Projecting Personality Online (Week 1)

Write.

That is the beginning. It is a sentence. You and I know the implied noun, you, is there although it hides from the written form. Just because we, as teachers and writers, sit behind keyboards or look down at tablets while typing does not mean our personalities are missing from our text. Scott Warnock makes an excellent case about the persona teachers show in the online environment. In place of facial expressions, we are left to literally read behind the words. As Warnock states on page 1, the “text of those messages created a personality.”  Through Warnock, other authors’ research, and professional workshops, teachers can find ways to ease their nerves and create the right professional personality in an online writing environment.

In a f2f classroom, my teachers and I, as a teacher, have used icebreakers to connect with students. Warnock suggests using the same tool in an online environment. Using icebreakers online is a great idea because you show that the class is not centered around you, but around the students. You are already building a platform on which you are a facilitator because you include the students’ input about themselves.

A Policy Research Brief” by the National Council of Teachers of English presents an important point, which is rarely mentioned in other courses I’ve taken about online teaching and their course content. On page 4, the council writes that teachers need use “explicit instruction” showing students how to avoid plagiarism in a digital environment. I believe in teaching students how to cite online materials as more content becomes part of the academic and media writing world.

As a journalist, my articles and my pictures were published in the newspaper and online. The most important details with those stories was the name of the writer, from whom information was received, and the photo credit. In other blogs, pictures have been copied from other Internet sources without any credit. As students learn how to write online and create hypermedia content, how do we as teachers keep up in showing them how to cite text, photos, and video? To me, writing online is becoming a three-dimensional world in which MLA, APA, and even AP formats must one day translate into a hypermedia platform. One of my questions is how do we do this? How do we, as teachers, make sure our instruction is explicit and up to date in avoiding all forms of plagiarism in a digital environment?

For the schedule and assignments on the class website, I like how every piece of information is displayed. Just like labels and cards, everything has a neat title. It is in order, and I know exactly when something is due.  As a graduate assistant for the director of graduate studies in the education department, I work a lot with new technologies, researching the digital divide, and the latest technologies schools are using. Most recently, my boss and I have been researching Google Chromebooks in place of iPads because most school districts are switching to them. With the Chromebook I learned about a program called Read & Write Google, which is a tool helping ESL and other students with learning disabilities. It reads text out loud, provides a picture, and text dictionary. I would be interested in researching the online tools that would benefit students with disabilities who are a part of the online writing environment.

 

Becca Bridges

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6 Comments

    • Melissa,
      You are very welcome! It is one of many programs. It does have a 90 day free trial to use all parts of it, but the main features of it are always free. Another program I like that is useful for writing students is Natural Reader. It is a great tool because you do not have to be connected to the Internet to use it. If a student does not have Internet access, all you would need to do is download the program from the Internet to a computer’s hard drive. I do not know if it is available as just an app, but students can use on a laptop or any computer even if it does not have Internet access. Here is the link: http://www.naturalreaders.com/.

  1. Becca, these are some great questions, and I’m thrilled that you bring such experience to the class! I hope you can really respond to some of your classmates’ blogs and help us deepen the conversation about these issues.

  2. I am so glad that you mentioned citation as an issue facing educators and students alike. I recently wrote a textbook for one of the courses I teach, and while researching copyright law, I found that people who use Google images in their blogs are often plagiarizing unintentionally. There have been lawsuits where people have successfully been sued for $8,000 over using an image belonging to an amateur photographer. Students must be properly informed of such possibilities.

    • You are absolutely right Krista! I learned as a journalist that you always give credit in a picture and to a quote. Writing on the Internet is still an untapped how-to experience. For example, how do we properly cite online? Do we use MLA and hyperlinks? How can we incorporate pictures and videos while citing them? What if we make our own videos with our words, but feature another component created by another person? Writing online and in presentations, like PowerPoint and Pretzi, make writing three-dimensional in a way that only paintings and art have been made before now. Thank you for your comment, Krista!

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