top of page

Our Trajectory

The ISU Writing Program’s trajectory has developed over time, relying on interdisciplinary research-informed practices in writing, teaching, and learning. 


Below are selected writing research and writing pedagogy research pieces that have been a part of our still-evolving program story.


Charley Koenig, 2022, “I Should Quit, Right?” And Other Things I’ve Said While (Trying) to Learn to Play Chess, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 13.1.


Literate activity research in GWRJ publication:

Koenig traces the many paths that could have led to quitting as she learned a new literate activity: how to play chess. Though more of a story about the practices of teaching and learning something new than actually learning chess, Koenig weaves in the concepts of antecedent knowledge, multimodality, and uptake to relay her struggles with pawns and frustration.

A B M Shafiq Islam, 2022, House Hunting as an Activity System, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 13.1.

Literate activity research in GWRJ publication:

Islam describes how finding housing is challenging for international students not just because of cultural differences, but also because the process of renting has so many interconnected components within a complex activity system. Islam explores how the activity system of finding housing works, seeing the complexities behind any apparently straightforward tasks.


Raven Preston, 2021, Invisible PCHAT Network and the Digital Black Wall Street: Remediating Black Wall Street in a Digital Age, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 11.2.


Literate activity research in GWRJ publication:

Preston uses cultural-historical activity theory and remediation to explain how Black entrepreneurship was assimilated to successfully engage consumers in the digital age. Preston gives insight into the historical and cultural significance of niche marketing in the 21st century and how new marketing techniques, like algorithms, influence the consumer market.

Kevin Roozen, 2021, Unraveling “Writing”: Interweaving Maverick Literacies Throughout a Literate Life, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 11.2.

Literate activity research in GWRJ publication:

Roozen shows how literate activity as a concept can expand and enrich our understanding of writing. Roozen describes one person’s involvement with automotive repair to illustrate what it looks like when we work to unravel the complexities of writing and how writing functions in our everyday lives.


Eunjeong Lee and Sara P. Alvarez, 2020, World Englishes, Translingualism, and Racialization in the US College Composition Classroom. World Englishes 39.2.


Writing pedagogy research in World Englishes publication:

Lee and Alvarez unpack the relationships between language “ownership” and racialization in world Englishes and translingualism research. Looking specifically at US college writing classrooms, they discuss how our understanding of language ownership can reinforce monolingual, racializing ideologies. They call for more linguistically just views of language ownership as a means toward racial‐linguistic equity in sites of writing education.

Alyssa Herman, 2020, The Danger of Filter Bubbles and Digital Isolation: Exploring Ethical Research Practices, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 10.1.

Writing research in GWRJ publication:
Herman uses Eli Pariser’s concept of filter bubbles to understand (un)ethical information- seeking behaviors and research habits. By drawing on past experiences with relationships between academic research and filter bubbles, Herman unpacks how we can consciously embrace ethical research and writing practices as responsible writing researchers.

Tisha Lewis Ellison, Bradley Robinson, and Tairan Qiu, 2020, Examining African American Girls’ Literate Intersectional Identities through Journal Entries and Discussions about STEM, Written Communication 37.1.

Literate activity research in Written Communication publication:
Ellison, Robinson, and Qiu introduce literate intersectional identities to describe how people’s diverse histories, literacies, and identities travel across categories, communities, genres, and modes of meaning-making. They reveal how African American girls’ writings about race, access, and the underrepresentation of women of color in STEM helped them make sense of their self-assurance, self-awareness, and agency as girls of color interested in STEM careers.

Joyce R. Walker, 2020, My Semiotic Junk Drawer: Literate Practices, Remediation, and Maybe Even a Little Magic, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 11.1.


Writing research in GWRJ publication:
Walker advocates changing our metaphors about writing to more accurately describe what really happens when we write. Walker suggests that we move away from seeing our writing skills as a tidy toolkit, toward understanding our writing knowledge as a complex, messy junk drawer.


Paul Prior, Joyce R. Walker, and Deb Riggert-Keiffer, 2019, Languaging the Rhetorical Tradition: Pedagogical CHAT in Middle School and College, Languaging Relations for Transforming the Literacy and Language Arts Classroom, Routledge.


Literate activity teaching (P-CHAT) research in a Routledge publication:

Prior, Walker, and Riggert-Keiffer trace the trajectory of ISU Writing Program’s sociocultural approach to teaching writing research, or Pedagogical-CHAT (P-CHAT). They define P-CHAT, describe what a P-CHAT curriculum looks like in a university writing program, and trace its uptake into a local middle school classroom.

