Notes on Writing/ Coding/Programming

Coding and programming can be seen as different languages. Once they are learned they can be understood.  When they are not known they may seem foreign, strange, uncertain, and unrevealed. When it is revealed programming language becomes something that can be discussed among people who speak the same language.

Is coding, then, composition? I think so. In a composition class we can advocate students toward other disciples that they are interested in, such as those involved with programming and coding of computers. Composition helps gain an understanding of writing in general, depending on what you are writing. Scientists use rhetoric, engineers use rhetoric but they do not realize they are performing such tasks. Often people outside the realm of composition and rhetoric see themselves as performing specific tasks (for example, learning geography, manufacturing car parts). Most likely these persons are not aware of their capacity or what methods or means they use to create information and written texts.

Coders use rhetoric to perform actions, to create programs, similarly to teachers of composition. If coders’ programming is flawed, if their language is not written correctly, whatever they are creating will not perform the desired outcome. In much the same way, if a rhetor does not compose an argument in a persuasive way the writer will not gain the desired result from an audience. 


?uestions: Digital Humanities and Speculative Digital Rhetoric

Alexander Reid “Digital Humanities Now and the Possibilities of a Speculative Rhetoric”

He writes, “[human symbolic behavior] has always dealt with the problems and opportunities that nonhumans-technologies in particular- pose for communication. That is, rhetoric has always recognized that symbolic behavior cannot be simply human” (18).

What, then, is communication? Is a curb communication? Certainly, the curb says to the driver of the car, “Don’t drive on me,” the walker “Step over me.” So then is this considered non-verbal communication? If so, should it be expressed as non-verbal communication? Or do we consider all forms of communication? (Does it matter? I think so). Should we then be thinking of technology and our interpretation of technology as communication? Are the interworkings of our minds, then, a form of communication? But then what is the difference of a walking over a curb in the city or a small rock in nature? Does man-made or nature-made distinguish between technology? Is the rock technology? Am I asking too many questions?

Brooke Notes: Phelps, Louise “The Domain of Composition”

Phelps, Louise. “The Domain of Composition.” Rhetoric Review 4.2 Taylor & Francis, Ltd., 1986. 182-195. Print.


Phelps discusses how understanding composition in the classroom has moved from an individual perspective toward a discourse of composition which students and teachers interact in communion to understand composition, literacy, the acquisition of these skills, the process through which they develop, and the questions which continue to arise (the constraints and advantages). Furthermore she discusses how the domain of composition can only work within other fields of study or knowledge if the writer has a knowledge of the field and argues points of contest which other writers are also interested in.


written discourse, symbolic activity, performance, skill, literacy, teaching writing, development orientation, theory-praxis, “discourse about discourse”


Bruner, Jerome S. “Skill in Infancy.” Beyond the Information Given: Studies in the Psychology of Knowing. Ed. Jeremy M Anglin. New York: Norton, 1973. 239-308.

Laurer, Janice M. “Composition Studies: Dappled Discipline.” Rhetoric Review 3 (1984): 20-29.


“The writer’s thought, composed in the writing act and invested in the text, acquires fullness, actuality, and power to act on the world only through the cognitive contributions and responses of a reader. The text is a script for a thought process that readers enact in infinitely various ways to produce meaning; by itself it is only potentially meaningful. Yet readers, despite their own essential contributions, experience texts as authored, as expressions of human intentions and thus the locus of the meaning that readers construct” (184).

“As Lauer remarks, there is always the grave danger of outrunning our own capacities to assimilate the knowledge of other fields and bring it to bear on our own problems. We can only sample the information to begin with, and then we may not grasp the original context well enough to use it appropriately” (191).


Is there a distinction between learning how to compose text with learning how to compose oral arguments or persuasive methods? Or are they one in the same and are learned in tandem?

If we treat reading or writing as performance, would an individual rationalizing a theory or speaking rhetorically also be considered as performance?