A RhetNet SnapShot Repl
I am just on the verge of teaching my first class in a networked lab, and I'm excited about the same idea - it makes writing real for once. My own experience with email has taught me that I write much more "honestly" in that I'm really engaging with p eople's ideas and my own response to them. It's a real communication situation. When I write for publication, it's a bit of a fantasy, like playing tennis against a backboard. Now there's someone to hit the ball back, and not necessarily in the artificial , limited ways we writing teachers normally hit it back. I do wonder about the need for a "real" essay, however. My students will need to go on and write "formal" essays for courses, and there is value in being able to write a clear explanation or analysi s of something in a more public, "formal" way than what email letters tend to produce. I think I'll still blend the two in my class, probably using the email discussions as springboards for a few pieces of polished writing (which will then be posted on a class intranet for discussion and evaluation, so the conversation will continue). Thanks for the encouragement to try something completely different - it's a relief to hear someone else talk about the unreality of our usual mode of teaching writing. May I use your "snapshot" on a web page I'm setting up for teachers on my campus?