Technological Ecologies and Sustainability: A Review (Overview)

DeVoss, Dànielle N., Heidi A. McKee, and Richard (Dickie) Selfe, eds. Technological Ecologies and Sustainability. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital P/Utah State UP, 2009. Computers and Composition Digital Press. Web. http://ccdigitalpress.org/ebooks-and-projects/tes.

The book is divided into four extremely full sections. As brought up in in my introduction to this review, 383 pages is an exceptional length for a scholarly book of this kind and it speaks well for the project that none of the book feels stretched or like a tangential addition. The sections are as follows: Sustaining Instructors, Students, and Classroom Practices; Sustaining Writing Programs; Sustaining Writing Center, Research Centers, and Community Programs; and Sustaining Scholarship and the Environment. The combined sections contain a total of eighteen chapters, not including the introduction and contributor bios with photos.

Once in the text itself, an obvious advantage of the digital platform is increased use of photos/images and the fact that color is default. Perhaps this is too obvious, but as an editor and writer in the midst of finishing a book right now using traditional print methodology, full color reproduction was simply not an option this time out for Moon City Review 2009: An Annual of Poetry, Story, Art, & Criticism. I wanted it badly for the archival piece that featured previously unpublished illustrations, but it simply wasn’t in the budget–higher reproduction costs and higher paper costs. The book series will eventually have full color, but as a new series, we’re taking a two-year running start at it. This is what I’m talking about: the fact that there are color photos and graphics goes without saying–a pixel’s a pixel. However, it makes a huge difference for the quality, appearance, and functionality for this book. For example, screen shots usually look terrible in grayscale since, designed in color, they often have inadequate variation in tone, making the shot indistinct. The screenshots here are WYSIWYG. Even better is an example of a graphic from Kristie S. Fleckenstein, Fred Johnson, and Jackie Grutsch McKinne’s  “A Portable Ecology: Supporting New Media Writing and Laptop-ready Pedagogy.” A central concept for the chapter was what the authors described as”labyrinthine institutional loops” (46), which could also be described, using the focus of the collection as a whole, as a communicative ecology for decision-making or change. Along with Figure 2, “Models of Change,” which illustrates the concept in a four-part line drawing, directly underneath the drawing was a link to About Those Loops, a .mov file presentation. This was the moment the book moved from two to three dimensional publishing.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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