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Zoom in and Zoom out: Virtual creative writing classroom pedagogy using Zoom
chapterposted on 14.09.2021, 03:42 by Nicole AnaeNicole Anae
The growing international reach of creative writing as an academic discipline is becoming more and more apparent (Harper 2015). While the presence of creative writing in an “increasingly internationalised academy” (Mort 220) had led to greater “inflections of cultural identity [which] colour the creative and critical work of staff and students” (Kroll and Harper 10), the advent of the “virtualization” - the process referring to the change or creation of a real-form object or thing into a version discernible using computer technologies - of creative writing, has precipitated a veritable explosion in the compositional tools available to would-be and operative writers. As various models in online creative writing pedagogy continue to evolve, understandings of what creative writing is and does as much as the modes and forms of creative writing techniques, styles and genres, ever-expand well beyond conventional understandings of time and space; into synchronous and asynchronous synaptic realms and virtual platforms. This chapter takes a practice-led case study approach to map the ways in which creative writing pedagogy incorporating online video communications technologies not only builds rapport between teacher and student-writers, but how these synchronous online experiences encourages peer networks within the synaptic-technologic creative writing environment, including developing trust relationships in the self-assessment of creative work. The discussion focuses specifically on how online video communications technologies have been embedded within a fully online offering of a second-year undergraduate course in Creative Writing at an Australian university. That this course is offered fully online is an important point of difference compared to other courses, while also signalling an increased pedagogical reliance on synaptic technologies, such as Zoom, a real-time video conferencing platform. This course regularly embeds 90-minute video conferencing sessions between the lecturer and students over the 12-week duration of the semester, typically one session every two to three weeks, in the form of ZoomLive Creative Writing Workshops in which students participate in regular supportive and collaborative review of draft work-in-progress. During these sessions, students are invited to experiment with their own digital applications, and often do, resulting in practical experiences (largely without extensive technical expertise or knowledge) combining more conventional literary applications with forms of digital writing.