The example of writing in a different mode that is coming fastest to my mind this morning is when I once wrote a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story on a website. This was self-taught. Creating an diverging plot with multiple options was challenging but fun. But I think it would have been easier if I could have used something like Twine. I basically had to use Word documents and then convert it to their online platform. But the way I wrote the story, formatted it, and had to connect the different parts together was different than anything I had ever worked on before.
But I should probably give an example from teaching or studies as well. I also had to learn to write in a different mode when using Plickers. It’s an application that you can use to interact with students in class and do a quick survey by having them hold up cards and scanning the cards with your phone. The student responses from the cards are then gathered, and you can see results on the website. Learning to use and write for Plickers was a bit of a challenge at first, and I still don’t use it as often as I would like. I had some direction from other faculty on how to use it, but mostly I taught myself.
Learning about genre/medium-specific rhetorical practices is a great way to adapt and challenge one’s writing skills. Students should be more exposed to it, because I think one of the greatest problems with some of my college students is that they are stuck in a mindset of there only being one way to write (and sadly the one way they tend to use is not very effective in practically any context). They don’t think enough about audience or purpose.
Both of my above experiences have shown me a lot about writing and the way it should change depending on the situation it is being used in. I want my students to have the same understanding.