By Jason Swarts
A textual replay is closely related to the “instant replay,” although instead of recording and replaying a sports event, textual replays capture and replay online writing activity. Textual replay is a term to describe the product of a screen capture program that takes multiple, successive screen shots of onscreen writing activity and splices them together as a digital movie, played back in a way that approximates the writing performance. (p.61)
Swarts used Camtasia, but makes clear that one could use other technologies to enact the technique and enable
a different kind of writer-reviewer interaction that moves more easily between practice- and artifact-oriented views, while providing perceptual and representational evidence to which review participants can attach their explanations. It will also create a surface on which writers and reviewers can work jointly, so that the reviewer’s experience can guide the writer’s practice at the moment of performance as well as after. (p.61)
In sessions using this technique, writers and reviewers seemed to learn from each other – more so than in sessions that didn’t involve the technique (p.123). In particular, writers were able to exert more control in the textual replay sessions (p.128), the writers and reviewers coordinated more, and their coordination involved more attention to constraining rhetorical circumstances (p.134).
In the last chapter, Swarts tells us that “Textual replay does not exist, at least not yet. … Textual replay is an idea for a technology that would provide useful mediation for writing review by allowing presentation of the text as a particle and stream of writing activity” (p.145).
And at this point, I placed a sticky note in the margin with the word WAVE on it.
Textual replay is a technique waiting on a technology, and technologies such as Google Wave can easily surface how documents evolve while accommodating writers’ and reviewers’ notes on them. The technology has perhaps caught up to the technique.