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Reconstructing social futures: digital voices in first-year writing




LaPadura, Emily, author
Sloane, Sarah, advisor
Doe, Sue, committee member
Coke, Pamela, committee member
Steele, Catherine, committee member

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This thesis explores the benefits of bringing students' out-of-school digital literacies into the first-year composition (FYC) classroom, and investigates whether or not this can provide students access to critically analyze their actions on these platforms. I taught a self-designed FYC course focusing on critically producing, and consuming, self-representations on the social networking sites Facebook and Instagram. Through a grounded theory approach, I completed an analysis of 17 students' assigned blog posts and surveys, and selected six students to construct richly descriptive portraits (RDPs). The RDPs are chronological narratives that invite students to act as discussion partners by integrating their voices, and shed light on their differing levels of critical digital literacy skills. I explore how students' use of social networking sites does not always necessitate a critical use, and investigate how students construct and perform digital identities on these platforms. I conclude by explaining why preparing the future citizens of our global economy must entail providing students with the critical digital literacy skills needed to actively participate in modern communicative modes. As composition instructors are also teachers of communication, this is our responsibility.


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