Green Squiggly Lines:

Microsoft Word: Computers as Readers

In their study of twelve expert teacher-scholars reading student essays, Richard Straub and Ronald F. Lunsford (1995) argue that

all teachers' responses are somehow evaluative, and all teachers' responses are somehow directive. When they respond, teachers indicate what's working (if only by their silence) and what's not working in the text. They also indicate, however, implicitly or explicitly, what can be done to improve the writing. Given the power relations that adhere between teachers and students in the classroom, any responses will take on the sense of evaluations and directives. (p. 191)

Straub and Lunsford's point is well taken: whenever we comment on student writing, our comments are read as evaluations and as directions by the students. The question of evaluation and directive commentary changes, however, when students are receiving near instantaneous feedback from their software. How do students respond to the grammar checking features of Microsoft Word 97 and 2000?