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ERIC Number: EJ1072290
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7502
The Virtual Workplace Ethnography: Positioning Student Writers as Knowledge Makers
Sommers, Jeff
Composition Forum, v32 Fall 2015
The Virtual Workplace Ethnography is a first-year composition assignment that positions students as knowledge makers by requiring them to apply a theoretical lens ("Working Knowledge") to a video representation of a workplace. The lens provides multiple terms for analysis of workplace behaviors in context, providing a scaffolding for apprentice ethnographers that allows them to take an informed stance on their research. The "virtual" aspect addresses the complex ethical issues raised by ethnography by substituting a fictitious setting for an actual site. The essay explores the challenges of the assignment, offering examples of student texts and student metacommentaries on the work. The essay argues that this assignment addresses longstanding concerns about the challenges of making meaningful writing assignments in FYC and concludes by exploring the potential of the assignment in distance education.
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A