In reference to Scott Warnock’s book Teaching Writing Online: How & Why: Personally, I buy into the notion that the more writing you do, the better you become at it. The same is true for reading, and furthermore, the skills are interrelated and mutually supportive. For these reasons more than any others, I love the idea of online courses for composition-only courses. However, I wonder about the viability of setting an integrated reading and writing course in cyber space, especially if the course is aimed at basic readers/writers. My concern is threefold. First, much of the work we do in such courses involves the discussion and practice of metacognitive tools, such KWL, double- or triple-entry journals, PPPC, etc. I think it would be difficult to demonstrate the use of these tools if you couldn’t hold up a book in one hand and write on the board with the other. Second, though students may become better readers through sheer dint of having to read all their classmates’ postings, the fact of the matter is they arrive not yet having reading skills or metacognitive tools adequate to the task. I’m not sure where a teacher would begin to get students up to speed so they could participate effectively in class. Third, as Warnock says, “…students who enroll in [online or hybrid] courses need to consider… their own ability to be a self-starter….” (14). Basic reader/writers are already on cognitive overload, so it’s not a great idea to add another make-or-break complication to their lives.
What do you think? Using a hybrid format may solve the first two problems, but maybe not the third. Any other ideas or solutions?