My department requires 2005-6 travel requests to be in soon, so over the past week I considered the projects I’ve started in the past year, and mapped out the research I’ll be doing over the next year or so. I drafted abstracts to answer a few calls for papers, made plans to attend a few conferences, etc. So here’s what I think is on tap:
Tabling the grid
I read a bunch for this over the summer and have this essay about half done; it’s the piece for the collection From A to <A> which Jeff Rice and I are editing. I’m at a bit of an impasse, though, and doing some more reading in the hopes of resolving it soon. The core argument—that tables and other encoding technologies force the grid on web design—is the same as it was when I presented this idea at CCCC in 2003.
Accessibility and usability parallels
I mentioned this earlier; I hope to present on the topic at STC 2006. Accessibility and usability are frequently paired, some folks argue that achieving one also achieves the other, etc. The dangers and benefits of these parallels were the most interesting thing which emerged from my summer work with accessibility (including my presentation at Computers & Writing). Regardless of the conference outcome, I plan to write this essay and fling it at a few journals.
Accessibility and content management
This is for a special edition of Technical Communication Quarterly, but is also based on summer reading and writing. The form/content separation which, for some, is at the heart of making web pages accessible (think XHTML+CSS) also shapes content management systems. I’ve seen use of CMS which allows pushing out accessibility features across a site, but I also think there’s a gap between expectations and reality. Right now I’m at the level of abstract only.
An older idea I presented at Convergences last year and worked on some this summer. I think, fleshed out, it’ll work well for the collection Cheryl Ball and Jim Kalmbach are editing. Based on a remark Lev Manovich made in The Language of New Media: we should resist the false customization of interfaces by accepting the defaults. To which I respond, “Huh?” And then examine the notion of default, which I think does have a logic important to new media. Definitely echoes of ease here.
The community imperative
My proposal for CCCC 2006. Why do we always assume that community is necessary for any initiative in composition studies? That any project, class, book, whatever, is better if we add “community”—whatever that is. Even if I don’t get a paper accepted, I’ll attend the conference, since it’s in Chicago (March 22-25, 2006). And I’ll write the paper, and send it to CCC.
Encoding, decoding revisited
I was asked to participate in a conference at SUNY-Courtland; very tentatively, I want to work with the notion of “code” in a variety of senses: Hall’s encoding/decoding, Lessig’s “code is law,” and markup in general. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing, but every time I leave 480 this semester I’m thinking about code, in one or more of its various meanings.
NCTE/CCC position statement on free and open source software
This came out of a C&W town hall. CCC and NCTE should advocate the use of free and open source software. With some other folks, I’ll be drafting and pushing for this. It might not have much effect, but it can’t hurt.
Web editing for Composition Forum
I’ve accepted Christian Weisser’s offer to become the web editor for this journal, which is converting from print to online status. I plan to work with Collin Brooke and Derek Mueller to implement the same indexical work for Composition Forum which is being created for CCC Online. Hopefully, if the method can be generalized, it can be adopted by other journals. That could rule.
Workshops for WIU faculty development
I plan more web accessibility work, but also something about service learning, and maybe weblogs (hell, why not, I’ve been doing it for a month, so I must be an expert).
Anyway, instead of developing these ideas using web pages, as I’ve usually done in the past, I plan to use WordPress (pages, posts) and my new Wiki. So expect to see some of these ideas floating around this space…