CCCC 2001 in Review: Research Network Forum Preconvention Workshop

Lynn S. Bloom presented "The Essayist in and behind the Essay: Vested Writers, Invested Readers."

Continuing her work on the history of the anthologized essay, Bloom identified a "top tier" of twenty essays that are reprinted in great number, and posed the question "What makes the top tier of essays different from the others?" Foreshadowing Ralph Cintron's words in the "Getting Your Paper in 3C's" session, Bloom hypothesizes that the success of these essays depends in large part on the constructed persona of the essayist. Today's college students consequently find an "author saturated" text more compelling than an author-evacuated text. Author-saturated texts, moreover, can enhance the learning of the writing process by showing students that an essay isn't "some piece in their textbook" but rather, something written by a real person who cared about the subject enough to write about it.

Charles Moran presented "Research in Online Learning: A History and Notes Toward a Future."

Moran stepped back and gave a brief overview of the history of technology and the rhet/comp discipline, describing such popular essay topics from the 70's, 80's and 90's as "word-processing to improve student spelling," "the computer and revising behaviors" and "automated grading/analysis of essays." He noted that a strand of these essays tends to favor a Utopian view that technology has the potential to solve a majority of student writing problems. In addition, Moran examined future directions for research, including the technological literacies students bring to the writing classroom, the use of graphics, whether technology brings first year writing closer to professional writing and how students raised on technology read and write differently. He closed with a thought provoking prediction regarding online learning, suggesting that in the future, higher education would be "in person for those who could afford it and online for the rest." [SV]

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