conference co-chairs, Lisa Meloncon of the University of Cincinnati <> and T. Kenny Fountain of Case Western Reserve University <>.

July 2, 2014
ATTW Web Editor Position Call for Applications

ATTW’s Executive Committee requests applications for its web editor position, to begin September 15, 2014. The web editor will assist the ATTW by implementing and maintaining networked resources that enable the continued growth and development of the organization. The technical and creative work required in the position also offers opportunities for, and may contribute to, the applicant’s digital research agenda.

Parties interested should send the following by the August 22, 2014 deadline to Michele Simmons at

  • letter of application responding to the needs noted in the following description,
  • vita, and
  • a letter of support from the applicant’s administration (department chair and dean) both for release time and graduate student assistance (to be jointly supported by ATTW up to $3,000 per year if needed).

The ATTW web editor will have the following duties:

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