Reading Question 3/20

Sousanis discusses several dimensions in his text, and at this point, we arrive at the fifth dimension. These frames illustrate that from the same mind that creates dimensions, it also limits them by our habits (111). Advocating for “plasticity,” we need to lessen our habitual tendencies or learn flexibility. What I am struggling to grasp is then why Sousanis chooses to illustrate/write a graphical book. What do we need to re-learn or be more flexible on in order to comprehend more opportunities than a book for composition? At what point do we stop forming habits?

Stop Write 3/13

“Squeezed into the same slots. What comes out is interchangeable. Standardized.”

Write about a recent time that you’ve felt “squeezed into the same slots” when it came to writing. Did it make you feel standardized?

Reading Question – 3/6

“We look at interface as a thing, a representation of computational processes that make it convenient for us to interact with what is ‘really’ happening. But the interface is a mediated structure that supports behaviors and tasks. It is a space between human users and procedures that happen according to complicated protocols” (Drucker 139).

This excerpt reminds me a lot of writing more broadly. All sorts of people–students, non-writing instructors, administrators, and the public–often think about writing as a thing–a textual product. Yet, we know writing is a recursive, social process that is contextually and rhetorically situated. Despite all the time and research it took to inform our understanding of writing as a process, there are still people who don’t get it, who still view writing as only a product. I’m curious what the process will look like to reframe interfaces as an interactive structure that exists between human users and protocol-informed procedures, as opposed to a static thing. What will need to happen throughout this process to create a meaningful paradigm shift for composition / TPC / interface design scholars, as well as other stakeholders such as students, non-writing instructors, administrators, and the public more broadly?

Reading Question for 2/6

Barry struck me with her observance of point of view in the house fire pictures. She says, “There is also the matter of where the viewer is standing: point of view. All of these things show up without effort–they are already in us” (104). I continuously noticed how she incorporated point of view into all of her students’ assignments (letters, fiction, house fire sketches). Barry recognizes that she cannot necessarily instruct them to view their work in a certain way because viewpoint is innate.

If it is constructed, how does one construct their viewpoint? Is it different between drawing and writing? [GMK]

Brooke Notes (Barry)

Barry, Lynda. Syllabus: Notes from An Accidental Professor


Barry, Lynda. Syllabus: Notes from An Accidental Professor. Drawn & Quarterly, 2015, pp. 1-100.


In her collection of syllabi and teaching notes, Lynda Barry makes a bold argument for bringing drawing back to college classroom. Barry questions the reasons why adults lose their passion for drawing, and evaluates the reasons why adults feel hesitant to draw when asked. She encourages her students to enjoy the experience of drawing, and links these “childlike” actions with more complex concepts of art, science, and composition.

Through her teaching experience, Barry learns more about the relationship of art, of drawing, to the unconscious mind. She threads one particular question through the length of her book: “If the thing we call ‘the arts’ has a biological function, what is it?” (Barry 34). Barry also discusses the intersections of art and writing, and explores what it means to be a “good” writer or artist.

Barry explores the concept of art as negotiating thought, and asks her students to draw while listening to a story in order to activate the part of the unconscious mind that would otherwise go unrecognized. The composition notebook her class keeps functions as a catalogue of daily activity, and she continuously asks her students to draw or record events so that they learn to listen and take part in the otherwise mundane everyday world. Interesting things occur every day, according to Barry, and one must only open her eyes and ears to experience them. Barry’s collection of cartoon syllabi and notes provide thought-provoking questions about the nature of drawing, about art and the reasons for its existence, and questions about the nature of learning.


1) Arts, 2) Unconscious, 3) Writing, 4) Biology, 5) Mind, 6) Drawing, 7) Thought


Brunetti, Ivan. Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice. Yale University Press, 2011.

McGilchrist, Iain. The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and The Making of The Western World. Yale University Press, 2012.


“There is something common to everything we call ‘the arts.’ What is ‘it’? . . . This ancient ‘it’ is something I call ‘an image.’ By image I don’t mean a visual representation. I mean something that is more lake a ghost than a picture; somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive- a book, a song, a painting—anything we call an ‘art form.’ Images are also contained by certain objects . . . How was it put there? Why do we have an innate ability to have a sustained and interactive relationship with an object/image well before we are able to speak? What kind of interaction is taking place?” (Barry 15)

  (Barry 49)

 (Barry 92)


How could Barry’s questions and insights apply to the workplace? How could they apply to the first-year writing classroom?

Do those who draw and doodle during class better retain the information they hear? [LW]

Bibliography 1/29

Boschee, J. (2016). Language, identity, and relations: We Gaze as visual-literacy and arts-based inquiry in teaching (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from

During my search through Google Scholar, I found Jana Boschee’s MA thesis that cites Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. In this multi-modal work, Boschee explores the role of identity within the creation of artful text. She also investigates and explains the purpose of We Gaze, a social fiction created by the author. In We Gaze, the author and her cohort investigate pedagogy from within narratives produced by those teaching during this project. [MAP]

Causey, A. (2017). Drawn to see: Using line drawing as an ethnographic method. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Causey’s book, which I found on Google Scholar during my search for works that cite Barry’s Syllabus, discusses the value behind utilizing drawing as a way to re-see reality. Causey provides readers with a sort of “How-to” regarding mindfully seeing and interacting with the world at large through drawing. [MAP]

Groppel-Wegener, A. (2016). Writing essays by pictures: Redrawing the textbook. Journal of Pedagogic Development, 6(3), 65-69. Retrieved from

This article, which I also found through Google Scholar, discusses revisiting textbooks to decide if textbooks need to be revamped, in general. The article explores the concept of textbooks as a genre and proposes a new approach to textbooks, one that questions the design aspects. [MAP]

Shipka, J. (2005). A multimodal task-based framework for composing. College Composition and Communication, 57(2), 277-306. Retrieved from

Shipka’s piece, which I found through Halle Library’s database, explores the idea of expanding the reaches of composition studies beyond just written texts. Shipka advocates for this inclusive approach to writing and suggests the writing process should include consideration of the influence of the tools used during the process, as well as everything within the environment surrounding the writer during the writing process. [MAP]

Tolmie, J (Ed.). (2013). Drawing from life: Memory and subjectivity in comic art. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

While searching through the Halle Library database, I found this edited book. This book is a compilation of reviews and analyses of autobiographical comic pieces, created by various authors, which challenge the traditional notion of autobiographical. A review of Barry’s work is included in this compilation. [MAP]

Reading Questions-Diana George 1/29

“Visual literacy and Writing classes” by Diane George

George tries to examine the place of visual literacy in the composition classrooms because she believes that “some tug of war between words and images or between writing and design can be productive as it brings into relief the multiple dimensions of all forms of communication”(14).

Diane George claims that 21 century students as those who grow up in “an aggressively visual culture” and emphasizes visual analysis in postsecondary, writing pedagogies for the last fifty years after World War II. (21). Questions that are initiated through the reading are: “Are images strategies for getting students to pay attention to detail? Do they mimic the rhetoric of verbal argument? Are they a dumping down of writing instruction making visible to nonverbal students what the verbally gifted can conceptualize”(22)?

George explains different theories regarding writing studies and their interpretation of using visuals in teaching composition: Expressionism and Social Constructionism. She believes that “Visual arguments make a claim or assertion and attempt to sway an audience by offering reasons to accept than claims” (29).

“For students who have grown up in a technology-saturated and an image-rich culture, questions of communication and composition absolutely will include the visual, not as attended the verbal but as complex communication intricately related to the world around them.”(32). Teachers who have been interested in using the visual in writing classes have generally limited their discussion of analysis because there were few ways of doing otherwise.

Using the visual in writing classes have generally limited their discussion to analysis because they were few ways of doing otherwise.

Questions: How can we incorporate the visual rhetoric in first-year compositions classes? Some possible issues are the large size of the classes and students differentiated level of writing skills. In addition, some students don’t have access to computer for creating designs.

This raises the following questions:

  • What would be the guidelines and grading criteria to assess students’ abilities while they are incorporating visuals in their writing?
  • It seems we are using visuals mostly in engaging students to write arguments then how we can adapt visuals in teaching other genres?
  • How can we incorporate more visual topics to other classes across the curriculum?