Blogs2, Comp for CS, at Computers & Writing 2009

Composition for the Unlikely: Nicole Anderson, Winona State U

CS dept pop
lots of you have students who are skilled and interested in writing.
My students are better at these technologies than I am. One of the things they are not motivated to do on their own is writing.

Writing flag courses, reinforce writing with discipline-specific texts, tools, and strategies.

CS has some unique issues:
CS students struggle with clear and concise written and verbal comm
CS has severally underrepresented populations, including women, minorities, and students with disabilities

Goals:
facilitate growth in writing skills
increased interest in written comm
engage all populations in this effort
Provide the students with an additional aud
allow the world a window into our course
Have the students enjoy the processes so that they will take more from it.

Underrepresented pops are often behind because male students are gaming guys and have been on computers all the time. The underrepresented are unsure of their place, since they don’t have the same experiences.

In a branch campus, so immigrants, older women, pt and tt.

Teaching writing on a blog?
No. The course integrates the creation of tech doc. (“courses integrates”)

Guidelines;
blog has many authors, all are peers
possible contributions include:
meta writing – discussion of tech doc in progress
summary of learning/notes and reflections from course lectures
questions– I wasn’t the only one answering the questions. The students often were responding and giving unique perspectives.
other related materials and resources

Number of message posts per student:
All students 43.7
Women 77.0 (This was not the effect within the f2f classroom.)
students with disabilities 44.8
minorities 41.3

Shyest student I have ever had… uncomfortable to introduce self… She was at about 44 posts.

Locations of blog visitors:
North America 1517
South America 62
Europe 459
Australia 54
Asia 530
Africa 48

This was motivating. They were writing something that people actually cared about.

Audiences
Statistically more readers who were not part of class.
Member of the Google team responded
Database management person responded

Feedback
great to encourage indep research and prblem solving
allows us to depend on peers
good way to get different opinions and/or ideas
strong collaborative community
No one commented on writing. Usually I hear complaints on writing. They were doing beyond what I asked and they didn’t complain.

Other hand
Miscommunication due to cultural differences and language skills
Attempting to replaces f2f comm
Harsher language used in online communication
Note: This is something that I really need to remember to discuss. This is ubiquitous on the net.

Future
Expanding the blog into online collaborative community
using requirements analysis process to identify correct match for students’ needs
Other tech improvements, ex built in mechanisms for id’d needs such as seeking and corralling posts (Schreyer and Mangini)
Possibly hard to navigate.
Creating a layer on top of blogger by communicating with it programmatically.

Integration of writing tools for improving writing skills into the tech
What would be most beneficial?
simple: spell check
complex: peer review system

Feedback from you guys on this aspect. What would be useful?

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