Cristina Sánchez-Martin, Lavinia Hirsu, Laura Gonzales, and Sara P. Alvarez, 2019, Pedagogies of Digital Composing through a Translingual Approach, Computers and Composition 52.


Literate activity teaching (P-CHAT) research in Computers and Composition publication:

Sánchez-Martin, Hirsu, Gonzales, and Alvarez share multiple frameworks for teaching digital composing through a translingual writing orientation. In particular, Sánchez-Martin describes using Pedagogical-CHAT (P-CHAT) to teach digital translingual pedagogies with linguistically and ethnically diverse learners to create inclusive learning and writing spaces.

Dylan Medina, 2019, Writing the Boundaries: Boundary Work in First-year Composition, Composition Forum 42

Writing pedagogy research in Composition Forum publication:

Medina studies micro-transfer as an approach to researching transfer and learning that focuses on the moment-to-moment interactions that happen when we learn. Medina reveals that any given moment can have a profound impact on the trajectory of a writing learner.


Joyce R. Walker, 2017, The Adventures of CHATperson and the ANT: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory as a Writing Pedagogy. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.


Literate activity teaching (P-CHAT) research from a university talk:

Walker uses lots of drawings and images to describe how we understand cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) in the ISU Writing Program, how we take up CHAT terms to practice writing research, and what Pedagogical-CHAT (P-CHAT) looks like in practice at ISU. Bonus: there’s a Fried Egg Person.

Christina Cedillo, 2017, Diversity, Technology, and Composition: Honoring Students’ Multimodal Home Places, Present Tense 6.2.


Writing pedagogy research in Present Tense publication:

Cedillo introduces multimodal home place as a way to unpack the multimodal contexts of people’s writing and how our home communities shape our writing goals and the media and modes we use.  Cedillo describes how multimodal home places teach us about accessibility and provide a tool to help people be mindful about how we use digital technologies.

Jaclyn M. Fiscus, 2017, Genre, Reflection, and Multimodality: Capturing Uptake in the Making, Composition Forum 37


Writing pedagogy research in Composition Forum publication:

Fiscus studies how genres influence how we make writing choices, produce texts within certain genres, and document our own learning and uptake of our genre choices and writing practices. Fiscus suggests that writers practice documenting our learning through a variety of genres throughout the writing process, not just in written narrative form after we produce a piece of writing.


Joyce R. Walker, 2016, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory: Because S*#t Is Complicated, Grassroots Writing Research Journal 6.2.


Literate activity research in GWRJ publication:
Walker advocates for literate activity as a messy, complicated model for understanding all the things people do when we produce and use different kinds of writing in the world, especially for writers in new writing situations. Walker shows how, compared to the traditional rhetorical triangle, cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) helps us see the complexities of what we’re actually doing when we write.

Jerry Won Lee, 2016, Beyond Translingual Writing, College English 79.2.


Writing pedagogy research in College English publication:
Lee describes how teaching translingual writing must be aligned with translanguaging assessment, using principles and practices in translingual writing research to reimagine how we assess our own and others’ writing. Without aligning our assessment practices with the writing practices we teach, Lee warns, we can reproduce inequities in writing education rather than dismantle and redress them.


Paul Prior, Janine Solberg, Patrick Berry, Hannah Bellowar, Bill Chewning, Karen Lunsford, Liz Rohan, Kevin Roozen, Mary P. Sheridan-Rabideau, Jody Shipka, Derek Van Ittersum, and Joyce R. Walker, 2007, Resituating and Re-mediating the Canons: A Cultural-Historical Remapping of Rhetorical Activity, Kairos 11.3.   

Literate activity research in Kairos publication:
Prior et al.’s collaborative webtext explains how much of rhetorical education has focused on only a partial map of complex writing activity. Their core text lays the groundwork for a remapping of writing activity grounded in cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) that better addresses the diverse, complex writing practices of contemporary writers.

Joyce R. Walker, 2007, Constructing a BIG text: Developing a multimodal master plan for composition instruction, Kairos 11.3.


Literate activity research in Kairos publication:
Walker tells a story about how cultural-historical activity (CHAT) theory allows us to think about, plan research for, and investigate people’s everyday literate activities. Walker describes how CHAT can work to help us better understand the complex relationships between digital tools and spaces, narrative and storytelling, and our identities and memories over time and in particular writing situations.

bottom of page