Re: Digital Learning Communities

Nick Carbone (nickc@MARLBORO.EDU)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 10:21:47 -0400

The electronic plantation metaphor came from an essay I saw in
_UTNE Reader_ about three or four years ago. In it, the writer, whose
name I can't remember, talked about the kind of data entry job he had
answering telephones. The work was constant, low-paying,
sit-in-a-cubicle, subject to unannounced eaves-dropping by a supervisor,
quota-driven (stress inducing) performance standards for low respect and pay.

Sorry I can't be more specific. Though electronic plantation was
in the title, so it should be easy to data base access. You might also
want to look at a recent _Harper's_ from some time this summer wherein
the author described the well-paying work he did writing for CD-ROM and
other multi-media outfits in Seattle, Wash., but how demoralizing the
work was because the writer was the low person on the totem pole and was
required to write nothing sustained, just impersonal, mostly descriptive
snippets that could be plugged into the multi-media array as needed.
Something to code to and from; he had to write without a sense or
participation in the whole.

Coming off last night's Tuesday Cafe, he was part of a team, but
not so much as collaborator as sub-contractor, working *for* much more
than *with.*

Nick Carbone, Writing Instructor
Marlboro College
Marlboro, VT 05344