2.04.2004

digital and multimedia and online

I really haven't had a problem with finding or using anything computer-based in my on-the-ground or online courses.

As you know, there is a jump students have to make in an online class from the course areas to the internet at large, and from the online environment to paper materials and to their own reading and writing (much of which involves paper). I find that duplicating information as much as possible early in the course -- making it available in every conceivable format -- helps.

The need for more and better online literature available free did lead me to my ongoing project scanning pre-1922 (public domain) works of poetry and making them available at online archives at Project Gutenberg and University of Pennsylvania, etc. I also try to have the same but in paper versions at the bookstore and on reserve at the library. However, the college library at my home college is absolutely dreadful due to budget cuts.

[Aside -- which I'd never mention in an interview -- this is quite the political hot button right now. I actually think that the college courses I teach are far too cheap at $11. a unit. The incredible low price leads students to shop for grades. They will take a course time and time again until they get an A. They will take the course and then have on opportunity to go on vacation, or have a minor illness, and drop. The courses are cheaper than the books, and the continual churning of the student population exhausts the instructors. The low cost makes it impossible for the college to begin to accrue the types of research materials -- even hard copy of all books used in courses! which it doesn't have -- it would need to become a better institution.

I do have to mention that even at $11. a unit, most students are on financial aid programs which cover even that small expense and some book expense. I think that financial aid should continue to be available to qualifying students, and it should continue to cover materials. So -- expensive courses, lots of financial aid. College should be more expeinsive than a pair of shoes.]

I think it is exciting new generations of students are learning and writing in an environment which shows the continuum from person to the page to "literature," to ways of understanding "literature," the page, other people.

No comments: