The evolution of composition pedagogy from teachercentered instruction to writing workshop and successful practices in online courses has been dramatic (Gerard, 2006; Hawisher & Selfe,1998; Mahiri, 2004; Prensky, 2001). However, the teaching of writing often gets left out of discussions about online education even though English/writing teachers are rapidly increasing their use of Internet and computers to improve the communication and composing skills of their students at all levels (Vinall-Cox, 2005; Gerard, 2006; Doherty, 1994). Traditional composition pedagogy has been embedded with rigorous and parochial attention to classical forms. In their formal education, novice writers have been subjected to the archaic practices of rote memorization, strict grammatical exercises, and stringently subjective assessments of what is right and what is wrong with their composing skills.
Early classical education in this country gave little attention to how students would learn to write. Later, as the opportunity for education increased to include more students, and as schooling became a “right” instead of a “privilege,” the early beginnings of composition pedagogy allowed for the process of teacher-student communication through “…correction and revision to improve student composition” (Squire & Applebee, 1976, p. 25). As the wave of change inherent in this “new” approach to rhetoric has given way to new and more appropriate approaches to writing instruction, the development of the writing workshop introduced a more collaborative approach. In theorizing about learning to use language, Moffett (1983) points out that all communication requires human response. Thus “one cannot escape the ultimately social implications inherent in any use of language” (p. 191). Graves (1994) reminds us that “writing is a social act.” Writing should not be a “lonely process” (Ede, 1989) which requires an individual route to success.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Recursive Writing: Non-linear, “back tracking,” post-writing process of revision.
Digital Immigrants: Generation/people (of teachers, etc.) unaccustomed to computer technology.
Writing Process: Composing process including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and submitting (presenting/publishing).
Asynchronous Online Delivery: Classes, discussions, tutorials, etc. taking place independently and individually online.
Synchronous Online Delivery: Classes, discussions, tutorials, etc. taking place in real time; all participants are present (online) at the same time.
Digital Natives: Generation/people (of students) accustomed to computer technology.
Dialogic Classroom: Intertextuality of language and technology, constructionist, interactive classroom, critical reflection.
Digital Literacy: Ability, knowledge and use of computers and technology in communication and composition.