The Core Writing Team, consisting of Dr. Rachael Reynolds, Dr. Tiffany Bourelle, and Dr. Julianne Newmark, recently won a Teaching Allocation Grant to train Teaching Assistants (TAs) to use technology effectively in their first-year composition classes. Specifically, the grant will allow the team to offer monetary compensation for TAs to learn the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of technology and to train other TAs and instructors to use this technology to teach multimodal assignments in their first-year courses.
While our Core Writing Program already incorporates multimodality throughout assignments and for ePortfolios, there is lack of awareness and use of resources available to our students—specifically, awareness and use of Adobe’s powerful and flexible Creative Cloud suite. Introduction of digital literacy concepts and Adobe tools in the Core Writing Program is our best opportunity to reach students early in their college career and to build digital literacy skills that they will apply in all of their subsequent classes.
We believe students should learn to compose multimodal texts, considering not only the rhetorical needs of their audience, but also the technology they use to compose, which will help their communication and multimodal skills throughout their college career and beyond. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to or knowledge about these technologies; yet, equitable literacy education compels educators to consider access issues and to teach students about them. The Adobe Creative Suite opens up possibilities for access, as all students receive this package when enrolling at the University of New Mexico (UNM).
In addition, the Adobe Creative Suite provides students access to technology that will open up opportunities for them to create multimodal, digital projects not just for the ePortfolio project, thereby having the potential to increase technological and multimodal literacies for all students. However, these technologies benefit students only if they know how to use them. With the money from this grant, the Core Writing Team will support TAs in learning the technology, including how to incorporate the technology in pedagogically sound ways into their classrooms. In turn, they will train other TAs to use and incorporate the technology into their own classrooms, thereby serving over 4,000 students who take our English courses at UNM per year.
The Core Writing Team would like to thank Chuck Paine for his help writing the grant proposal and Susan McAllister and Misty Thomas for their continued support in all of our efforts.