The Emerging Learning Design Journal

Document Type



Despite the fact that the field of rhetoric and composition has been closely allied to the digital humanities for many years, instructors in these disciplines often remain on their own in terms of adopting, implementing, and evaluating digital technologies. While theoretical scholarship in digital rhetoric is advancing, instructional practices lag behind. Surveying 72 doctoral-granting rhetoric and composition programs, researchers found innovation in the implementation of new media comes primarily from solitary instructors (Anderson and McKee, 74). This article presents several ways in which writing instructors can leverage digital spaces to improve their pedagogies. In particular, the article focuses on digital spaces that James Gee calls “affinity spaces”. While Gee’s notion of affinity spaces often refers to gaming, the concept may be expanded to include virtual spaces that learners visit voluntarily such as blogs, ezines, social media sites, and digital backchannels. By leveraging such spaces, and implementing them using Michelene Chi and Ruth Wylie’s ICAP (Interactive, Constructive, Active, and Passive) framework, writing instructors can construct powerful learning environments. These digital spaces are not only part and parcel of the digital humanities; they are prime territory for engaging students in rhetorical processes – whether analyzing rhetorical messages or generating rhetorical artifacts.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.