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Digital Writing Ideas

Online composition and participation are always a requirement in the courses I teach. When I began teaching at Fresno State as a graduate student in 2004, I was one of the few instructors who required students use Blackboard on a weekly basis. I believe there are several reasons to use tools like Blackboard / WebVista:
  • Students can read and respond to the thoughts of their classmates.
  • I have a record of how writing (and thinking) improve during a semester
  • Peer editing can occur online, in small groups.
  • Students less vocal in class discussions tend to participate more online.
Normally, I post a "Weekly Response Question/Topic" based on class discussions during the week. Students can then extend the in-class discussion online. Those who were unable to speak up during the class have time to reflect and post their thoughts, too. By requiring every student to post at least 50 to 100 words a week, they soon engage each other in discussion.

I always use threaded discussions or blogs, but never live, synchronous chat. I am not comfortable with online chats and believe it would hurt my performance as a teacher.

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