Epiphany Summer Institutes
In addition to whole group and small group sessions, the Richmond Institute offered concurrent
sessions, featuring individual and panel presentations on pedagogy and technology. Some of
these sessions offered specific, hands-on training on popular writing software packages as well.
Demonstration and discussion of DIWE for the Macintosh, with Trent Batson and
Hickey, followed by roundtable discussion with Batson regarding the pedagogical uses of
networked real-time discussions and its differences from oral communication in the
Basics of html and web-page design, with an emphasis on academic sites: syllawebs, course
pages, departmental pages.
This session dealt with the use of software packages to create a more dynamic and interactive
environment for students in the classroom. Software packages such as Guide,
and StorySpace can be used to develop presentations that allow instructors to
questions and answers from the class discussion into a computer to be displayed, stored and
printed for the students. Replacing whiteboards and overhead projectors with computer displays
adds flexibility and portability, as well as keeping a permanent record of classroom interactions.
For students entering teaching or business careers, learning presentation software and techniques
can be as important as writing instruction.
A roundtable discussion of theoretical intersections in, among, and around the use of computers
to teach composition. Discussion of ways to theorize online interaction and issues of teacherly
authority and power in computer classrooms, as well as ways to respond to computer-based
writing and research.
Newsgroups and Web-based Asynchronous Work
Presenters explained benefits of using Newsgroups, email and listservs for students to interact
outside the classroom with the instructor and each other. Newsgroups allow students access to
postings that are stored on the central server, rather than in their own mailboxes. Posting can take
some time to arrive, however, and workshop participants waited 15 minutes to see their own
responses posted. Some universities do not allow teachers to open private newsgroups. The
presenters also discussed the limited use of public newsgroups as secondary research sources.
This session covered uses of existing communications technology for in-class and out-of-class
interaction and collaboration, including ways to use email to simulate more sophisticated
electronic learning environments, and ways of using listservs to stimulate student response and
Whole group demonstration, followed by hands-on work in a computer lab with Norton
Connect and Guide Author/Guide Viewer as used to teach American
VCU. Participants read a short story and held a brief discussion of the story, using online
materials created with Guide a handbook for essay research and writing, a guide to
literary criticism, and a set of background materials on the story and its author to enrich the
discussion held with Connect .
Donna Reiss and Dona Hickey demonstrated "Sneakernet," a means of using non-networked
computers to emulate computer networks with inkshedding and other collaborative writing
exercises; ways to use DIWE for teaching literature as well as composition;
the Internet for teachers interested in creating technology-rich syllabi.
Send comments on these pages to: Claudine Keenan