“Technology” is a word that can go one of two ways in academia. It can be a buzz word that gets lots of attention, or it can be totally taken for granted. My goals in any writing course are to avoid either extreme: to help students become aware of technology in their lives as it already functions-as a tool, a vehicle for literacy, a delivery system, and to help students develop a rhetorically sophisticated stance toward technology as a means to accomplishing their own purposes-in academia, in their personal discourse communities, and in the broader civic community.
Technology in class:
I incorporate digital technologies in class as a normal function of our day-to-day operations. This holds true for face-to-face, as well as online courses. My goal as a teacher is that in each class session, every student has the opportunity to read something, write something and say something. To achieve this goal, I use technology in three distinct ways:
- Delivery–using multimedia presentation tools (such as prezi, power point, and videos) can help engage readers of various learning styles.
- Practice–students use technology to practice with concepts we discuss, individually and in small groups, and this takes place whether or not we meet in a “computer classroom;” crowd-sourcing-technologies–like students’ smart phones used to analyze websites and conduct impromptu source searches–allows the whole class to benefit from the proliferation of personal devices.
- Collaboration–students can work together on tasks, such as peer review and group projects, using collaborative software such as Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive.
Technology in communication:
- Using course management systems (such as Blackboard) is almost taken for granted as a means of communicating with students, but I have found it can be used more or less effectively. Consistent use of institutional platforms to communicate with my students allows them to more quickly adapt to the flow of our class, as well as giving students who are still grappling with common university technologies a “home base” for practicing their skills.
- Our class web pages serve as another way students can interact with course content and each others’ work.
- Intro videos help students navigate new assignments and new classroom contexts (such as having peer mentors in class) in a way that delivers basic information in a format that can be viewed multiple times as necessary.
Technology in composition:
- Writing to Learn: students engage in many digitally mediated assignments–like reading response blogs and Pinterest Familiar Genre Repository and Pinterest Visual Argument boards–that are designed to help them grapple with course concepts.
- Learning to Write: students navigate platforms–like Google Drive and WordPress–to participate in the composing process in its multiple steps, such as brainstorming, drafting, giving and receiving feedback and revising.
- Writing to Display: students analyze choose rhetorically appropriate genres and modalities to accomplish their purposes in various assignments; they also contribute to our Collaborative Mapping Project, which displays discourse communities students are researching, and they’ll create Digital Portfolios at the end of each semester.
*note: below you can find links to some of the assignments mentioned above