Green Squiggly Lines:

Giving Up "'Uneducated' Ways To Become Scholars Like Us"

Marilyn Cooper and Cynthia Selfe (1990) have observed that as teachers we all too often "simply assume that students come to college eager to give up their 'uneducated' ways in order to become scholars like us" (p. 850). This initiation model-that is, students are introduced to academic discourse in first-year composition-is encouraged by "the traditional forums in our classes," where "the traditional hegemony of teacher-student relationships" is "supported by the evaluative power of grades and the ideology of the educational institution" (p. 850). Cooper and Selfe are troubled by the fact that the teacher-student relationship fostered through traditional face-to-face classrooms and the ever present evaluative power of grades guarantees "that most of our students respond as we ask them to" (p. 850). That is, the methods of using writing to learn as well as the criteria for evaluating the writing and learning are controlled not by the potentially collaborative computer-based writing technologies that have become available to us but rather by the institutional structure and needs of standardized higher education. While teachers working in computer-mediated writing environments incorporate collaborative learning methods in their pedagogies (e.g., Carol Winkelmann, 1995), the criteria for evaluation remain the property of the classroom teacher.