[UPDATE] Let's Get Published! Student Writers as Content Providers NeMLA 2015 conference, April 30- May 3, 2015, Toronto, Canada

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Randy Laist
contact email: 

In our interconnected age, everyone can be a published writer. Not only do blogs and discussion boards make it possible for any writer with a smartphone to reach a global audience, but the Internet also puts aspiring writers into immediate contact with publishers, editors, and webmasters in search of content. This situation has significant implications for composition studies. With the Internet at the tip of everyone's fingers, a world of publication opportunities is only a click away. A pedagogy that takes full advantage of this remarkable circumstance stimulates student achievement by reconceptualizing student assignments as freelance publication opportunities, the writing classroom as a support group of working writers, and the instructor as an editor and literary agent. In the process, the composition classroom becomes more engaging, more challenging, and more likely to develop the kinds of communication skills that students will go on to use throughout their professional lives.
Developing a publication-oriented pedagogy requires some major reevaluations of many of the basic tenets of conventional writing instruction. Rather than adhering to a prefabricated model of what student writing should look like, students who write for publication have to learn to adapt their messages to conform to the style of specific publication outlets. Instead of the teacher having the final word on whether student writers have been successful, student-writers' success is determined by their ability to place their writing and to generate readership and response. Most importantly, student writers who write for publication cannot even justifiably be considered students anymore, since they are doing the same work as "real" writers.
This panel will examine strategies for turning a writing classroom into a community of working freelance writers. We welcome discussions of success stories, cautionary tales, and theoretical considerations associated with an experiential approach to composition studies. Submit 300-word abstracts to Dr. Randy Laist at https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15012 by September 30, 2014.