Professor weighs in on utilizing the power of technology to improve higher education writing instruction.
“Any English majors in this class?” I always ask the students in my freshman composition courses on the first day. Hardly ever do I get a reply. Next to never. Few of my students have been exposed to a rigorous high school curriculum focused on critical thinking or problem solving skills, grammar, sentence structure, syntax or rhetoric. Typically, most have an aversion to assignments that involve writing, but they may not realize how critical writing mastery is to a successful future.
America’s employers want strong writers—the statistics prove it. Recent research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that 73 percent of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills. I see my job as bridging the gap—helping students understand that writing well will be essential to their career success—and I believe that technology provides a variety of important resources to support my efforts.
As a writing instructor who has embraced technology in the classroom, my challenge is to preserve time-honored pedagogical methods while also reaching students through emerging digital tools that they have come to expect as part of their college experience. I’ve seen tech become a more tightly-integrated component of instruction with promising results. Instructional designers and faculty alike are beginning to harness the power of technology to address the persistent challenge of helping students become effective writers. Here is my take on the role tech can play in writing instruction.