CFP: Computer-Mediated Communication across Cultures

Call for Chapter Proposal – Submission Deadline Nov. 30, 2009

For the Edited Collection
Computer-Mediated Communication across Cultures: International
Interactions in Online Environments

Edited by Kirk St.Amant, East Carolina University
Sigrid Kelsey, Louisiana State University

To be published by IGI Global:

International online access has grown rapidly in recent years with the
number of global Internet users currently at just over one billion.
This increased global access, however, brings with it a variety of new
conditions and concerns that could markedly affect international
interactions in online environments.  Differences in language,
cultural communication expectations, laws, and software standards are
but some of the factors individuals need to consider when using online
media to interact with individuals from different countries and
cultures.  This collection will address these issues by exploring the
various aspects that could affect communication and comprehension in
international online interactions.

The primary objective of this text is to provide readers with in-depth
information on the various linguistic, cultural, technological, legal,
and other factors that affect interactions in online exchanges.
Through examining such topics, this collection would help readers make
more effective decisions related to the uses and design of online
media when interacting with individuals from other cultures. This
primary objective would also accomplish two secondary, but equally
important, objectives:

•       The collection would provide readers with the foundational
knowledge needed to communicate effectively with individuals from
other countries and cultures via online media.

•       The collection would provide readers with the knowledge needed
to create effective online materials for users (clients, students,
colleagues, etc.) from other countries and cultures.

Prospective subject areas and specific topics for this publication
include, but are not limited to, the following:

•       The Growth of Global Online Access

•       Language, Culture, and Online Communication

•       Technology, Compatibility, and International Online Discourse

•       Law, Policy, and International Internet Use

•       Markets, Economics, and International E-commerce

•       Globalization, Education, and Online Environments

•       Perspectives on the Future of Global Cyberspace

Prospective authors are invited to submit chapter proposals of 200-500
words on or before November 30, 2009.  In their proposal, prospective
authors should clearly explain:

•       The purpose and the contents of their proposed chapter

•       How their proposed chapter relates to the overall objectives of
the book

Authors will be notified of the status of their proposal and sent
chapter organization guidelines by December 15, 2009.  Drafts of
chapters will be due by March 15, 2010.

Please send inquiries or submit material electronically (Rich Text
files) to the editor at

Research Topics for the Future of Second Language Writing

Bill Grabe outlined twelve ideas for future research in second language/ESL writing during his plenary talk at the Symposium on Second Language Writing today. His list included:

  1. The importance of summary writing
  2. The importance of exploring lexical, grammatical, and textual features contributing (or not contributing) to writing development
  3. The need to move beyond the t-unit as a measure of writing complexity
  4. The need to carry out more training studies with larger groups of students—the need to build a repository of controlled results across and within student groups, tasks, and topics
  5. The need to build principled and controlled student writing corpora that multiple researchers can access for multiple issues and multiple studies (ICLE is not good enough)
  6. The need to carry out (near) replications of highly-cited (and other) studies and have the replications published regularly
  7. The need to study in more depth the linkages between vocabulary knowledge (both receptive and productive) and writing abilities
  8. The need to study writing variability due to L1 language transfer factors, linguistic or textual
  9. The need to expand research on writing assessment practices, particularly in classroom settings, and particularly with respect to “assessment for learning”
  10. The need for controlled research on the impact of different media on writing, or using different media as part of writing development
  11. The need to expand research on effective ways to carry out teacher training for more effective writing instruction (action research)
  12. The need to examine relations between writing abilities (& development) and brain functioning

Admittedly empirically-focused. But thought-provoking. I’m interested, of course, in the implications of #10. What might such research look like? What kinds of questions should we be asking about the impact of different media on writing and writing development? So often administrators still ask whether or not computers are beneficial to students’ language learning and writing development. I’m just not convinced anymore that it’s interesting to ask whether or not the use of computers in the classroom is beneficial to teaching students to write. To me, that’s like asking 50 years ago whether or not it would be beneficial to students’ long-term writing to give them pencils. But what kinds of questions should we ask, especially in relation to L2 writers?

On Using Tools to Keep Going

glassesI’ve had a pair of reading glasses for about three years now. I wear them infrequently, only when I remember–and that’s usually when I’m in front of my computer because my eyes remind me. I had never worn glasses before my son was born, and then all of the sudden I realized that the world seemed to have fuzzy edges. I wasn’t seeing things as clearly as I had before. When I had my eye exam a few months after Sam was born, the doctor gave me a prescription. My vision had always been 20/20, so I asked him what it was now. He said, “20/20.”

