Can OWLs provide the "safe" spaces that we've tried to
create in walk-in centers?
Though many may welcome the computer as a tool and environment for new
and exciting kinds of work, others may face computers with a
heightened sense of risk. Consider the following:
Writing center practitioners have striven to create low-risk
environments which will encourage students to talk frankly about their
writing. That risk may increase, though, as various facets of a
writing center's services go on-line.
- As writers such as Lana F. Rakow ("Women and the Telephone,"
Technology and Women's Voices, Routlege, 1988) and Pamela
Takayoshi ("Building New Networks from the Old," Computers and
Composition, 11, April, 1994) have suggested, technology has often
been used to reinforce a woman's subordinate role or for harrassment.
- In order to avoid the harrassment that sometimes appears on-line,
a writing-center makes clear that all on-line discussions are being
recorded. If MOO and e-mail
exhanges can be monitored, if on-line discussions can be recorded, are
on-line sites really as playful for students as we hope? Will
students really feel as free with tutors on-line as they feel
- Employees with between 10 to 20 years of experience working on a production
floor find that they're about to be replaced by a computer-operated
robot. How will those people feel when encouraged to learn the
technology that threatens to replace them?
and . . .