"DIGITAL SPECTRUM: Multimedia Essays & Projects from the First Year" was created in fall 2013 at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY by Carmen Kynard's freshman composition classes. The goal was to collect the digital writings and projects of first year college students. In Spring 2014, the journal expanded with a group of founding editors, all of whom were students who had just completed their first year of college at John Jay: Luc Pitre, Christina Tsetsakos, Stephanie Velasquez, Denice Vidals, and Nicole Vitrit.
The first year of college often overflows (as it should) with new ideas and new ways of thinking about writing. In the 21st century, digital composing is a vital part of that conversation if not the most vital part. The digital stories and projects collected here are meant to serve as models and points of discussion in first year writing classes to help writers think more deeply about digital writing in our current context.
We publish in January and June of each year and accept submissions on a rolling basis. We are a peer-reviewed journal which means that multiple readers from the peer review staff look at and work with a submission. At the end of a fall and spring semester, new works appear at the site. We will continually evolve and span the whole digital spectrum as we archive ourselves as digital writers and thinkers.
Contrary to what many people may say, first year college writers have important intellectual, social, and political contributions to make and are not mere passive vessels waiting for the imprint of their professors' rules and formulas for writing. We celebrate and salute that energy here. Please read the submission guidelines for more information.
Annual, national, peer-reviewed journals (with students doing editorial and peer review work) dedicated to the publication of undergraduate student research have become more prevalent. The purpose of such journals is to both foster the scholarly efforts of undergraduate students and reward that work at the same time. The increased opportunities for undergraduates to publish in national venues are now part of the overall educational experience.
Undergraduate journals provide valuable learning experiences for college students by offering them a glimpse into graduate-level work as well as a public research and writing culture. Knowledge and research are translated into experience for both student writers and student editors with undergraduate journals.
Creative venues have often existed for undergraduate publications; the new trend in undergraduate publishing, however, also opens opportunities for research and non-fiction publication. Our journal, DIGITAL SPECTRUM, is connected to these larger movements in undergraduate research publishing, but we are also capitalizing on the conversations that are happening in relation to open access publishing as well as multimedia textual production. Because first year college writers are introduced to intensive politics and processes of academic, professional, and/or or public writing, this is the perfect time and place to add new voices and perspectives.