Teaching Composition Online: The Quest for Classroom Community
One of the most difficult parts of teaching online writing courses lies in trying to create the community that students develop, often spontaneously, in traditional composition courses. While teaching two sections of English Composition (English 1102) during the Fall 2004 semester at Kennesaw State University (one exclusively online and one in a traditional classroom), I found that despite my efforts to change little, if anything, in the course design for these two sections, the courses have been quite different. Although assignments and course activities mirror each other in both sections, outcomes on assignments, participation in course activities, and my interactions with the students vary greatly between the two sections. My preliminary observations and conclusions suggest that the spontaneous development of community in the traditional classroom (that which takes place when students walk into the classroom, speak to the instructor, or chat informally with peers) distinguishes effective writing courses from those that are less effective for students. Working actively to create this atmosphere through increased opportunities for informal collaboration (between students and between the instructor and the students) in online courses may increase possibilities for student success.
International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society