From its beginning, the Computers and Writing Conference has focused on the connection between standard (and sometimes not so standard) composition theory and the use of computers in a composition classroom. However, in the last few years, the conference has expanded to include work dealing with technical writing instruction, the instruction of literature through use of the computer, and innovative uses of the computer in other fields that impact English study (e.g. Web page assignments in American Studies programs; using 3-D computer modeling to help children understand mathematical concepts through visual storytelling; the construction of electronic monuments in American Culture classes combining work in architecture, music theory, English literature, and basic film theory and criticism).
I teach English at the University of Central Florida (Orlando; yes, the home of The Mouse. If you're interested, take a peek). Most of my courses at UCF focus on technical writing, but I also teach a variety of classes that intermix the study of creative writing and narrative theory. Due to my professional interests, I tended to avoid presentations concerning the direct application of computers in the composition classroom, and instead looked for presentations aimed at technical writing instruction and the interdisciplinary use of computers to help teach literature and creative writing. As with any conference, there were many things going on at the same time, and I was able to attend only a small portion of the conference. For a full listing of the conference proceedings (and a view of some presentation abstracts and some of the presenters themselves), you should futher explore the Computers and Writing Conference Web site. For a short review of some of the conference presentations, and my comments on the (somewhat depressing) theme that seemed to underlie many of the conference presentations and discussions, stick with me a while longer.
It's important to note that my approach to this report is consistent with the "perspectives" emphasis discussed in Corey Wick's Logging On editorial. While at the conference, I didn't think of myself as a "reporter" in the traditional sense, although I did take fairly extensive notes during each presentation (upon which I base my reports). I do not claim to have recorded "just the facts." Instead, I emphasize that this is my interpretation of the events and activities of C and W 12. If your perspective differs from mine, please do let me know what you think by sending me e-mail or by sending a note to the editors ofKairos.
Now, on to the rest of my comments.
©David Gillette, 1996