Linda Anstendig & Jeanie Meyer: "Researching the Internet in the Writing Class: A Writing Teacher's Role and A Computer Specialist's Role"

Anstendig & Meyer discussed their experiences co-teaching a unit in which students would find and read a series of websites on a topic of their choosing, and then construct a review of the sites in their own webpage. Thus, the students not only went out on the Web, they also had a chance to take part in it.

Anstendig, the writing teacher, and Meyer, the computer specialist, spoke about their experiences working together in the classroom. They described a healthy give and take in which students became aware that each professor had her own specialty.

The unit was broken into 5 classes:
Class 1: Intro to Web & Search Engines
Class 2: Out of Class HTML Tutorial (Online)
Class 3: Class Developed Criteria
Class 4: Class Lesson in HTML
Class 5: Work and Presentations

Reactions & Discoveries:
So far, the professors have had two responses to the students' work -- though presumably the students have also had responses.

One repsonse came from a website on crop circles which was favorably reviewed. The cite owner was appreciative, but also appeared to be bothered that the student used a image which was not unmistakably attributed to the crop circle page. Anstendig & Meyer concluded that in the future students using an image should give credit right next to the image.

Critera for Evaluating Web Pages -- Developed by Class
* timeliness
* credibility
* objectivity
* graphics

Other facts & discoveries:
* Pace has a "Computer 101" class which all students take
* For this project, students worked in groups, which turned out to be a very positive factor
* The audience -- 2 teachers & peers -- was also a positive factor.

I found Meyer's and Anstendig's close cooperation to be an exciting model for what is possible in the computer classroom. Their unit seemed to be an example of the kind of cooperation between teachers and technologists that Michael Keller and Sidney Sommers outlined in their presentation at Astride the Divide, the Epiphany Institute at George Mason University in January of 1997. We've come along way from the romantic notions of the teacher as the sage on the stage, but the fundamental structure of the university still favors a teaching system in which the teacher is presented as a solitary possesor of knowledge. By working in tandem with specialists from other fields, whether they be technology or history or biology, we present students with a more realistic model of the way knowledge is produced. Furthermore, cooperative units between writing teachers and technologists has the added advantage of increasing students' meta-awareness of the structures of knowledge.

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