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Call for Proposals—2024 CCCC Fall Virtual Institute: Machine Writing and the Work of Rhetoric and Composition

Institute Date: October 23, 2024
Call for Roundtable Proposals
Proposal Deadline: August 9, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. ET
Submit a Proposal

Institute Format

The one-day event will feature eight roundtable sessions on machine writing, two on each of the four larger areas of interest that machine learning challenges: theory, pedagogy, assessment, and administration. The day will include four participant-created roundtables and four chair-created roundtables with no special distinction made between them. Each panel, whether participant-created or chair-created, will have opportunities to collaborate with each other and the co-chairs before the event. Those submitting proposals for individual roles will be placed in a chair-created roundtable.

The roundtables will activate further ideation among participants. After each roundtable, participants will have thirty minutes to process what they’ve heard by writing notes or fully thought-out responses. Then everyone will return for small breakout conversations, each led by at least one roundtable participant. Each small group will be assigned one prompt: from your thirty-minute processing, create a shared list of concerns, values, resources and tools, and/or future projects that should be explored as teaching, research, or service activities, either collaborative or individual.

Submit a Proposal
July Informational Meetings

Given the newness of the format for this institute, the co-chairs, Antonio Byrd, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Timothy Oleksiak, University of Massachusetts Boston, held two informational meetings in July to clarify any expectations and confusions members might have. Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page resulting from the informational meetings.

Email cccc@ncte.org with questions.

Background

In the fall of 2023, the Conference on College Composition and Communication asked members to pick a topic of broad significance to them and the field for a CCCC one-day institute. An overwhelming majority of members selected machine learning and writing, which should not come as a surprise, given that generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) seems to represent a paradigm shift in composition and rhetoric. The discipline had generative AI on its radar before these tools came onto the scene of our social literacy histories (Burns; Hart-Davidson; McKee and Porter). However, the widespread availability of AI platforms to individual students and teachers, their adoption in the workplace and higher education, and their swift development in the last eighteen months, poses important questions about the impact these tools have on the teaching of writing, on writing research, and on the social activity of writing itself.

For example, how do we meet the expectations that we teach ethical use of AI (Flaherty), when we know that even one output activates environmental degradation (Luccioni et al; Crawford)? Or that the development of these tools relies on raw materials mined from the Earth by modern enslaved Black Congolese women and children (Noble; Sovacool)? When we move away from what’s behind the design of GenAI, we find our labor transformed as private industry sells affordable versions of GenAI to our universities under the auspices of “efficient” writing processes and grading (“Introducing ChatGPT Edu”; “HAI at Five”)? In that light, what responsibilities do humans and GenAI share in writing, research, and administration; what tasks might be off-loaded to GenAI; and what might that mean for teaching and learning AI? Finally, how might our commitment to rhetorical truth (Roberts-Miller; Mercieca; McComiskey) address bad actor’s deployment of GenAI for misinformation and troubling varieties of deepfakes, most recently middle school and high school students creating deepfake nudes of classmates (Singer).

However, recent scholarship on the latest GenAI tools have shown not hype, dismissing these technologies, or total disdain, but rather nuanced arguments on composing and GenAI using our existing research methods and rhetorical theories (Ranade and Eyman) and careful use case scenarios for our writing classrooms (Vee et al). Another unsurprise, then, is that we are equipped to interrogate utopian discourse about AI and how dominant groups may use these tools to perpetuate existing inequality to show up power and capital for themselves (Crawford; Preston).

Call for Roundtable Proposals

We wish to continue this dynamic conversation and state at the top that we discourage uncritical championing of machine-writing technologies or simple demonstrations of a particular technology. We’re excited to invite group (4–5 speakers) and individual roundtable proposals for the first-ever one-day CCCC Fall Virtual Institute, devoted to critical conversations on wicked problems challenging rhetoric and composition. This year, we seek roundtable discussions that build on current conversations about machine learning and writing.

We imagine this event differently than a virtual conference that replicates in-person CCCC. Rather, the CCCC Fall Virtual Institute is a space for provocative presentations of ideas, focused writing, and small-group interactions. Each roundtable session will work as a foundation of provocation that will inspire attendees to write, compose, reflect, and move new or existing projects forward. By the end of the conference, the results of the conversation will be distributed to CCCC members.

We consider this institute an opportunity to learn in the community. Thus, both roundtable participants and attendees will be listed in the final program. If you are included as a roundtable participant, you may place this item on your CV under national, peer-reviewed conference presentations as a roundtable speaker or discussant.

