Green Squiggly Lines:

Integrating Micro- and Macro-Levels of Response: The Place for Student Voices?

Given the ubiquity of Microsoft Word, the real question becomes how can we develop pedagogies that allow students the right to their own texts-their own language-within composing environments that come with pre-established standards. Work in electronic portfolios suggests ways in which writing assessment in computer-mediated environments will have to change toward communicative- and context-based evaluations on the macro-level. But how do we teach what Pat Bizzell (2000, 1999, 1997) has called hybrid discourses when students are being corrected as their language spills out onto the screen? When and where will students be given a chance to write like Victor Villanueva in Bootstraps (1993)?

Are our systems of reading, responding to, and evaluating student work in electronic portfolios doomed to reproduce current-traditionalist models of writing instruction when students are already receiving detailed feedback on their sentences from their word processing software? Turning Microsoft Word's grammar checker off is one option; customizing the grammar checker is another. But neither one of these solutions addresses the underlying problem: advances in word processing software have already internalized a vision of writing effectiveness as writing "correctly." In the near future, writing teachers will inherit a generation of students who already know how to fix the "menial" problems with their language-simply look for the green squiggly line and right click. Done. And, we-writing teachers and students-will be free to concentrate on what Hunter Berland (1996) has called "the more important aspects" of writing instruction.