4Cs: Collaboration and Conferencing in Texas

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I’m certainly planning on continuing with my series on using digital tools and activities in the classroom; however, as is my way in this blog, I plan to pause the series to discuss the very exciting conference I have recently returned from!

I’ve mentioned before how I feel about conferences and my feelings are pretty strong. I love them. The opportunity to get together with a group of your colleagues and share your research and enthusiasm is so encouraging and motivating! This is why my past trip to the National Council of Teachers of English‘s Conference on College Composition and Communication (4Cs) in Houston, TX, was one of the most exciting things to happen in my academic life most recently.

I, along with 3 of my very dedicated and very enthusiastic colleagues and fellow-bloggers, Kate Artz, Megan Grandmont, and Anne Mooney, traveled to Houston to present our research on digital collaboration tools. Most recently, in our work on an upcoming publication, we were faced with navigating the task of authoring a single, digital text with 10 individual authors. The webtext we wrote is, I think, profoundly interesting and creative; however, almost equally interesting is the process we ended up using to actually write the article! The task of collaborating with 10 different authors on a digital text required some pretty fancy footwork in terms of organizing and harmonizing ourselves, our thoughts, and our individual visions. Out of this process, our 4Cs presentation was born:


Tales of a Webtext with 10 Authors: Pedagogical Affordances of Digital Collaboration Tools.

The format of our presentation was a digital poster, which, as an unfamiliar genre to us, required even further collaboration via digital tools. I’ve included an image of our finalized digital poster below, but you can also view the presentation here.


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The experience of collaborating on a digital product to summarize our process of collaborating on a different digital product was definitely a little convoluted in the best kind of way. But the process of working through those complications with my colleagues was, as it always is, extremely generative, prompting me to concretize some of my experiences in ways that I can now share and apply much more readily. At the end of the day, we were all extremely happy with our finished poster and our research seemed to be very well-received.


Aside from our own presentation, we all were able to fully partake in the joys of the 4Cs conference itself, including panels by people whose names are cited in our own research, book vendors giving out free samples of anthologies, and the general thrill of being around a large body of people who are enthusiastic about the same things as us! If I die and heaven ends up being an endless circuit of conferences, I won’t be at all surprised.



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