Building textual spaces: MOO writing in the first year composition classroom
Susan E. Antlitz, Illinois State University, United States
Illinois State University . Awarded
MOOs (Multi-User Domains, Object Oriented) are On-line text-based environments which use the metaphors of spaces and objects to portray virtual worlds. For approximately a decade, teachers and scholars in the field of Computers and Writing have theorized about the benefits of MOOs as a pedagogical tool. At first, much of their focus was on MOOs as a discussion space, or as a space for students to create their own versions of Literary texts. However, in more recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the writing students produce in the MOO as they construct their own places and objects as a means of sharing information. Theoretical and anecdotal arguments agree that attempting to portray researched topics in the MOO can help students to think more carefully about the structure and organization of their texts, as well as exercise greater creativity and rhetorical awareness; however, detailed studies which share the texts produced by students are rare. As a result, this study examines the MOO projects of four students from a first-year English 101: Language and Composition I course at Illinois State University in detail, as well as examining the projects of other students in the class for patterns and evidence about the ways in which students write in the MOO. Three main questions are addressed: (1) What are the textual characteristics of the students' MOO writing, (2) What are students' subjective responses and perceptions of working with the MOO and what might account for these responses, and (3) How might the challenges of integrating MOO technology into a first-year writing course be resolved? MOOs present first-year composition students with unique experiences that can help them to understand writing in new ways, but the challenges posed by this technology must also be overcome.
Antlitz, S.E. Building textual spaces: MOO writing in the first year composition classroom. Ph.D. thesis, Illinois State University.
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