CCCC 2004: Review
Review: E 5 Teaching with Technology: Designing, Using, Accessing, and Revising Technological Literacy Modules to Enhance Student Learning in the Writing Classroom
Reviewed by: Will Hochman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: April 7, 2004
Chair Sibylle Gruber
As Sybylle Gruber presented “Assessing the Value of Technological
Literacy: Changing Perspectives,” I wondered how writing programs will
help to prepare students for twenty first century literacy?
Gruber began with the CCCC position statement (“grand goals”) and how
this position fits into the one, 4credit Critical Reading and Writing
in the University Community class (English 105) the presenters teach at
the University of Northern Arizona. In addition to the traditional
goals, functional technological literacy is an integral goal of the
course. Word processing, email, collaborative online discussion web
research, multi media presentation and development of a class web site
were specific elements of the goals of technological literacy in
English 105. There was a complete curriculum revision that included
large scale, program wide uses of technology and student self
assessment of technology skills. Self-assessment did not provide
notable change between incoming expectations and outgoing impressions.
Teacher surveys, student surveys, training workshops, teacher
reflection, and computer module development were used for program-wide
assessment. In the second year the focus moved to how teaching of
technological skills works moves from functional to critical thinking.
Self paced modules from getting started with computers to PowerPoint
and Web Page development. Gruber made it clear that the class was a
starting point in developing literacy skills. Her work is impressive,
though nascent. It was clear that the course is not yet achieving
thorough technological and traditional literacy competency, but what FY
course in the world would make that claim? Gruber’s work is a solid,
early step toward changing FY courses so that they help college writers
use technology more intelligently.
Nancy Barron presented “Advocating Technological Literacy in Writing
Courses: Institutional Support.” She discussed English 305w Writing in
Disciplinary Communities (w=writing intensive) which is intended as WAC
course at the University of Northern Arizona. The course if offered
online in WebCT in 10weeks, and for on campus students in 15 weeks.
Although it’s the same course, as a teacher, Barron said she teaches
two different courses. The technology goals are the same as English
105, but the student population online tends to be older, returning
students, and the on campus course has a younger student population.
Reading and comprehension of text, grammar/sentence structure
(“sentence control”) and document design are the three layers of the
course instruction. The course’s learning outcomes address two
audiences—disciplinary and non-disciplinary. Barron found that students
will self evaluate highly and she also noted that the younger the
student, the higher the evaluation. Online, older students tend to
self-evaluate more conservatively, but Barron is finding that her
survey differences may vary according to age and context of the class.
Though she did not address varying levels of tech support at different
institutions, Barron advised teachers to not get involved with the
technical aspects of the course online because her students are
supported with an 800 help line. Barron advocated for the use of
written lectures online in addition to online discussion (writing seems
to improve with the number of lengthy posts).
As our FY courses develop to further meet the needs of students, it’s
inevitable that we will find ways to integrate technology instruction
into writing instruction. Both Gruber and Baron are blazing a trail
that many of us will follow.
Peter Wagner (also a colleague at Northern Arizona University did not
present “Implementing Technological Literacy: From Functional to
Critical” but his work was recognized as part of the presentations by
Gruber and Barron.