Department of English
Master of Arts
Creating a space in Room 127 that is increasingly vital to English 100 is more complicated than just having students write on computers. To maximize our potentials in Room 127, we must deal with a variety of aspects — the history of the Writing Center, its functions, perceptions of it, pedagogies related to it, and its space, and our goals, for example ~ before we simply sit our freshman in front of computers and give them a writing prompt. Chapter One will provide a brief history of what Room 127's function has been. This review is necessary so that we can see the growth of our Writing Center to the point where it is presently. This history of our Writing Center and the way it defines itself can help us understand the current state of Room 127 and its function within the English Department. Knowing the history of our Writing Center can give us an understanding as to current perceptions of it and its usage. In Chapter Two, I will discuss histories, perceptions, and goals of writing centers in general so that we can see where Room 127 stands in relation to them. Noting the progress made at other writing centers can serve as valuable guidelines for possible improvements in Room 127. What follows in Chapter Three is an overview of writing pedagogies that are relevant to implementing computers and the Writing Center in the English curriculum. Social Constructivist theories and Networking theories are commonly encountered in writing classrooms that implement computers. They allow for a student-centered approach and enhance students' ownership of text. Writing on a computer can aid a student in seeing writing as a process. The networking capabilities of computers give students more options for conferencing that can help students help themselves. Activity Theory and Complexity Theory are applications from the natural sciences that are beginning to find applications in writing. In Chapter Four, I will explore the layout and actual space concerns of our Writing Center. Recently, WKU's English Department has been granted some much needed space in order to expand our Writing Center. Currently, Room 127's floor plan is inhibiting to certain types of activities which perhaps, in part, limits its usage by faculty. I will look at ways to redesign Room 127 to become more "user friendly" for a variety of teaching styles so that the technology is not a monolith but simply an aid to the professor. These suggestions should also be of benefit when we consider what to do with the new space we have been given. Other spatial concerns will touch upon ways to create an atmosphere that promotes writing, ways to make Room 127 a centripetal force, and ways to de-emphasize authority and ownership of a space. Though we cannot explore every possible way to use computers in English 100, Chapter Five will cover some practical applications of computers in an English 100 class. One need not be a computer wizard in order to perform these tasks. Quite often, some of these exercises are a computerized version of aspects already implemented in English 100. The concluding Chapter Six will be an overview of emerging trends in writing centers with an eye on what may be possible in our Writing Center within a few years. I will also touch on ways to better prepare our tutors for some of these upcoming changes. Some of the speculation in this chapter is intended to promote dialogue concerning the technological changes happening right now that will have implications on our teaching methods and styles in the coming years. Unfortunately, I cannot explore every aspect of technology related to the classroom, nor can I explore every teaching pedagogy related to writing centers. I try instead to focus on pedagogies and applications that are relevant to increasing the vitality of Room 127 to ENG 100. Because of rapidly expanding technologies and the rising computer capabilities among our students, I hope to show not only how we can make computers more vital to the instruction of such students but also the rationale behind such a belief and the trends that are inevitable. Therefore, I hope to present a relatively thorough examination of the possibilities we now have and an amalgamation of resources and ideas from which to promote further progress and dialogue in the tradition of Room 127.
Composition | English Language and Literature
King, Christopher, "Computer Technology in Writing Centers: Ways to Increase Their Effectiveness in the Instruction of Freshman English and Intercurricular Studies" (1997). Masters Theses & Specialist Projects. Paper 789.