Form, Style, and Content of Roundtables

We imagine each roundtable as playing with creating a style and tone that is at once engaging, informative, and generous to the multiple values and member needs on the broad matter of machine writing. Roundtables might offer staged dialogues with archetypes such as European Medieval morality plays or Platonic dialogues. Perhaps participants are inspired by myths and stories from Indigenous peoples or shaped by their unique geo-cultural locations. A mock trial or curriculum meeting at a community college could offer structure. Participants might use these roles to provoke creative tensions that inspire those witnessing the roundtable discussions into new ideas.

Expectations for Roundtables

Each participant selected will be responsible for offering cohesive roundtable experience. Rather than seeking atomized presentations, we ask that each member collaborate with each other well in advance of the day’s events and consider taking one of the following roles:

  • Listener/Synthesizer/Opener – In this role, you are processing information that is shared by others and contributing when you have a question, concern, or idea.
    • How will you bring ideas together during the roundtable? How will you prepare attendees for what they are about to experience with your roundtable?
  • Empiricist/Researcher – You have come with a project in mind and are looking for development and refinement.
    • What kinds of empirical projects are important for the rhetoric and composition specialists to undertake in this larger area of interest? How might you use your individual empirical project as a way to broaden what can be possible for empirical, data-driven researchers?
  • Curious Nonexpert – You are coming with an active interest in machine writing but have not had time to immerse yourself in the literature.
    • What curiosities do you bring to the area of interest that other, more knowing colleagues might respond to? What do you want to know? Why is learning important for you and your movement through the profession?
  • Rhetorical Gadfly – You are incredulous and are eager to share your contrary and informed opinions.
    • What objections, frustrations, or killjoy experiences can you offer to productively engage the roundtable and create meaningful dissonances for attendees to consider?
  • Knowing Scholar/Theorist – You have studied this stuff and have citations and scholarly conversations that you believe are important to share with our community. Rather than general gestures to the literature, you are able to recall the scholarly positions within the conversation.
    • What learned experience, critical conversations, or scholarly expertise can you offer during the roundtable discussion, either in support of colleagues’ ideas or as critical responses to what is being offered?
  • Other, Named Role – If there is a role you imagine playing that is not included among the roles listed here, you are welcome to name it, describe its character, and list one or two questions this role is animated by in your proposal(s).

We encourage roundtable participants to identify speaking roles to encourage richer dialogues and to highlight the critical nature of these rhetorical dispositions in the creation of knowledge. We think the notion of taking a role rather than simply presenting your own research for others to listen to can bring us closer to collective learning experiences that have guided the format of this event.

Finally, feel free to use the questions associated with each role as a guide to developing your proposal.

Roundtable Participant Commitments

Should you be selected as a roundtable participant, we ask you to join the co-chairs, Antonio Byrd, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Timothy Oleksiak, University of Massachusetts Boston, for a short informational session on Zoom to ground expectations for roles, possible structure, and brief suggestions on leading breakout discussions so that “What do you think?” is not the first and only question used to generate discussion.

We strongly encourage invited roundtable speakers to attend one of two optional virtual sessions to share any issues or concerns about their roundtable with co-chairs before the CCCC Fall Virtual Institute.

These sessions will occur via Zoom on

  • September 18, 2024, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. ET
  • September 19, 2024, 10:00–11:00 a.m. ET
Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria for Proposals

For Group (4–5 speakers) Roundtable Proposals

  • Proposals should be no more than one thousand (1,000) words long.
  • Proposal speaks directly to the area of interest – theory, pedagogy, assessment, or administration.
  • Your proposal is grounded in a concept or series of concepts related to machine writing and your area of interest.
  • Your proposal includes representatives from more than two of the following categories: community colleges, HBCUs, tribal colleges, colleagues from institutions outside the United States, teaching colleges, HSIs, and/or institutions that are part of the AANAPISI program.
    • While this is not a deal breaker for program acceptance, those with two or more of the aforementioned representatives will take priority.
  • Proposal identifies the role each speaker is interested in playing on the roundtable.
  • If applicable, name and describe a role not listed in this call.

For Individual Roundtable Proposals

  • Proposal should be no more than one thousand (1,000) words long.
  • Proposal speaks directly to the area of interest – theory, pedagogy, assessment, or administration.
  • Proposal is grounded in a concept or series of concepts related to machine writing and your area of interest.
  • Proposal identifies the role you are interested in playing on the roundtable.
  • If applicable, name and describe a role not listed in this call.

In order to ensure maximum participation in the roundtables, individuals will be limited to one speaking role.

Submit a Proposal
Proposal Deadline (Please place the following dates and times on your calendar.)

Proposals must be submitted by August 9, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. ET. We selected 10:00 a.m. ET to ensure that there are support staff available to assist with any submission problems. Email cccc@ncte.org with questions.

Decisions to Proposers with Rationale

All proposers can expect brief feedback about our decisions by 5:00 p.m. ET on August 16, 2024. If you are not selected as a featured roundtable speaker that does not mean you are excluded from participating during the many institute open town hall sessions. Bring all of your ideas to share in our learning community.

