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 Dona Hickey, followed by roundtable discussion with Batson regarding the pedagogical uses of networked real-time discussions and its differences from oral communication in the classroom.

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, PowerPoint  and StorySpace  can be used to develop presentations that allow instructors to record 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 peer work.

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 literature at 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; resources on the Internet for teachers interested in creating technology-rich syllabi.

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Send comments on these pages to: Claudine Keenan