Do You Like Techno?

Well, this weekend I will be facilitating the NEWCA technology SIG at our annual conference. I have to admit that though I have a good understanding of technology I’m not always in favor of it. However, with “five year plans” and accreditation committees constantly talking about monies for technology, it is a necessary part of our writing center discussions. But how much is too much, or too little?

I guess the “internets” are not a fad. The so-called “series of tubes” that comprise the world wide web occupy much of our world today. Now, I use these silly descriptors for a reason. Many people, including the elected representatives who have used such descriptors, don’t quite get it. At Capital Community College, we have a large population of returning learners – people who have been away from school for many years or even decades. Many of them work in blue collar, non-office settings, which do not require computer usage on a daily basis if at all. Therefore, our tutors cannot assume a certain level of techno-savvy for these students. And, one difficult aspect of this is that you may not know the student’s computer knowledge until you’ve really worked with her a couple times.

Yet, it seems to me that we have an inescapable responsibility to prepare all students for a workplace that takes for granted its technology. How much can a writing center do? When the goal is improving the writer, is it too much to try to improve the computer user as well? And how useful are electronic writing resources for a student who doesn’t know how to double space a paper?

I hope you all can help me answer these questions on Sunday. Enjoy the conference, everyone!

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