The Fifth C: Computers, Special Interest Group Session, CCCC 1997

Sponsored by the CCCC Committee on Computers in Composition andCommunication

Co Chairs:

Eric Crump, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Judi Kirkpatrick, Kapi'olani Community College, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Traci Gardner, The Daedalus Group, Austin, Texas

[1995, Washington][1996, Milwaukee] [1997,Phoenix] [1998, Chicago]

Session Report for the 1997 SIG

All the responses from folks at the 5th C SIG meeting are dividedbased on the reports of the discussion groups which met in Phoenix.

traci gardner

Group One: How do we define teaching at a distance? What should be accept as a reasonable "teaching at a distance" paradigm? Are there substantive differences between distance education which includes students spread across a state or region and students who log on and participate from their dorm rooms on campus?
What constitutes distance ed?
Telecourses (TV courses, fiber optics), correspondence courses, online courses,tutoring.
distance between the teacher and students in face-to-face.
What leads to distance ed?
Economics, rural situations, access issues, strategic connections between cooperating institutions, K12 and post-secondary linkages, weather.
More students per instructor
Preparation time and course release
Need for distance ed should govern who can take the course. Dorm is not usually distance.
Campus politics --> might think fewer teachers are needed
Reproduce "push technology" model over interactive model
Group Two: How are issues of promotion, tenure, and academic recognition affected by teaching at a distance? Are standard measures "one size fits all"? Can we ask the same questions about teaching excellence for distance and classroom-based teaching? For instance, are students who never see the teacher going to answer questions about the teacher's concern for the individual student in the same ways that students in a traditional classroom-based environment answer that question? How does peer review and class observation change when there is no classroom to observe -- only transcripts to read? What can we (what should we) accept as reasonable evaluation of the work we do when teaching at a distance?
Group Three: How do we counter the arguments of economics, or what do we do when distance education decisions are based on untrue assumptions about the teaching load and the interaction with students when those students are not physically present? What are the misconceptions someone unfamiliar with the student-teacher interaction typical of writing instruction or with the workload required for teaching with computers is likely to make? At its most basic, how do we answer the administrator who cackles with glee about the development of distance classes because now the school can teach twice as many students online for half the cost?
Group Four: What useful analogies can we draw between traditional classroom-based teaching and distance teaching? Are there things we should compare? things we shouldn't? And how do these analogies affect the way we think about, construct, and evaluate teaching at a distance? How does teaching (and learning) at a distance reshape, redefine, revolutionize what we think of as the university?


Group Five: How do you handle the special challenges of teaching at a distance? How is teaching affected by students you never see? How do you maintain control when you can never raise your voice or ask everyone to focus on one topic? What special strategies do we need to foster in students to help them succeed in this setting? What coping strategies can help with the geographically decentered classroom?
  1. Different ways of delivery -- Distance Learning and how to combine them?
  2. Plagiarism issue very important. Cheating is seen as easy by outsiders. We need to handle this by knowing more about our students' writing abilities. Simple solutions: draft submissions
  3. Class size -- changes our relationship with our students and our abilities to teach effectively
  4. How to instruct the tentative student? Tone issues and miscommunication.
  5. Cultural communication issues as well (in our community, etc.) Especially in translocal classes
  6. Ripe situation for exploitation