Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archive

Digging Composition 8

[Project Projector slide 7]

And I want to suggest that the remediation we experience when we read MOO space often makes common rhetorical concerns uncommon rhetorical problems. Students cannot work on autopilot when constructing MOO-based writing projects as few, if any of them, will have worked with MOOs in this way.

As unfamiliar writing projects, MOO essays have the potential to disrupt our students' unconscious writing strategies. In theory, with these unconscious coping strategies disrupted, our students are much more likely to think about what they are doing, and, therefore, are more likely to consciously turn to the rhetorical strategies we are trying to teach them. Since most rhetorical strategies and concerns are, in essence, the same when writing a MOO and when writing a traditional essay, we can use MOOs to help foreground these rhetorical concerns. By helping our students draw connections between the rhetorical strategies common to both MOO writing and traditional writing, and by having them struggle with these common concerns in the estranged environment of MOO, it is my hope that they will be able to return to traditional writing projects with a greater rhetorical awareness.

[Project Projector slide 8]

MOO-based writing projects, I want to suggest, make use of active learning. They require from students a level of conscious planning that many of them do not give to their traditional writing projects. The act of planning a series of rooms, creating objects for those rooms, and writing the messages for those objects is a different activity from stringing sentences together. And yet, the underlying rhetorical issues are the same. The students are structuring information in such a way that it makes sense, and they are presenting that information in such a way that it makes sense to others. Transferring this rhetorical awareness to traditional writing projects is, I believe, vital.

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Last Modified: 8 November 2005
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