Reflection on Infographic
The social dimensions of online writing instruction has engaged many scholars in the field. In this infographic, I provide some ideas for building connection, communication and community in online writing classrooms. In this reflection, I explain my process for composing the text, describe how I imagine the infographic being used by the audience and finally, how it is likely to impact interactions.
Before creating the infographic, I had to determine the rhetorical situation, the rationale and driving questions for the infographic. I decided that this infographic will be targeted at instructors of online writing classes. I considered my audience to be instructor-scholars who are interested in applying theory to their pedagogical practices. The driving questions that determined the content of the infographic were the following: what are some of the problems of online writing instruction that have a direct impact on the social aspect of the teaching and learning of writing and what advice is necessary for dealing with this issue? I decided that the infographic cannot answer all of the questions on the social dimensions of online writing instruction; thus, my focus was to highlight key ideas. Instructors could later build on this knowledge by reading some more relevant sources on the subject. The ideas in the infographic were informed by mainly by Cummings et. al.’s (2017) work on “kairotic design” as well as ongoing work on PARS as a strategic for effective online writing instruction (see Borgman and McArdle, 2019).
I decided to use a problem-solution approach to designing the infographic. However, my intention was to emphasize the solution rather than the problem. Thus, the problems were presented in bullet form (on the top) while the solution was more wordy. I wanted to draw connections between each problem and its solution so I used colors to draw attention to these connections. For example, the color blue is used for the bullet next to the point about the complexity of the digital interface as well as principle one, which provides some suggestions on how to deal with this issue.
I decided to highlight the core idea in the infographic by deploying alliteration as well as bold for the words connection, communication and community. Consequently, all other words in the title are not in bold. Because this was targeted at instructor-scholars, I included a section on materials for further reading. I assumed that colleagues may want to have further conversations about this so I included my name and contact information. For an infographic, this looks a bit wordy but I assumed that because this was targeted at an academic audience, providing a bit of explanation/support for some of my core ideas was significant. Despite this wordiness, it should take only five to seven minutes for an audience to read the entire text.
I also wanted to build links between my core ideas (principles). I assumed that connection needed to be established in order to guarantee communication, which will then help to foster community. This is evident in the ways in which the arrow moves from principle one (associated with connection) to principle two (associated with communication) to principle three (associated with community). In this sense, I am actually arguing that enhancing the sociality of online writing instruction should be considered as a process that is significantly shaped by decisions and actions taken at various point of the learning process.
I imagine the infographic being used for two main purposes: that is, for training sessions on online writing instruction and for classroom discussions on the challenges of online writing instruction. Writing program administrators could use this as a visual aid for an oral presentation or discussion on the subject. Instructors can use this to begin a discussion on how they intend to foster interaction especially on the first day of class. The infographic can also be circulated via email and posted on other digital platforms. Because this infographic is not meant to provide a detailed response to the problem of interaction in online learning, its purpose is to help generate conversations among the audience and begin the process of building strategies that audience can use in making learning more engaging in an online writing instruction.