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An Online Composition Course

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New means for online students to collaborate in their classes are being made available every day. Even if the students cannot collaborate synchronously, they can still work together on their own time tables. Software such as Wimba provides an excellent way for students to collaborate and interact synchronously, and it also offers opportunities for instructors to provide lectures, discussions, demonstrations, websites, and so on, so that students may collaborate on what they have seen.

There are really two sets of course goals for my ENG 1102 course. The first goals are those set forth by the university. When ENG 1102 students complete the course, they should be able to demonstrate an understanding of writing analytical essays, using proper mechanics. Students should also be able to demonstrate an understanding of the research process through the use of sources in the research paper.

There is a second set of goals that I have for my online ENG 1102 students. When my students complete the class, I want them to have obtained and demonstrated an understanding of the use of collaboration and interaction with their peers in the class. For instance, I want students to recognize that they can learn more about the writing process by reviewing a peer’s paper. Adult students also bring a life full of experiences to the classroom. Through collaboration and interaction, students should be able to recognize that others have different opinions based on different life experiences. This form of collaboration and interaction, when used properly, allows students to learn more than they would by just reading a book and working by themselves. It is the instructor’s use of social presence in the online class that may create a community in which students feel comfortable and open to providing the constructive feedback of the peer review or sharing insights based on their own personal experiences in a discussion board posting. My ultimate goal is to have the students recognize and voice the impact that the discussion board and peer review had on their educational experience in my classroom. The outcomes section provides feedback from the online students as to their experiences with using the discussion board and peer review in their online ENG 1102 course.