2(3), May 1985, page 9

[conclusion of McDaniel article at top of this page]


John C. Thoms
Center for General Studies
New York Institute of Technology
1855 Broadway
New York, New York 10023

Under a Title III grant, we have been developing a new remedial language arts course--1007, Basic Writing and Reading--that uses different kinds of microcomputer software for both whole-class workshop activities and individualized skills development. I would like to know about similar courses being offered elsewhere.

1007 is a five-credit, one-semester course based on: (1) a writing process approach to the teaching of writing; (2) a psycholinguistic approach to the teaching of reading; (3) the presentation of basic writing, reading, and thinking skills as essentially interconnected; and (4) the use of microcomputers to reinforce these approaches. This year's lab was equipped with Commodore 64s and Franklins. In the fall, however, we should be switching to the 512 Macintosh.

1007 classes meet three hours a week in a conventional classroom and two hours a week in a computer lab. The teacher is present for the first of these hours; the second hour is for unsupervised lab work. Enrollment is limited to eighteen students.

A one-to-one computer:student ratio permits individualization of lab activities and makes it possible for supervised lab sessions to become genuine writing workshops, with the teacher assisting students during the writing process.

Back-to-back scheduling of teacher-supervised and unsupervised lab hours permits teachers to explain new lab activities and unfamiliar software, to observe students as they begin work, and to correct the inevitable misunderstandings and missteps that accompany each new activity, before leaving students adequate blocks of time for meaningful work on the computer.

The availability of computers during free lab hours permits serious writers to use word processing for revising their work over time, provides slower learners the chance to pace themselves in the use of computer materials, gives absentees the chance to catch up on back work, and makes possible individualized programs of skills development beyond regular class hours.

Present lab staff includes a full-time lab supervisor, a part-time lab technician, and a number of regular student lab assistants.