Huh? “Why then,” I asked, “do I need glasses?”

“Sometimes your eyes get tired,” he said. “Glasses will help your eyes focus when they’re too tired to focus on their own.”

I think it’s taken me all three years to really wrap my mind around that explanation. As I sit with my laptop open at 11 p.m. (wearing my glasses), trying to figure out how to do the 4-5 hours of work that I still need to do before my 9 a.m. meeting tomorrow, I’m beginning to get it. There are other habits that seem to follow the pattern of my use-them-to-make-your-eyes-work-when-they’re-tired glasses. What do we do when we haven’t gotten enough sleep and need to get going in the morning? Drink a cup of coffee (or insert your caffeinated beverage of choice here). How about when our muscles are tired and sore from over-exertion? Eat a banana (if you’re more healthy like my husband) or take some ibuprofen (if you’re more like me). I’m beginning to see a theme.

Perhaps I should take a cue and learn to just stop, slow down, and rest. I guess that’s what the whole point of Sabbath/sabbatical is all about, isn’t it?

I think I’ll close this laptop and get a good night’s sleep.

Taking a break

U2 in Charlottesville, VA

U2 in Charlottesville, VA

The past few weeks at work have been incredibly stressful, so I decided that it was time for a total mental break. Last night I took a road trip to Charlottesville with my friend, Danielle, to see U2 live at the University of Virginia. Yeah–it’s pretty silly to go, especially since they’re coming to Raleigh and I’ll be seeing there here, too. But it was a fantastic escape and an incredible show. They played:

Get on Your Boots
Mysterious Ways
Beautiful Day
No Line on the Horizon
Your Blue Room
New Year’s Day
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Stuck In A Moment
Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
I’ll Go Crazy – Remix
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Walk On
Where The Streets Have No Name
With or Without You
Moment of Surrender

It was a fantastic show and just the break I needed. What do you do to de-stress when work responsibilities get overwhelming? What have you found to be therapeutic and energizing?

What’s up with Google Books?

My co-author, Shelley Rodrigo, just found our textbook, the Wadsworth Guide to Research, on Google Books. Hmm. I can’t decide how I feel about that. Flattered? Offended? It certainly seems like a violation of copyright. Isn’t it?

And a Google search for our book brings up the Google Books link on the front page. Surprise, surprise.

Apparently our publisher, Cengage, along with many others, has filed a lawsuit against Google for copyright infringement. Now publishers around the world are getting into the fight. Thankfully the US Register of Copyrights is on the authors’ side. Am I missing something here? Is there a valid argument for allowing Google to scan and make millions of books available for free? Google claims that they’re like a sort of “online library.” This seems like a flimsy defense.

I guess I understand the whole Napster issue on a different level now.

No thanks, iPhone

Well, the new iPhone looks fantastic…if only Apple would hook up with a real cell phone provider that doesn’t drop calls constantly! Sigh. My entire neighborhood is an AT&T dead zone…right smack in the middle of Raleigh. I just can’t give my money to Apple if I have to switch cell phone providers. And it’s killing me.

Guest blogger: Elisa Lorello

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Elisa Lorello, who is on a blog tour to promote her novel, Faking It. Welcome, Elisa!

Faking It

Thank you, Susan, for hosting me on your blog. Readers, Susan and her husband Stacey were the first two people I met and befriended when I relocated to North Carolina three years ago; that friendship has been invaluable to me ever since. If I can be half the friend that each has been to me, then I’d say I’m in the win column.

I’m currently on a summer blog tour to promote my novel FAKING IT, a romantic comedy that takes place in New York. Thirty-something Andi, a professor of writing and rhetoric, meets Devin, a handsome male escort (“who apparently gets around the lecture circuit more than we do,” remarks Andi’s best friend Maggie), and proposes an unusual arrangement: lessons in what she knows in exchange for lessons in what he knows. And when they become friends (violating the contract that forbids them from doing so), complications ensue. I pitch it as *When Harry Met Sally* meets *Sex and the City*. But, with my rhet-comp colleagues and friends, I could just as easily pitch is as “When Harry Met Sally* meets *Inventing the University*.

FAKING IT is the perfect summer read. It’s witty, fun, yet also poignant at times. And it’s a must-read for anyone who teaches first-year writing, be it as a TA or a tenured professor. At the time that I wrote FAKING IT, I had read Richard Russo’s Straight Man and loved it because I could so easily relate to it. I imagined my readers being other composition teachers and grad students who would get a kick out of the conversations, or find themselves itching to jump in and say, “You could not be more wrong…” The words are just as much a part of the story as the character and setting. And the idea of a bunch of composition teachers actually using an escort’s services was positively hilarious. Besides, what other romantic comedy novel features Peter Elbow?!

