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Teaching and Learning in a Networked Composition Classroom Essay

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Teaching and Learning in a Networked Composition Classroom

In her essay “Technology and Literacy: A Story about the Perils of Not Paying Attention,” Cynthia L. Selfe notes that “technology is either boring or frightening to most humanists; many teachers of English composition feel it antithetical to their primary concerns and many believe it should not be allowed to take up valuable scholarly time or the attention that could be best put to use in teaching or the study of literacy” (Self 412). Looking around campus it takes little time to verify Selfe’s caution about indifference to computers: except in its uses as “a simple tool that individual faculty members can use or ignore in their classrooms as they choose” (Self 414), computer use has been, and for the most part still is, nascent within the humanities. As computers increasingly become an irreplaceable part of daily life in modern culture, however, more and more instructors attempt to carry out the task of incorporating technology into the pedagogical techniques of their disciplines. Over the past four months I’ve had the invaluable opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at one particular attempt to integrate computers and writing instruction. In Dr. Will Hochman’s English 101-43 (SP 2003) classroom I’ve learned much about both the process and underlying philosophies involved in making computers a productive classroom tool.

In particular, I’ve learned the basic truth that, despite the potential boost offered by technology, simply having computers in the room with students is not enough to produce a positive impact on the educational experience. One of the most significant reasons why this is the case, I'd argue, is that Selfe’s observation about faculty might...


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...cw/database/essays/cccc94.kemp.html> 19 Aug. 2002.

Negroponte, Nicholas. “Bits and Adams.” Being Digital.
<http://archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/nn/ch01c01.htm 9 April 2003.

Ong, Walter. “Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought.” Literacy: A Critical
Sourcebook. ed. Ellen Cushman, Eugene R. Kintgen, Barry M. Kroll, and Mike Rose.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001.

Oppenheimer, Todd. “The Computer Delusion.” The Atlantic Online. 7/1997.
<http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/97jul/computer.htm> 14 April 2003.

Rich, Adrienne. “When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision.” Ways of Reading: An
Anthology for Writers. Ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Boston: Bedford/
St. Martin's, 2002.

Selfe, Cynthia L. “Technology and Literacy: A Story about the Perils of Not Paying
Attention.” CCC. 50.3: (1999), 411-428.


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