Making choices about publishing

Negotiate best practices for digital publication with your students. Keep in mind that best practices for digital publication depend on an aggregation of student safety and course demands, as well as a fresh understanding of writing process, fair use, and audience.

As you think through these issues with your students, consult Emory's Copyright Infringement page.

Though students may publish work to their sites at any stage of the writing process, tools such as Wordpress and Weebly provide site statistics and privacy options that help resolve students' publishing choices with the course requirements.

  • Stats help student make choices about publishing because they provide users with feedback on site visitors, as well as site visibility. These analytic tools can help determine which texts to publish, which texts to revise, and which texts may need to remain private or published only within a community of users.
  • Privacy settings enable students to control the community to whom they are publishing their projects.

Privacy issues aside, we are still motivated to ask, what are the best practices for digital student publication? The interconnectedness of multimodal publication reveals the extent to which all writing is interconnected, recursive, and nonlinear. That is to say that even though it may seem prudent for students to wait to publish texts they consider final or complete drafts, to do so would be missing out on the benefits that come from network connections. Digital technology does not so much challenge the conception of the writing process as linear, as it shows that the writing process is not and never has been a straight progression from invention to final draft. Just as Kathleen Yancy advocates “re-invisioning” presentation software as “a site for a rough draft, shared with a real audience,” so too can publication enable creativity (Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key).