Brooklyn College Writing Across the Curriculum

Brooklyn College WAC: Writing in the Digital Age

Welcome to the Brooklyn College WAC Program web page that supports our “Writing in the Digital Age” seminar and our ongoing efforts to explore and analyze the best pedagogical practices for using technology to improve student writing.


1) WHERE: If you are attending our “Writing in the Digital Age” workshop on March 25, 2011, from noon to 4:30 pm, please note that we will first meet in Room 2420 in Boylan Hall for lunch and a preliminary discussion before heading over to Room 383 in the Library, which is a multimedia classroom with computers.

2) WHAT TO BRING: Please bring a writing assignment that either already is online or has the potential to be made into an online assignment. If it is already online, please post the link in the comments section below along with a descriptive sentence or two. If it is not available online, e-mail it to yourself as an attachment or bring it on a memory stick so that you have easy access to it during the seminar.

3) WHAT TO DO: Please paste a link to an online course, assignment, or class blog in your discipline that you think is particularly interesting or worthy of discussion below as a comment (this is separate from the assignment above). It can be someone else’s work or your own. Please provide a one-sentence description of your link, including the discipline.

4) WHAT TO READ: Please pick one article linked below that is most interesting to you and read it before March 25:

1. Wikis in the Classroom: Ruth – “Wiki Way of Learning”
2. Social Presence in Online Learning: Lowenthal – “The Evolution and Influence of Social Presence Theory on Online Learning.”
3. Rubrics for Online Writing: ProfHacker – “A Rubric for Evaluating Student Blogs”
(makes sure to read the discussion thread that follows as well)
4. Privacy Issues: Diaz et al. – “Privacy Considerations”

5) WHAT TO SHARE: We encourage you to provide a brief discussion point in response to your reading as a comment below. We also strongly encourage you to share any links related to online writing pedagogy, such as an article that covers a topic that is not addressed  above but is of interest to you. It is our hope to build up this page and make it a resource for everyone who participates in the workshop now and in the future.

We look forward to seeing you all on March 25! And please do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions or concerns.
Brendan O’Malley – bo’malley@gc.cuny
Jordan Pascoe –

10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Privacy Issues:
The privacy issues paper is a strange paper to recommend to us. What is the law? There must be some clear guidelines about these possible issues.

Comment by Joshua Fogel

The federal law, called FERPA, provides some guidance even though it was passed well before the advent of the internet. We’ll show you some resources on this tomorrow.

Comment by bomalley500

here are links to my macaulay honors college wiki’s where students have done work. of special inetrst is the “there to Here” essay in whcihs tudents also use web-based materials.

Comment by Jerry Krase


This is a recent blackboard post from my class this semester:

Begin by reading the brief bio in our anthology and then read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Read it ALOUD, at least twice, and pay attention to the music and the imagery. Ask yourself: What kind of person is this Prufrock character? What are his anxieties and obsessions? How does he differ from a typical Romantic hero? What kinds of things are repeated in the poem? What literary devices do you notice? How does Eliot play with our expectations by including the phrase “love song” in the title?

Then, once you’ve finished “Prufrock,” you are ready (are you?) to encounter one of the most famous and perplexing long poems of the twentieth century, “The Waste Land.” Before you get started, brace yourself for a strange adventure. Expect to get lost in it, and expect to feel confused and disoriented. Expect the poet to pile allusion after allusion into a dense collage of direct and indirect references to other texts, but don’t worry about tracking all of them. (You can look at the “Notes” after you’ve read through it once.) One hint: this poem written after the unprecedented slaughter of human lives and overall devastation of World War I, which reduced Europe to a kind of “wasteland.”

You might listen to Eliot read the first section on Youtube and follow along in your book. This will influence the way you “hear” the poem in the later sections, for better or for worse, but I think it will help bring the poem to life so that you can actually experience its strange, haunting, complicated music. Here is the link:

I. The Burial of the Dead

Finally, write a brief response to your Eliot experience on Blackboard. (5-10 sentences.) Go beyond “I liked it” or “I hated it” statements and try to say something of substance. See if you can offer an observation or insight that might bring something to our discussion on Tuesday.

Please respond to two of your classmates’ responses.

Please post your response by Monday at noon.

Good luck!


This a ‘tumblr’ blog for a colleague’s English class on the Emergence of the Modern. Tumblr is an interesting format in that it allows the blogger (and the blog’s followers) to pull and post all sorts of media from the web.

Comment by Abraham Nowitz

I read all of the articles except the privacy article because I couldn’t decide what interested me most. In the end I prefer the practical article on writing a rubric for blog writing because I am most interested in “how to” rather than educational theory. Because I have not done an online assignment before, I was especially glad to be reminded (through the comments in that article mostly) not to set up an assignment that is the same as a response paper, simply done on line. From the comments I gathered that online assignments seem most likely to be distinguished from an offline assignments in the student/student interactions, which would suit the assignment I have in mind best. However, I felt like I wanted to know more about how to judge and/or promote student/student interaction; the rubric and the comments still seem largely focused on professor/student interaction which still left me wondering what is the point of putting this writing on line? This brought me back to the Wiki article, which while dreadfully boring (sorry, I’m just not used to this horrible type of education-social science type of writing), did make the point about the value of the process of ‘coming to know’ a particular subject. So… after this long, poor bit of stream of conscious writing…I am coming to the conclusion that I want to create an assignment that combines a wiki and a blog. [I can say more on this later and why I don’t just want one or the other, but that doesn’t seem appropriate here.]

Comment by Jenn Ball

Thanks, Jenn — you bring up some themes we will certainly address tomorrow, most notably: Why use the digital environment at all? And what does it bring to the table that is truly new and different from the traditional classroom?

Comment by bomalley500

This blog, written by a colleague Kostis Kourelis, has entries from his students at Wesleyan in a course he taught on vernacular architecture. I loved reading these and go back to them sometimes because the narratives are pretty interesting. I also love how they give you a feel for architecture in a way that is very difficult to convey in images or in traditional modes of writing about architecture. Architecture is something we all react to on a very personal level, but this is typically left out of academic study; I am intrigued that the personal is brought in here in such a successful way.

Comment by Jenn Ball

This is a link to an online discussion of a production a class attended.

Comment by Joe Talarico

Couldn’t get to this link as Blackboard denied me access (even though I’m a registered CUNY user). This is a good example of some issues that “closed” course management systems like Blackboard present–we will discuss!

Comment by bomalley500

Wikis in the Classroom: Ruth – “Wiki Way of Learning”

I found the article interesting. I have been using for approximately four years. My students have gained a lot of knowledge of web 2.0 tools and thus increased their skill level. They have also become aware of the importance of sourceware especially in our current economic condition.

Comment by Sharon O'Connor-Petruso

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: