Stephanie Bell

Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University

Understanding the contours of learning in digital writing projects

Digital writing projects—everything from blogs and web essays to podcasts and digital archives—are commonplace in Higher Education. While they are often framed as fun alternatives to traditional genres of classroom writing, they present significant challenges to learners. They call upon students to experiment with creative, even artistic and design-ful, multimodal thinking, languaging, and communicating. They require students to become registered users of corporately owned digital writing tools. And they are often public-facing assignments that circulate student work in inequitable and sometimes hostile digital environments. Emerging research about the experience of learning with and through digital writing projects in HE suggests that they can cause students as much anxiety and self-doubt as enthusiasm, and that multilingual learners have a uniquely developed set of multimodal languaging resources valuable for traversing their challenges. In this session, we explore these contours of learning in digital writing projects, from design thinking and plurilingual resourcefulness to sociodigital justice. 

If you can, bring a device! We’ll be doing some writing.

Dr. Bell is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and past Director of the Writing Centre at York University. She has delivered multiple presentations on digital writing and production at conferences for the International Writing Centres Association, Canadian Writing Centres Association, and Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing. She is a board member of the Canadian Writing Centres Association. Her digital student production forum, Scratch Media, features podcasts and other media produced through her writing courses. A co-authored monograph proposal, “Bring a hard copy to your appointment”: Tooled-up, networked, multimodal writing at the Writing Centre, is in submission to with Inkshed Publications.


Suresh Canagarajah

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies

Director, Migration Studies Project, Pennsylvania State University

Translingual practice: Its politics and pedagogy

In this lecture, I introduce the translingual orientation and its implications for the way we look at language competence. I define translingualism as communicative practice that goes beyond the autonomous status of separately labeled languages. Though some scholars argue that translingualism serves neoliberal marketization purposes by exoticizing fluid codes and repertoires, I draw from postcolonial scholars to show its resistant potential. I then illustrate how translingual approaches can empower teachers and students in language learning. I analyze data from a classroom experience where a multilingual student uses a grammatical item that deviates from the norm in her English academic writing to demonstrate its implications for developing rhetorical awareness. The analysis will also help explore how teachers can develop their own professional expertise through reflecting on classroom interactions by undertaking methods such as teacher research and action research. I conclude by outlining the shifts we have to adopt from traditional pedagogies of language teaching in order to accommodate a translingual orientation.

Dr. Canagarajah, named as one of the top 50 scholars who have shaped the field of TESOL by TESOL International, is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in the Departments of Applied Linguistics and English at Pennsylvania State University, as well as the Director of the Migration Studies Project. Among many other awards, Dr. Canagarajah is a recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award by the American Association of Applied Linguistics; the Mina P. Shaughnessy Award (2015) by the Modern Language Association for the Outstanding Scholarly Book in the Fields of Language, Culture, Literacy, or Literature for his book Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013); Best Book Award (2016) from the American Association of Applied Linguistics for Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations (2013). He is the author of more than 10 books and dozens of book chapters, academic articles, and other publications, both in English and Tamil. His book, Critical Academic Writing and Multilingual Students (2002), is required reading in the field of academic writing and multilingual instruction. He is also the Commissioner to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs for the state of Pennsylvania.