ENGL 824 Blog Entry #2 – Stine

Stine, Linda J. “Teaching Basic Writing In A Web-Enhanced Environment.” Journal Of Basic Writing 29.1 (2010): 33-55. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 29 May 2014.

Linda J. Stine claims that the affordances offered by a hybrid developmental writing course make such courses a better option than either online-only courses or face-to-face courses and that such courses encourage development of reading and writing skills more than do face-to-face courses, which develop speaking and aural skills. Her goal in writing is review online learning lore, question that lore, and discussing the need for further research, Stine explores these three question issues: 1) how the teaching role is changed, 2) appropriate assignments, and 3) tools/methods to encourage self-reflection. Stine claims that these issues are important because they help us knowledgably adopt, adapt, and reject practices. In order to define goals, values, instructional methods, and learning situations we must consider the following issues: students’ technical skills and access; how to talk and when talking takes place; when and how to respond (students expect instant gratification, which can make the student teacher bond hard to establish or maintain); where to respond on electronically submitted assignments (Stine’s students prefer oral feedback); how to facilitate feedback for peer review (Stine suggests allowing students to decide whether to use Skype, phones, or track changes); and when, where, and how to structure components. In designing the learning experience, we need to pay close attention to the “Five I’s” (interaction, introspection, innovation, integration, and information) and to what she refers to as the Octoplus (connect, reflect, share, learn, practice, personalize, experiment, and apply). Stine explains considerations that need to be in developing web-enhanced courses, and she describes research that needs to be done in each area, such as research into how non-text based composition should be incorporated into developmental writing classes. She describes the affordances and constraints of several basic tools: chatrooms (for engagement) wikis (useful for peer review), and blogs (safe spaces for exploring learning). She provides an in-depth analysis of the value of discussion forums for working through stages of the learning process and fostering communication and engagement. Stine concludes by reiterating that the hybrid class is the most effective structure, but solely online courses can also be beneficial if they are well planned and if more research is done to explore what makes online only classes successful.

Before I read the article, I expected that there would be more discussion of how both the online and the in-person elements of a hybrid class work together. (It seems she’s written other articles addressing this issue in more depth.) Because the article focuses on online tools and how they can aid learning and help build community, I came to the conclusion that Stine’s target audience are those stakeholders who may not be familiar with the benefits of online tools. For those of us familiar with online teaching tools and methods, Stine is [preaching to the choir a bit. The article is still valuable for anyone interested in teaching developmental writing in a hybrid or online-online course, as it analyzes tools we often use and identifies problems adult basic writers might have with those tools.

One thought on “ENGL 824 Blog Entry #2 – Stine

  1. Since I teach basic writing, I was initially excited to see this blog entry and hoped it might give me ideas I could use in my own teaching. However, while it sounds like Stine is giving a reasonable checklist of things to consider when adapting a writing class to an online or hybrid environment, I couldn’t help wondering in what way her remarks are more applicable to basic writing than to any other type of first year composition. I probably will still look at the article, but I won’t get my hopes up.

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