Exploring computer-mediated oral composing as a composing practice

Pace, Sara
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Technology has introduced many choices into the mix of written and spoken mediums. Electronic mediums, including speech-to-text technologies, must be brought into compositionists' conversations about literacy. What has not come up to any major extent in composition studies is how, why, and when to help students develop skills in the type of oral composition that happens in electronically-mediated environments. The skill of oral composing seems an important area for research, given the array of technologies available to facilitate oral text production. Compositionists need to investigate writers' interaction with the medium rather than assuming that computer-mediated oral composing (C-MOC) is the same as dictating to a stenographer.

The five research questions at the heart of this study illuminate the literature on oral composition (both traditional and computer-mediated) and explore its relevance to twenty-first century composition though practical and theoretical paradigms. These paradigms are oral and literary traditions, disability studies, composing process theory, medium studies, and ethnography.

Chapter One provides an introduction to the overall argument of the study and a rationale for using the five research questions as sites for studying C-MOC. Chapter Two, the literature review, will address the first four research questions through a review of scholarship. Chapter Three discusses methodology and reviews the methods and findings of educational C-MOC training projects. Chapter Four discusses the findings of an ethnography of three Texas Woman's University students' experience with C-MOC. Sources of data for the third and fourth chapters are participants' texts, surveys, recorded composing sessions, participant feedback, and the observer's notes. The data for chapters three and four were interpreted through the lens of ethnography. Chapter Five explores conclusions, implications, and recommendations related to the five research questions guiding this study.

Responding to the five research questions grounds the conversation on C-MOC more solidly in practice and theory. Analyzing the three participants' computer-mediated oral composing through the six sub-areas discussed in Chapter Four provides comprehensive insight into their composing experiences. The data recounted here illustrates a wide range of issues related to training students to use C-MOC as well as their attitudes toward this composing medium.

Education, Language, literature, and linguistics, Composing, Computer-mediated composition, Oral composing, Speech recognition