It’s hard to believe that this September marks five years since getting my Masters Degree in Professional Writing from UMass-Dartmouth. I had such aspirations of being one of the rhetoric-composition superstars I’d spent those three years learning about, and find it interesting to see the path my life has taken in such a short time.

I wrote FAKING IT just as I completed my degree, and when I read it today I can’t help but laugh at Andi’s idealism as she teaches Devin about these landmark composition essays by Elbow and Bartholomae. That was my idealism, of course, all that stuff still fresh in my mind. I think it’s consistent with her character in many ways—she has a sort of naïve outlook on the world, the product of having grown up so sheltered. And yet, Andi took the career path I had set upon, and she surpassed my own successes. She’s a PhD, a textbook author, a writing program director, and a rising star in her field. As you’ll see in FAKING IT’s sequel, it isn’t long before the next wave of grad students and scholars are citing her. Career-wise, she’s got it all together, and she’s damn good at what she does.

Much of the rhetorical idealism in FAKING IT is also a parody of my own theoretical beliefs. Andi’s staunch opposition to the modes of discourse, for example, was a poke at my own grad school diatribe when, as a TA, I was confounded by what this whole freshman composition thing was really all about. As if this was the worst thing I’d ever have to encounter as a teacher!

But perhaps the happiest accident to come out of FAKING IT was that it is, in fact, a rather rhetorical novel. Andi and Devin are continually engaged in an ongoing dialectic in pursuit of truth, be it the truth of the text, the truth of the circumstance, or of their inner selves. And they expose each other’s truths by means of language to communicate and persuade. I just love the tagline that proceeds the story: “Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world. Rhetoric is the second oldest.” I used to quip this at conferences and even in classes, but the marriage of the two in FAKING IT worked wonderfully. Ultimately, FAKING IT makes you turn inward to what you believe, and for that I’m grateful.

FAKING IT is currently available on It’s also available on Amazon Kindle for under two dollars (you can also download it to your iPhone or iPod Touch because “there’s an app for that”). Please buy a copy today!

Guest Blogger: Stacey Cochran


My husband, Stacey Cochran, is on a 45-day blog tour to promote his new book, CLAWS. He graciously agreed to stop by my blog today to talk about developing a writing career. And his posting gives me a good reason to get back to blogging…

Amazon link to CLAWS

Thanks so much, Susan, for hosting me on your blog today. As you know I’m in the middle of a 45-day blog tour to promote the release of my new novel CLAWS. It’s been a fun couple of weeks while I’ve been on tour, and I’ve definitely learned a lot of interesting marketing ideas.

It’s been a fun few years since I first wrote this novel, and you’ve gotten to watch this project from its earliest few chapters, through the end of its first draft, to my work with the agent who shopped it around, to this final self-published version of the book.

I guess I’d like to focus today on the topic of the power of a spouse in helping to keep a creative person’s dream alive. I think looking back over the past five years, the general impression I have is how stable we’ve managed to be despite the lack of outward success with my writing.

It’s true that in the past two or three years things have started to take off, but I’m coming around to the realization of how important a long-range view on a writing career is… and how important the kind of security and stability we’ve managed to achieve is in working through the lean years.

It’s interesting because I think a marriage and a family is really built through trust and hard work. That is, a healthy relationship is one with trust and love and highs and lows and ultimately a commitment to one another that shows itself through the continual addition of good memory upon good memory. It’s like building a house or something.

And at the risk of comparing apples and oranges, you know a writing career is not that different. You put in your time, hard work, trust, love, compassion, and stick with it… and maybe trust that the career is what it should be. And at the same time continue to work on improving and getting better and growing and being open.

I’ve never thought about it this way, but a healthy relationship is a lot like a healthy growing writing career or business or non-profit organization. That is, fundamentally, it takes some of the same characteristics to make it work.

At any rate, that’s a little bit of reflection on two seemingly disparate things: a relationship and writing. I’d just like to say thanks so much for all your support these past few years. I see your love in Sam’s smile every day, and I feel it in my heart. I am extremely lucky to be spending my life with you.

Thanks, Susan, for hosting me today at your blog!

In the news…

I don’t think I’ve ever had an article written about anything I’ve done before. But, lo and behold, this morning Shelley and I made the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and–I guess–several other papers. Who would have thought that research in college writing classes would be interesting outside of the academy?