Creating Interactive Webpages to Highlight Student Success
Using student generated content to create interactive webpages for writing classrooms raises significant questions concerning ownership, socialization, evaluation, and equal access. Fortunately, the evolution of the web as an instructional platform also promises many new and hopefully satisfying solutions. This presentation will explore some of my choices when creating an online workspace with students this year for Helen Hunt Jackson's 19th century ethical romance novel Ramona.
This presentation begins with a discussion of creating webpages within the framework of a larger course website and populating them with both course materials and student generated content on a particular topic. These online “workpages” create an interactive place outside the classroom where students and instructors can engage with course materials and each other's work simultaneously. As technology continues to socialize educational practices, creating places where student materials are publicly accessible also conditions the workpage as a place of and for social evaluation. Exploring the potential for using public online spaces to both demystify and harness the possibilities of evaluation has led me to a model that is predicated on recognition of strong work, where students know that only the best materials will be posted. Acting as instructor/curator of student materials helps maximize student engagement and critical thinking by setting a standard of excellence based on the low stakes reward of public recognition. Because our classrooms present a diversity of experiences in creating digital content, and because students whose unequal access to technology equipment can be historically tied to social and economic inequalities, I also propose that workpages strive to diversify options available to students for creating content. Public evaluation can play an important role here as well by helping create accountability for fair and open evaluation equivalency across a platform of both traditional and multimodal projects.