Tentative Schedule at a Glance

10:45–11:00 a.m. ET – All Attendees: Brief opening remarks as people connect to Zoom
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. ET – Two session choices: Administration Roundtable or Theory Roundtable
1:00–3:00 p.m. ET – Two session choices: Pedagogy Roundtable or Assessment Roundtable
3:00–5:00 p.m. ET – Two session choices: Theory Roundtable or Pedagogy Roundtable
5:00–7:00 p.m. ET – Two session choices: Assessment Roundtable or Administration Roundtable
7:00–8:00 p.m. ET – All Attendees: Open Townhall and Moving Forward for Our Members

Concurrent Session Breakdown

The roundtable dialogues will break down into the following schedule:

  1. 45-minute roundtable dialogues relating to the area of interest
  2. 30-minute individual writing or reflection period
  3. 20-minute breakout session
    • Five or six different randomly assigned breakout rooms with a roundtable participant as leader
  4. 10-minute report-back, speak-out session
  5. 15-minute break between sessions
Rationale

We use four participant-created roundtables and four chair-created roundtables as an inclusive practice. In this model, we do not favor full group roundtable discussions over individual proposals. Some CCCC members may be better connected than others and more able to bring together colleagues to participate in a roundtable, while others may not. Not having access to networks, we believe, should not prevent individuals who wish to present as selected roundtable members. Thus, we encourage CCCC members across professional status and institutional type to submit a proposal: undergraduates with faculty mentors, graduate students, tenured and non-tenure-track faculty, adjunct instructors, independent scholars, writing program and writing center administrators, and writing center tutors.

Works Cited

Burns, Hugh. “A Note on Composition and Artificial Intelligence.” Computers and Composition, vol. 1, no.1, 1983, pp. 3-4.

Crawford, Kate. Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence. New Haven, Yale UP, 2021.

Flaherty, Colleen. “Survey: How AI Is Impacting Students’ Career Choices.” Inside Higher Ed, 10 Jan. 2024, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/student-success/life-after-college/2024/01/10/survey-college-students-thoughts-ai-and-careers. Accessed 9 June 2024.

“HAI at Five: Celebrating 5 Years of Impact.” YouTube, uploaded by Stanford HAI, 5 June 2024, https://www.youtube.com/live/wVqNLaN7cJQ?si=GjzRD6qTSmuAp-mQ&t=23124.

Hart-Davidson, William. “Writing with Robots and Other Curiosities of the Age of Machine Rhetorics.” The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric, edited by Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes, Routledge, 2018, pp. 248-55.

“Introducing ChatGPT Edu.” OpenAI, 30 May 2024, https://openai.com/index/introducing-chatgpt-edu/. Accessed 9 June 2024.

Luccioni, Sasha, et al. “Power Hungry Processing: Watts Driving the Cost of AI Deployment?” FAccT ’24: Proceedings of the 2024 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, Association for Computing Machinery, 2024.

McComiskey, Bruce. Post-Truth Rhetoric and Composition. UP of Colorado, 2017.

Mercieca, Jennifer R. “Dangerous Demagogues and Weaponized Communication.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 264-79.

McKee, Heidi A., and James E. Porter. Professional Communication and Network Interaction: A Rhetorical and Ethical Approach. Routledge, 2017.

Noble, Safiya Umoja. “A Future for Intersectional Black Feminist Technology Studies.” Transversing Technologies, special issue of S&F Online, vol. 13, no. 3, 2016. Barnard Center for Research on Women, https://sfonline.barnard.edu/safiya-umoja-noble-a-future-for-intersectional-black-feminist-technology-studies/.

Preston, John. Artificial Intelligence in the Capitalist University: Academic Labour, Commodification, and Value. Routledge, 2022.

Ranade, Nupoor, and Douglas Eyman. “ Introduction: Composing with Generative AI.” Computers and Composition, Vol. 71, 2024, 102834, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2024.102834.

Roberts-Miller, Patricia. Rhetoric and Demagoguery. Southern Illinois UP, 2019.

Singer, Natasha. “Teen Girls Confront an Epidemic of Deepfake Nudes in Schools.” New York Times, 8 Apr. 2024, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/08/technology/deepfake-ai-nudes-westfield-high-school.html.

Sovacool, Benjamin K. “When Subterranean Slavery Supports Sustainability Transitions? Power, Patriarchy, and Child Labor in Artisanal Congolese Cobalt Mining.” The Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 8, no. 1, 2021, pp. 271-93.

Vee, Annetee, Laquintano, Timothy, and Schnitzler, C. (Eds.) (2023). TextGenEd: Teaching with Text Generation Technologies. WAC Clearinghouse, 2023. https://doi.org/10.37514/TWR-J.2023.1.1.02.

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