My research seeks to extend what we know about participatory, community-based knowledge-making, particularly in digital contexts. My dissertation project, Conventions of the Commons: Technical Communication and Crowdsourced Digital Publishing, traces the digital publishing history of the audiobook archive LibriVox.org, using ethnographic methods to investigate how old and new conventions of digitizing and sharing media have evolved over time in this online community. I find that as volunteers at LibriVox read and record public domain texts into digital audiobooks, they are also preserving certain modes of human culture in ways that afford near limitless re-distribution and re-use. Using the case of LibriVox, I emphasize the importance of decentralized, distributed models of media production and management for fostering crucial modes of ethical, resilient openness.
I have also studied interdisciplinary collaboration at Purdue. For the past two years, I have been a research assistant with Purdue Polytechnic Institute's large-scale course integration. This initiative connects three first-year courses—Fundamentals of Speech Communication (COM 114), Introductory Composition (ENGL 106), and Design Thinking and Technology (TECH 120). Working with administrators and instructors in all three disciplines, I have planned, led, and managed the ongoing iterative data collection and analysis of this study.
Much like the development of my own research, the technologies and principles that guide all 21st-century communication are also still works-in-process. Understanding the ways design technologies and theories of communication are still developing, still unsettled, is central to so much changing policy and emerging knowledge in academia and beyond. I want to continue exploring digital rhetorics, publishing and editing, usable/accessible design, professional writing, open source movements, the histories and futures of writing, and prepare for the multiple roles (as researcher, creator, participant, or teacher) I might take up in these ongoing processes.