Green Squiggly Lines:
Writing Assessment in Computer-Mediated Composition
One can trace the development of Sirc's ideas about synchronous discussion and the reading, responding to, and evaluating of student texts back to an exchange between him and David Bartholomae (1993) in Bartholomae's "'I'm Talking about Allan Bloom.'" Sirc recognized the potential of synchronous communication to "fracture open the class, allowing me to see deeper into my students and my curriculum, and [to] make it very difficult to go about business as usual" (Bartholomae 1993 p. 247). What is interesting about Sirc's insight is that it occurs within a discussion of how he intended to use ENFI as part of a traditional peer-editing and revision process. Sirc writes,
I thought I would be able to use the network as a peer-conference medium, one that would allow (encourage?) students to articulate fully their comments on each other's drafts, save a transcript of those comments, and then let them use the hardcopy of that transcript to guide their revision. This plan devolved almost immediately. Students rarely wanted to stay fully on-task and discuss each other's writing, and they rarely used the commentary they got when (rather, if) they revised. But what they were doing turned out to be vastly more interesting to me than whether or not they completed the full cycle of what I felt should be the drafting process. And it was then that the true value of ENFI was made manifest-it showed me that there's more going on in a writing class than I could have ever dreamed. (Bartholomae pp. 246-247)
Sirc's move here indicates
a move away from teacher-centered discourse-and perhaps more significantly-away
from teacher-centered evaluations toward something "vastly more interesting"
than an academic writing, revising, and evaluating process.