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The Silicon Ceiling: Technology, Literacy, and the Community College Student

Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting,


Bringing the electronic classroom to the traditional classroom is a challenge--especially if students do not have access to computers. There are, however, some exercises that can be conducted in the classroom while the computer grant is being processed. Many computer and writing theorists argue that computer-mediated writing classes tend to be "democratic" and inclusionary, with student writing and revision poised toward a larger audience than just a teacher-evaluator. Theorists like Gail Hawisher (1992) also note that electronic conferences, in which students use a computer network to comment about each other's papers, promote writing as communication. These benefits of computer-based writing can be reproduced through traditional methods. It goes without saying, for instance, that an instructor can focus class readings and discussion on technology and culture. In addition, a class structure can simulate a "network" culture. For instance, students can experiment with a nonelectronic version of the web's system of authority and democracy. If during the first half of the semester, the classroom is hierarchical, during the second half it can become fashioned into a "hypertextual network of affiliations." Gradually, students can form a "network" of interest groups in which they share their relevant skills, research, and access to knowledge. Using this "web" of mutually-supportive contacts, students can create an individual research paper. (Contains 11 references, 3 suggested class readers, and information on joining an electronic discussion list.) (TB)


Reed, C. (1996). The Silicon Ceiling: Technology, Literacy, and the Community College Student. Presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting 1996. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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