Teresa Anne Ederer Fishman

Writing distance education: Select histories of distance education writing courses and their effects on ongoing distance education writing course pedagogy

Teresa Anne Ederer Fishman

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2002; pp: 209
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 64/07, p. 2410, Jan 2004
  • Subjects: Education, History Of (0520); Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Language And Literature (0279); Education, Technology (0710)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-496-46736-6
  • UMI Number: AAT 3099143

Abstract:

    This dissertation examines the relationships between distance education (DE) and writing, focusing particularly on the ways in which DE writing courses have developed within specific institutional contexts and the ways in which writing, particularly with respect to its heuristic value, has been critical to the success and efficacy of DE courses. Throughout the history of American DE development, from its earliest manifestations when DE pioneers such as Anna Ticknor, William Rainey Harper, Louis Reber and others began conducting DE courses at prominent institutions including the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Iowa, and Penn State University, a number of issues related to writing and the teaching thereof have proven critical to the relative successes and failures of various DE courses and programs. By examining these programs and approaches, this study identifies seven key issues: access, interaction, flexibility, technology, standards for evaluation, quality, and writing, which have, historically, been focused upon by both DE’s proponents and its critics. It is argued here that attending to these issues and looking critically at the relative significance of each of them within particular institutional contexts, writing teachers will increase their ability to design DE writing courses that afford students more opportunities to engage in practices such as peer editing and group authorship that are valued within the Rhetoric and Composition professional community. A significant portion of this dissertation is devoted to the examination of the technologies that are essential, in DE, to overcome the separation of instructor and student. It is argued that while historically, technologies have been used in attempts to replicate classroom teaching; a more worthy goal would be to utilize technologies to promote the dialogic exchanges that mark many of the most successful DE enterprises. Particularly now, when DE educators have at their disposal an unprecedented variety of communications technologies, DE writing instructors have the opportunity to incorporate collaborative, recursive, and dialogic writing into their courses. As ever-greater numbers of writing professionals become involved in developing and conducting DE courses, this critical awareness becomes increasingly central to the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition.