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DMAC After Dark: Toward a Theory of Distributed Invention

, Associate Professor of English, Baylor University, Department of English ; , Lecturer in English, Baylor University, Department of English

Computers and Composition Volume 36, Number 1, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This essay outlines the concept of “distributed invention” (DI), an idea stemming from our experiences at the Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC) when we roomed together and worked on projects “after dark” late into the night. Specifically, we argue that proximal composing, or composing near another person, helps facilitate distributed invention, which we define as a process involving two or more people engaging in idea-generating activities together and where, through negotiation, ideas become mutually appropriated. We describe how DI developed during DMAC and we outline the principles of DI. We also explain how we applied DI to our teaching, our department, and our institution after returning home. We conclude with recommendations for how teachers can implement DI principles into their classrooms. Our findings are significant for understanding possibilities of invention, feedback, and collaboration in print and digital composing environments and in structuring student learning.


Alexander, K.P. & Williams, D.M. (2015). DMAC After Dark: Toward a Theory of Distributed Invention. Computers and Composition, 36(1), 32-43. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved June 6, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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