I study composing as a mobile, dynamic process that is constantly adapted by users in localized contexts (Fraiberg, 2010; Sun, 2012). More specifically, I’m interested in the ways people, and in particular people who speak English as a second (or third, fourth, etc.) language, move or “shuttle” (Canagarajah, 2013) between languages, platforms, tools, communities, and web spaces simultaneously to accomplish tasks. My goal through this work is not to “assist” individuals as they make linguistic transitions, but rather to help researchers pay attention to the writing practices of multilinguals in order to learn from them. To do this, I employ a variety of methods and methodologies to study multilingual digital writing practices.
My work is published in Composition Forum, College Composition and Communication, the Journal of Usability Studies, and Technical Communication. As part of this work, I've been awarded the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Prize, the inaugural 2012 Hawisher and Selfe Caring for the Future Award, the 2014 Pearson's Technology Innovator's Award, and the Scholars for the Dream Award funded by the Conference on College Composition and Communication. These awards are reflections of my commitment to ethical and rigorous scholarship, practical pedagogies, and collaboration.
Book Project- Sites of Translation: What Multilinguals can Teach us about Digital Writing and Rhetoric
In my book project (forthcoming by the University of Michigan Press), I highlight the rhetorical and technical strategies that multilinguals employ as they translate information in both professional and academic contexts. Using situated analyses of translation at two different sites, I provide a framework for studying how multilinguals overcome communicative discrepancies during "translation moments." Translation moments are instances in time when multilinguals make a decision about how to transform information from one language to another. By studying the translation practices of multilinguals through the analysis of screencast data, artifact-based interviews, and video footage, I argue that multilingualism is a powerful technology and rhetorical practice that should be further valued in both classrooms and professional spaces. This book provides valuable implications for technical communication practitioners and teachers as well as user experience researchers and rhetoric and composition scholars. I was awarded the 2016 Sweetland/UM Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Prize for this manuscript.
Articles and Selected Works in Progress
Translation as a User-Localization Practice (Technical Communication, Spring 2015): Published with user experience researcher Rebecca Zantjer, this article presents the results of a case study examining the rhetorical strategies employed by multilingual communicators as they transform information across languages. Drawing on video-recorded interviews conducted with multilingual communicators from 10 different countries, this article presents a framework for understanding how storytelling, gesturing, and other embodied strategies can be used in combination with digital resources to translate and localize language. This article was nominated for the 2015 CCCC Award for Best Article on Philosophy or Theory of Technical or Scientific Communication.
Multimodality, Translingualism, and Rhetorical Genre Studies (Composition Forum, Spring 2015): In this piece, I use focus group data collected at two universities to provide a methodological framework for assessing how multlinguals produce and discuss multimodal composition to circumvent communicative discrepancies. My findings suggest English Language Learners often feel like relying on words alone limits their communicative potential, particularly when these words are in spoken or written English. Given the opportunity, English Language Learners purposely draw on a variety of modes to convey their ideas, thus using multimodality to “capitalize upon the affordances of various semiotic resources to communicate rhetorically” (Shipka, 2011). Based on their extensive experiences drawing on various modes to make meaning when words in English are not readily available, English Language Learners can teach us a lot about multimodal, rhetorical composing. This article was selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of The Best of Independent Rhetoric and Composition Journals collection.
PromptMe: Helping Teachers Write Better Assignment Sheets: Based on an understanding that translation is an everyday practice negotiated as teachers and students interact, PromptMe is a web application that works by allowing students to provide live feedback on their teachers' writing assignment sheets. Students identify specific words that may be difficult to understand on their teachers' assignment sheets, and they are prompted to provide definitions of these words based on their understanding. Teachers can see and endorse students' definitions of potentially difficult words on their assignment sheets, having the opportunity to engage in a conversation about how writing-related terms can be contextualized in their classrooms and assignments. This project is supported by MSU's Creativity Exploratory and MSU's Center for Research on Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE). Our video pitch can be found here. Usability tests and prototype designs currently in progress. I presented PromptMe designs at the 2015 Special Interest Group in the Design of Communication (SIGDOC) conference, where I won first place in the Microsoft Student Research Competition.
Research Appointments and Activities
Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, graduate fellow
As a graduate fellow for the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, I coordinated, wrote, and edited digital publications about digital and visual rhetoric. Most recently, I edited a blog carnival on language and technology entitled "Beyond a Single Language/Single Modality Approach to Writing." Click here to read the pieces in this blog carnival and here to read my reflection on this conversation.
Writing in Digital Environments Center, research assistant
Starting in the Fall of 2013, I worked as a research assistant on the Statewide Writing Research Project sponsored by Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State and Oakland School Districts. As part of this project, I worked with 30 teachers and over 1,000 students, facilitating and engaging in conversations about effective writing and revision. This project allowed me to be in regular contact with dedicated K-12 English and Science teachers who are actively working to help their students be better prepared to write in college and beyond.