August 2020 Announcements

The Composition Program has the following announcements, upcoming events, and updates to share for August.

Textbook Update
Students can now purchase the Virginia Tech custom edition of Understanding Rhetoric directly from the VitalSource website at for $47.99 USD and receive an access code immediately. This year’s book is only available in a digital format due to the pandemic.

Several questions came up about purchasing via the Follett (Virginia Tech) bookstore. If you are hearing from students who are in the midst of that process, they can still follow-through with making the purchase at the Follett website for 48 USD for four years of access. However, students may have questions about the delivery options available. The access codes are printed on cards which can be picked up in-store, shipped to any address, or, if the purchaser enters a request using the “special instructions” option, a Follett representative will send the code via email. We are continuing to work with Follett management to make this system clearer on the website, as well as more timely and direct, as we have received many, many questions about it over the last five days.

Syllabus Collection
Instructors are asked to submit syllabi to composition -AT- no later than Wednesday, September 2. Jen Mooney will be circulating a message about syllabus collection for the rest of the department, but that message will apply only to classes other than ENGL1105 and ENGL1106 (I.e., submitting syllabi for ENGL1105 and ENGL1106 to the comp program only will suffice for the department collection effort). Steve Oakey has also already collected syllabi from all GTAs teaching composition before the first day of the new semester–a practice consistent with what we have done in recent years.

Composition Program Calendar Updates
The Fall 2020 Composition Program calendar is up to date on HokiesWrite. Of note for everyone is that we will be holding program-wide professional development events during the common hour on Fri., Sept. 11 and Fri., Nov. 6. In coordination with Writing Across Virginia (WAVA), we’re excited to be hosting Dr. Asao Inoue, Professor & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Equity, and Inclusion at Arizona State U, for a workshop on labor-based grading contracts and antiracist pedagogies from 12:30-2 EDT (via Zoom) on Wed., Oct. 21. 

Peer Review Modules Pilot (Request for Participants)
Before the pandemic, we’d proposed and were awarded a Pathways Grant for a collaboration between the Composition Program and the library’s Digital Literacy Initiative. The working group, which included from the Composition Program Tim Becker as project lead, Chloe Robertson, Yemi Awotayo, and Marc Zaldivar, met weekly throughout the summer to draft and produce outstanding materials. Among the results from that collaboration would be a peer review module, a rhetorical analysis module, and a module on multiliteracies, digital literacies, and multimodality, each of which would be scaffolded to include small assignment prompts and carefully produced video overviews. The first of these modules–on peer review–is ready for a small-scale pilot this fall. We are interested in hearing from 1-3 additional pilot participants, instructors or GTAs who would like to have the module copied into their section(s) and who, thereby, would agree to participate in a survey and/or a focus group to discuss the module later this semester. If you are interested, please write to composition -AT- no later than this Friday, August 28. The module will be copied (unpublished) into your section(s), and then you can decide about its position in the course and when to publish it.

Corridors Conference Schedule – September 19.
Registration is open for this fall’s (FREE!) Corridors: Blue Ridge. To learn more about the one-date conference, visit Several Virginia Tech English colleagues are sharing their work as part of the free, one-day event, along with presenters and workshop leaders from nearly ten other colleges and universities. Of special note, as well, is that Dr. Jody Shipka (UMBC) will be giving the plenary presentation, “Edible Rhetoric,” and we also have a featured workshop led by Dr. Jason Luther (Rowan U) on “quaranzines.”

Communities of Practice and Provost’s Teaching and Learning Resources
If, as you continue daily and weekly preparations and lesson planning for teaching writing online this fall (in any area of the department), you have questions about details related to pandemic response, you will find several additional resources created and compiled by faculty colleagues. In addition to resources, this page also lists–in case you want to contact them directly–the colleagues on campus who spent the summer working on issues related to accessibility, assessment, writing-intensive courses, lecture and discussion courses, and much more. 

Continue to let us on the program leadership team know if you have any questions we can help with or if you have other ideas for ways we can support your important work with first-year students this semester.