Editor's Note, by Chris Gerben

Plasma Screens as Portals to the World, by Alyssa J. O'Brien

Tutoring Graduate Students in the Writing Center, by John Peterson and Joel Burges

PWR awards outstanding student work with IRAs and OPRAs, compiled by Wendy Goldberg & Chris Gerben

Students Publish Work in New Anthology: Official Book Introduction with Preface by Wendy Goldberg

Stanford Library Honors Boothe Prize Winner in Podcast

PWR Instructors Leaving the Farm


Across the world on another continent, Swedish students enrolled in a rhetoric theory course taught primarily by Anders Eriksson and assisted in project coordination and technology by Eva Magnusson. Students were lucky to use their newly equipped “Little Wallenberg Room” as Eva called it, or “The Rhetoric Room,” a technology classroom replete with plasma screens, laptops, and web cams, all configured into four collaboration stations so the students could communicate through cyberspace.

Students in Örebro’s Wallenberg-like “Rhetoric room work on laptops and plasmas.

Thanks to the support of our WGLN grant, our colleagues in Sweden were able to build a technology classroom in Örebro to match the resources of Stanford’s Wallenberg Hall. The President of Örebro University – impressed by the benefits to students, teachers, the university, and the Swedish educational system – contributed matching funds to support the technological infrastructure. See before and after photos here.

At Stanford, funding from WGLN made possible new configurations in teaching with technology and unprecedented collaboration in the classroom such that student chat groups and listservs buzz about the practical and international applications of the hands-on-learning experienced in WGLN-supported courses at Stanford. In fact, students themselves have transferred the digital collaboration done in the class to the virtual realm; there now exists a “Facebook” group for Cross-Cultural Rhetoric, with student members from not only Sweden and the USA but also from around the world.
As teachers, we also implemented new uses of technology, including weekly Marratech conference calls to plan lessons and activities. These were at 6 am Stanford time, 3 pm Örebro time, every week. Working together as a team of teachers across two countries, we focused our winter quarter research methodology on developing “best practices” for cross-cultural collaboration in globally distributed teams, placing students in groups with plasma screens as portals for effective communication and the productive of multimedia texts. Visit our lesson plan archive on the Cross-Cultural Rhetoric website.

Globally-Distributed Teams for Rhetoric Analysis
As we sailed into winter quarter, we adjusted our pedagogy and our project methodology to facilitate optimal outcomes based on what we learned the previous quarter, during the Fall implementation of the project. Specifically, we learned in fall that students developed greater intercultural competencies from small group collaboration – when working on rhetorical analysis tasks with members of both countries – than from faculty video conference lectures about cross-cultural texts. Thus, in winter quarter we redesigned our lesson plans to reduce faculty involvement and allow increased time for collaborative work by globally-distributed teams to wrestle with diverse interpretations of cultural texts. Specifically, we decided to experiment further with different kinds of rhetorical analysis activities such as analyzing an ad, a website, a musical group’s image, or a speech. We started winter ready to replicate and push the envelope in global pedagogy research.

After completing the rhetorical analysis of cultural artifacts, we asked students to look carefully at ads published around the world. Each team analyzed a series of advertisements posted on Canada’s anti-smoking website and targeted at over 20 countries (http://www.smokefree.
ca/warnings/research.htm
). Students worked through a lesson plan

Students rhetorically analyze ads from different cultural perspectives.

consisting of both rhetorical and cross-cultural analysis questions. The Marratech technology enabled them to open browser windows for collaborative viewing, write notes on the white board, use chat and video conference to communicate, and post their shared writing on the class wiki. At the end of class, each globally-distributed team presented their findings to the rest of the groups. We learned that for some groups, different responses to ads occurred more strongly along gender lines than as consequences of cultural worldviews. This was particularly the case for the impotency images related to cigarette’s harmful effects. But another group argued that smoking is more accepted in Sweden than in America, and they found pronounced differences in rhetorical perception based on cultural backgrounds. The activity was a success!

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