My first ENGL 106 class meets in a computer lab–a space with almost infinite possibility! I began by asking them to create a writing sample. I like the benefit of creating samples on computers–where students can type rather than handwrite–because I believe it helps them generate language faster. It also mimicks the real writing they’ll be doing in this class, since most of my assignments and projects must be typed.
What is surprising to me is the force with which all of my students are pounding away at their keyboards! It is a powerful sound. As I listen, it occurs to me that I should ask students to write privately in the computer lab more often. Most of them have created about a 1/2 page of writing in only twelve minutes; that is pretty phenomenonal, considering most of them will at some point ask me how they’ll possibly generate three pages on a particular paper topic. I should create prompts that inspire them to generate writing at the beginning of computer lab classes!