In a Fall 1998 "Introduction to Literature" course
designed specifically for Honors students, I sought to interweave different
technological tools with the various readings in an effort to foster student
responsiveness to the material. My previous experience had taught
me that computer-mediated discussion can supplement class discussions in
a way that allows otherwise silent students a voice, and that computer
hypertexts can help students become more aware of the inferential process
of reading and thus become more active readers. This course was my
most ambitious yet--technologically speaking--with students role-playing
in "real-time" chats, reading a contemporary hypertext fiction, discussing
readings outside of class via a "webboard," and creating annotated "hypertext"
editions of poems for their final group projects. This presentation
will discuss and demonstrate the successes and failures of the class, noting
especially how the students critiqued and modified the pedagogy being developed
in the course. Thus, when I refer to "learning by doing" in my title,
I describe both their experience with technology and my own.
Interweaving the technologies mentioned above
in a single course can be especially effective, because they mutually reinforce
each other, providing different opportunities for active
learning and reflection about what has been learned.
To borrow a phrase: together they create "A
Bigger Place to Play."
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