Janet Wright Starner


Composition With Computers: Lehigh's Epiphany Project  


Table of Contents

Introduction: Tales from the Cyberclassroom
by Janet Wright Starner
While these essays vary in form and content, they share some common themes.  All the writers, at some point, discover that any sane incorporation of technology into a curriculum must be incremental.  And all are frank, honest, and generous in their sharing of successes and failures.  Each writer has attempted to critique his/her experience against the larger background of theory and other teachers’ experiences with the same or similar pedagogies. This hypertext collection is the story of a shared journey.

The Computer Conference: Asynchronous Writing
by Edward J. Gallagher
Gallagher’s electronic conference board represents an entry level use.  His essay is designed for the curious, the skeptical, the interested who want to know what it is, how it works, how it fits into our  program, what its advantages are in both practical and theoretical terms.

Making a "Claim with Support": The Potential Value of Using Computer-Assisted Research in the First-Year Composition Classroom
by Harold William Halbert
Halbert’s document problematizes the definition of "research," contrasting its conception as tool, shared by professional writers and academics, with that of first-year writing students who see it as "an end in and of itself, not a means of engaging oneself with an issue and forming a unique claim."

The Syllaweb in the On-line Composition Classroom
by  Sheila Bauer-Gatsos
In her essay, Bauer-Gatsos straightforwardly addresses one of the course’s critical issues: "like many readers, I do worry a bit about people who call computer-mediated composition the ‘Holy Grail’ of instruction."  Her case study concentrates on extending the boundaries of the traditional classroom by using the World Wide Web to enhance and supplement course work.

Synchronous Communication and the Writing Classroom
by Jennifer B. Goldfarb
Goldfarb highlights her experience using the Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment (DIWE) against the background of her initial anxieties.Her worries will sound familiar to any who have contemplated, or tried, teaching in a networked computer classroom.

Hypertext and Composition
by Tamara Kendig
Kendig’s paper explores the uses of hypertext. Her experience is particularly interesting because of the fear and resistance that "teaching" hypertext tends to evoke. This new writing space made possible by computers is, after all, the antithesis of the freshman essay: it isn't focused; its argument or narrative doesn't flow linearly; it doesn't have an obvious point. And yet, it is the very strangeness of reading and writing hypertext that makes it a valuable teaching tool.  Since it is in many ways the "negative" image of the kinds of compositions first-year writing courses hope to produce, it throws those products into sharp relief, providing an opposite against which its positive may be more clearly viewed by beginning writers.

Playing in the MUD
by John R.Woznicki
Multiple-user domains (MUDs) and their subsets, Multiple-use domains/Object Oriented (MOOs) are alternative sites for synchronous conversations in writing. Woznicki’s project will help readers’ understandings by categorizing--he places unfamiliar acronyms in spaces that are familiar: all MOOs are MUDS, but not all MUDS are MOOs. Introducing a fascinating line of thinking, Woznicki asserts that we ought to reconsider the concept of "play" in writing instruction.

Concluding thoughts ~ In Synch With Whom?: Rethinking "Authority" in the Networked Classroom
by Janet Wright Starner
Of all the many capabilities the computer can provide writing teachers, the networked environment is most revolutionary because it allows activities impossible in a traditional classroom. The hardwired connections between machines and the software that allows users to "talk" to each other simultaneously transform a room full of fancy typewriters into a startlingly new communication space. Synchronous writing spaces of all kinds have been embraced as valuable nearly all the time, and student interest, engagement, and work ethic are all taken as given. At the same time, any disasters teachers experience are silenced, explained away by circumstances, or discounted. And occasionally there is the ever so faint implication that any failures may, in fact, be blamed on the teacher herself...

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, email me at
starner@wilkes.edu or jwrightstarner@worldnet.att.net
URL: http://www.lehigh.edu/~ejg1/cwctoc.html ~ Updated: 5/98
Lehigh English Department