Volume 2, Issue 1 Spring 1997
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MOO-based Metacognition: Incorporating Online and Offline Reflection into the Writing Process

"Metacognition" refers to a writer's knowledge of the way she writes or how she learns. In Educating the Reflective Practitioner, Donald A. Schon divides metacognition into two brands of reflection: reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action. Reflection-in-action refers to the immediately recursive thought a person puts toward the action at hand, and reflection-on-action is post-activity reflection on the activity. Reflection on the reading, writing, and learning processes might well be our students' key to understanding their writing processes and to growing as successful writers. It is our job, then, to find activities that facilitate our students' metacognitive action.

The synchronous internet forum called the MOO offers such activities. MOO-based conferencing begins with an interactive dialogue-based form of writing, it produces a learning text (the log of the conversation), and it allows writers to read back through, respond to, and learn from the online activity. The MOO-based classroom fosters a form of written metacognition that is extremely valuable for writers, and the texts that online discussions produce serve as concrete, analytical maps of students' online learning. MOO-based activities offer the composition classroom a forum for continual reflection on the writing process and a new avenue for metacognition.


Joel English


Reading Subrin's Swallow

Reading Subrin's Swallow is a hypertext essay about an experimental videotape which was made by Elisabeth Subrin in 1995. Swallow tells the story of a girl growing up in the wake of radical feminism in the United States. This videotape also investigates how anorexia and depression reveal themselves through an inability to use language "properly."

Similarly, I found it difficult to write about Swallow and struggled to find a form that would accommodate many readings of the videotape. What follows is one solution.


Jacqueline Goss


Hearings in the U. S. Congress: Ordinary Deliberationin America's Legislature

In this webtext, Congressional hearings are presented as discourse events in the everyday life of a democratic governmental institution.

The first event is a treaty deliberation in the first federal Congress on August 22, l789. The scene is the Senate, where the senators met in executive session to deliberate a draft treaty with southern Indian confederacies. Outside the Senate door, a Cherokee delegation waited.

The web is a scholarly monograph composed for the World Wide Web. This scholarly web's purpose is documentary interpretation, or interpretation of real-time rhetorical action in an historical event as we can know it from records of the event. To show how records frame knowledge of events, the web adds commentary on historical processes of producing, receiving, and using public records.

The web is about government. Whether teachers or students, global watchers of television's C-SPAN and similar public affairs networks, elected officials, or professional staff in government, many of us wish we knew more about how government actually works. This web speaks to that wish.


Catherine F. Smith