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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Enhancing Classroom Community through Electronic Discussion

Kate Kiefer.

One of the claims for computer-assisted courses since the late 1980s is that they give students options to extend learning outside the classroom. Given the more recent move toward hybrid and fully online courses, the classroom itself has fewer and fewer physical limits. In the move toward extending the classroom, however, we have not often looked systematically and carefully at what we give up in terms of classroom community. Comparing electronic forum postings for two graduate courses—one hybrid and one classroom-based with computer support—allows us to put one concern to rest. Students in both these contexts used electronic communications to increase their participation in the course and to build both strong personal and class-community identities.

In the formal paper, I will review early work on electronic communications (Sirc, 1988; Selfe & Meyer, 1991; Hawisher, 1992; Palmquist, 1993; Eldred & Hawisher, 1995; Minock & Schor, 1995; Sirc, 1995) and then move into a detailed discussion of electronic forum postings from the two graduate sections noted above.


Kate Kiefer  (United States)
Department of English
Colorado State University

Professor Kate Kiefer has taught at Colorado State University since 1979. She teaches undergraduate writing courses and graduate courses in writing theory and pedagogy. She has used computers for her own writing since 1980 and has focused much of her research on ways that computer technologies can support writers, including the book-length study on teaching in computer classrooms, Transitions: Teaching Writing in Computer-Supported and Traditional Classrooms. She set up one of the first computer labs dedicated to writing, as well as one of the first computer-networked classrooms, in the country. Kate grew up in Ohio, receiving degrees from the University of Dayton and Ohio State University before moving to Colorado.

  • Classroom Community
  • Electronic Discussion
  • Computers and Writing

(Virtual Presentation, English)