September 25, 2001
With Student's Writing
On The Internet
By Amy Williams, Staff Writer
FRESNO STATE -- In the past,
going public with student writing meant producing the occasional
in class magazine or writing for the college newspaper.
Today, the demand for public writing
reaches beyond the confines of the classroom experience, according
to Emily Isaacs, an assistant professor of English at Montclair
State University, and Phoebe Jackson, a visiting professor
of literature at William Paterson University of New Jersey.
They cite the Internet as offering a
broad new range of possibilities on personal and class Web pages,
allowing students' writing to reach an "infinite virtual audience."
While many scholars argue quite forcefully
for public writing, few discuss the values of the experience,
the ethics involved with asking students to engage in this kind
of writing, or the approaches and strategies that are employed
when students attempt to do so.
Is it even ethical of us to assume students
will necessarily benefit from such a practice? What kind of problems
can we expect to face? What are the effects on students and their
Isaacs and Jackson explore the range
of what constitutes public writing: in-class oral presentations,
in-class publications, print or electronic,
and printed materials resulting from service learning projects.
Then they theorize and reflect on the
issues that such practices raise. It surprised me that the authors
are all able to support the publication of this kind of student
writing and to take a critical look at the embedded pedagogical
and ethical issues. This is worth a close read.
Note. The order this excellent work click on -- Public
Works: Student Writing as Public Text (Boynton/Cook Heinemann,
2001), edited by Emily J. Isaacs and Phoebe Jackson. $19.]