Date of Award

8-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member

Cynthia Haynes, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Jan Holmevik

Committee Member

Danielle Herro

Committee Member

Brian Malloy

Abstract

In order to create a 21st century pedagogy of learning experiences that inspire the engaged, constructive, dynamic, and empowering modes of work we see in online creative communities, we need to focus on the platforms, the environments, the microworlds that host, hold, and constitute the work. A good platform can build connections between users, allowing for the creation of a community, giving creative work an engaged and active audience. These platforms will work together to build networks of rhetorical/creative possibilities, wherein students can learn to cultivate their voices, skills, and knowledge bases as they engage across platforms and genres. I call on others to make, mod, or hack other new platforms. In applying this argument to my subject, teaching writing in a college composition class, I describe "Microworld Writing" as a genre that combines literary language practice with creativity, performativity, play, game mechanics, and coding. The MOO can be an example of one of these platforms and of microworld writing, in that it allows for creativity, user agency, and programmability, if it can be updated to have the needed features (virtual world, community, accessibility, narrativity, compatibility and exportability). I offer the concept of this "MOO-IF" as inspiration for a collaborative, community-oriented Interactive Fiction platform, and encourage people to extend, find, and build their own platforms. Until then and in addition, students can be brought into Microworld Writing in the composition classroom through interactive-fiction platforms, as part of an ecology of genre experimentation and platform exercise.

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