"Teaching Beyond Physical Boundaries,"
opens with a piece from
electronic portfolio expert Kathleen Blake Yancey. In "The Pleasures of
Digital Discussions: Lessons, Challenges, Recommendations, and Reflections,"
Yancey focuses on two types of electronic discussions, namely email and
listservs as pedagogical tools. Through wonderfully approachable
explanations, Yancey ultimately leads readers to consider a heuristic for
planning electronic discussions. This heuristic includes questions like:
What is the exigence of this discussion? How will you [the teacher] manage
what could be a large volume of email? What are your expectations for this
exercise? How will you know if it "works"? and the like. Such a chapter in
this collection keeps us, as it should, well within the realm of practice -
or better informed practice.
In "Meeting the Paradox of Computer-Mediated Communication in Writing Instruction," Stuart Blythe describes the benefits of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and he offers advice on ways to integrate CMC into courses. Along the way, Blythe confronts myths surrounding CMC and he applies CMC specifically to writing courses.
The final chapter in this section, Gail E. Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe's "Teaching Writing at a Distance: What's Gender Got to Do With It?" is a nice companion piece to Tulley and Blair's earlier chapter on espaces. Among the various questions addressed in this piece, Hawisher and Selfe ask, "Do the uneven relations among the genders carry over into class discussion more markedly online than outside of the electronic writing class? Do email discussion lists, listservs, chat rooms, IRCs, MOOs and other forms of asynchronous and synchronous online discussions make a difference in how some women learn and how some women teach? [And] what happens when the World Wide Web with its preponderance of images is added to this mix of new technologies?" (129). The focus of this chapter, then, is on the gendered experiences of women in composition classes taught "at a distance."