Making Connections in Our Classrooms: Online and Off
Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting,
The growth of the Internet and other technologies has teachers finding themselves once again moving away from the "traditional classroom" into educational domains that have no physical boundaries and incredible potential for interaction and collaboration among classroom participants. A hybrid course maximizes this potential by offering two very different environments--the traditional physical classroom and the online space of the Internet--for course members to interact with one another and the course material thus creating expanded opportunities for uniquely reaching students with different learning styles, backgrounds, and educational goals. The success of these hybrid courses, however, is complicated by the degree to which educators can effectively help students become active members of both the online and the face-to-face learning communities, overcoming online inequity issues and even the interference of technology itself. Along with traditional in-class discussion and meetings that occur once a week, each student has journal space, class forums for posting threaded discussions, chat rooms for synchronous meetings, message boards, space to post/comment on drafts, and of course, e-mail. But students who are struggling simply to find their academic voice may very well discover that this struggle only intensifies in a hybrid course. Current research shows that the type of computer mediated communication used does effect the interaction of its users and ultimately in a course like a hybrid, effects the development of a classroom community. Therefore, it is vital for instructors to be active in creating spaces in both environments for students to speak, because it is becoming all too apparent that "the new technology, when left unattended, creates more opportunities for oppression than for liberation." (Contains 16 references.) (NKA)
Smelser, L.M. (2002). Making Connections in Our Classrooms: Online and Off. Presented at Conference on College Composition and Communication Annual Meeting 2002.