CSW Composite Introduction

Issue 2.2, CSW Composite, takes its shape from bits and piecesMailbox mosaic filtered gathered at the First-year Writing Program's Fall 2012 Celebration of Student Writing—bits and pieces we have organized into a multi-authored portrait of the event. The issue follows a logic similar to glass mosaics and shell art: an overall coherence forms as smaller pieces gradually aggregate into some greater arrangement. The Celebration of Student Writing, or CSW, is a biannual showcase featuring student projects developed in Eastern Michigan University's First-year Writing Program. Started in 2000, the Celebration is now in its twelfth year. It is regularly scheduled late in the semester. In Fall 2012, the largest-ever event of its kind at EMU featured projects from 1339 students enrolled in 54 sections of ENGL121: Researching the Public Experience. Another 362 student-writers taking ENGL120, Writing the College Experience, attended the 90-minute event, and several contributed to this special issue.

Among the purposes of the Celebration are to foster interaction among students about their research and writing, to present the work happening in the First-year Writing Program to the campus and Ypsilanti communities, to encourage dialogue among students, instructors, parents and family members, university administrators, and other stakeholders about the diverse functions of researched writing here and now, and to provide a venue for student-writers to gain experience with presenting their projects to genuinely curious passers-by.

This is a special issue—an alternative to the typical format and contents of EM-Journal. Several ENGL120 students were invited by their instructors to document the 2012 Celebration and the projects done by their peers in ENGL121—to take photos and video, to tweet, to record audio clips. Thus, the issue is what we would characterize as digital bricolage, because it is a composite account made from small pieces brought together using Timeline JS, a web-based platform for building media-rich timelines. Drawing together contributions from numerous writers and documentarians, the timeline offers a kaleidoscopic look at the event through fragments and from diverse perspectives. In clear contrast with documentary video, which can be laborious and expensive to produce due to costly equipment and intensive editing processes, this issue's multi-author composition seeks, finds, and enacts an alternative documentary method, one that uses timestamps to stitch together at once a coherent and pluralistic account of the high-energy research and writing event held in the Student Center Ballroom on December 6, 2012.

Visit the media-rich timeline.

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