Epiphany Summer Institutes
Although the constant focus in the institute was on moving participants to critically examine
their pedagogy, one could hardly study computers and writing without looking at software and
hardware. Accordingly, Institute leaders gave hands-on software demonstrations in both
Macintosh and IBM-PC computer labs, in addition to using different packages as presentation
software during whole-group meetings.
There are many available packages for synchronous conferencing and collaborative writing, but
three packages dominated discussion at Epiphany: CommonSpace, Daedalus Integrated
Writing Environment , and Norton Connect . Each of these packages
allows users to
share files, edit documents and engage in real-time electronic conversations--features that are
increasingly in demand in software applications in the business world as well.
An add-on to Microsoft Word or WordPerfect for Windows that
and students to share files, grade papers, engage in real-time discussion, and work on projects
collaboratively. The server software is provided free to colleges; students purchase a licensed
disk for about the same price as a textbook, and can use the software at home or on the network.
Includes an online grammar, style and research handbook.
This program is groupware that allows writers to collaborate in the writing, editing and
publication of documents. A series of parallel workspaces on the screen allows users to make
commentary and metacommentary on a given text. Using TCP/IP, remote users can engage in
real-time, online discussions of a text visible on their screens. This is truly next-generation
collaborative writing software. It includes an online handbook based on Anne Raimes', Keys
to Writing .
Networked software that allows students to create DOS- or Mac-based files that can be exported
to other commercial word processors. This is the best-known of the collaborative packages,
having grown out of Batson's original work with ENFI at Gallaudet. DIWE 's most
popular feature is InterChange , a real-time discussion component that has been the
subject of many scholarly articles. DIWE is particularly strong in its ability to assist
teachers in encouraging simple fluency in the production of texts, a key element in improving
student writing over time. It also includes heuristics modules called Invent and
Respond , which are effective tools for teaching academic writing skills and
Powerful utility software with hypertext-authoring tools teachers can use to build customized
online environments for their courses. Ann Woodlief of VCU uses this extensively in her
literature classes in conjunction with Norton Connect . Teachers and students use
software to create documents with expandable windows for embedded comments, i.e., a copy of
a short story with embedded annotations and critical references. From Guide ,
and students can launch other applications used in the course, such as a word processors, web
browsers, email, or any Windows-based groupware. Guide is costly, but repays
by being an excellent lesson package, syllabus site, presentation tool, and collaborative writing
space. An extremely versatile and useful piece of software.
This is a hypertext authoring package that allows users to open up small writing spaces or
windows that may be linked in a visual mapping strategy, which greatly facilitates creative writing
and the making of connections between discrete pieces of information, whether graphical or
textual. The application features a placeholder that allows writers to leave a thread of writing
unfinished, while the program holds the link in a temporary buffer. Texts may also be presented
as completed documents, although, except for hypertext fictions such as afternoon, a
story , presentation has turned out to be less the emphasis with
StorySpace than text
creation and organization. StorySpace was among the first of the commercially
hypertext authoring tools, and the only one of the first generation to have survived to the present
day. It has been used to write and present "serious" fiction, ethnographic field notes, and
significant texts in philosophy and criticism.
A slickly packaged, user-friendly html tool that allows teachers to design a web-based syllabus
and other materials right online. No knowledge of programming is required. The package is still
under development at VCU (more information is available at this website).
Send comments on these pages to: Claudine Keenan