Print

Print


Dear LRNASSTers,
 
        Jacqui Hill and now a couple of other people have requested information
about how some of us are using internet with our students.  Since there have
been a couple of requests, I am posting this to the listserv in the hopes that
others will share their experiences and thoughts.  I trust I have observed
proper netiquette in doing so.
 
        Sheila Nicholson
        [log in to unmask]
 
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 
Jacqui and interested others,
 
        Under Dave Caverly's tutelage (he's our resident internet guru), I
initiated a booktalk project via e-mail last semester and continued it this
semester.  My developmental reading students read two books (Maya Angelo'Us _I
Know Why the Caged Bird Sings_ and Gary Sot'Us _Living Up the Street_) and
discussed them via e-mail with students at two other institutions, Tricity
Tricounty Technical College in Pendleton, South Carolina and Nova University in
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
        Two benefits seem to have emerged from this e-mail correspondence:
 
        1.  Students write more, write better, and respond from a more
aesthetic stance (Rosenblatt, 1979) when corresponding with a booktalk buddy at
a distant university.  I believe both e-mail and thedistant peer reader may
account for this.  This benefit is evident when I compare student responses on
paper to e-mail responses and when I compare student responses to me with
student responses to the distant buddy.
 
        2.  Students struggle to learn to use e-mail but they do learn to use
it.  Many of my students often give up in the face of difficult tasks and say
they hate computers, but I have yet to have a student who has been unwilling
to keep trying to master the computer so s/he can do e-mail.  And, most of my
students have developed their expertise to the point that they correspond with
students outside of my class and the university.
 
Because of these experiences with my students, I have come to believe that the
internet can provide a forum for engaging developmental students (anyone, for
that matter) in the kinds of academic discourse that we, as teachers, cherish.
Gaining expertise in accessing information, in communicating ideas, and
receiving feedback is an empowering experience for all of us, but especially so
for those who have not been privy to or been successful in these endeavors
previously.