Critique Essay. Do students lose more than they gain in online writing classes?
Courses that fulfill the General Education Requirements (GERs) at UMUC all have a common theme—technological transformations. In following this theme this semester in WRTG391, you will be critiquing an author on her views on online writing courses.
The critique essay asks you to look at a source with a critical eye and discuss its strengths and weaknesses. It will incorporate source material summary into its discussion but will also evaluate that source material.
Please write your critique essay on the following article. This article is available to you in the ereserves section of our class.
Kiefer, K. (2007). Chapter 8: Do students lose more than they gain in online writing classes? In, Brave New Classrooms (pp. 141-151). Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
Considerations for this Essay:
You are taking WRTG 391 online or in hybrid format. In either case, you are involved significantly in online instruction in your class.
Kiefer argues in her essay that writing courses may not work well online. She provides various reasons for making her argument.
You might agree with her. Or you might agree with her on some points but question her on other points. Or you might disagree with her entirely. In this essay, you will evaluate her arguments and critique them.
In this essay, you will do the following:
- Introduce the topic and introduce the author and essay. Then state your thesis.
- Summarize the author’s argument or arguments. Your opinion is not included here. You simply summarize the author’s points.
- Critique the author.
- Evaluate the author’s argument or arguments.
- Respond to the author. Note what you agree with and what you disagree with. You will incorporate at least two other sources into this evaluation and response.
- Conclude the essay.
Module 1 in our class, which can be accessed in Content, provides additional advice on organizing the critique. In addition, click here for a video tutorial on organizing a critique essay
Article Critique: Kiefer’s argument on Online Writing Classes
The increased adoption of online education caused by the numerous online platforms for the dissemination and sharing of information and knowledge is an example of the influence of the increased online interaction experienced following the internet era. Online learning and teaching is viewed as the wave of the future considering its influence on the education sector. However, teachers of writing and education experts have differing opinions on whether the trend benefits the students or whether online writing students lose more than they gain from the online classes. In Do Students Lose more than they Gain in Online Writing Classes?, Kate Kiefer argues that online writing courses may be inefficient and that with poor implementation students may lose more than they gain from the programs. Kiefer is a professor of English and a composition specialist who teaches undergraduate composition and graduate composition theory courses at the Colorado State University. Her expertise on online writing courses and writing, in general, is unquestionable. Through a critical analysis and evaluation of Kiefer’s arguments and integration of other expert arguments, this essay responds to the author by agreeing and disagreeing with her arguments in equal proportion.
Kiefer argues that online writing courses often fail students and that students may end up gaining nothing significant regarding developing writing skills and mastery. She attributes the inefficiency in teaching online writing classes to textual interactions that the technique employs. Further, the author asserts that teaching writing online denies the students the chance to interact wholly with students and teachers because all interactions are textual. Following this, she argues that unless the learner is sensitive to or possesses the will to examine the various functions of text in an online class then s/he can be trapped by personal constraints of understanding writing. As such, the author argues that the student may finish the course will less awareness of the contexts compared to students in the traditional classroom. Moreover, she argues that there are different opinions on whether the online writing classes can function as teaching and learning contexts equivalent to the traditional classrooms. However, she posits that many students continue to adopt online education due to political, social, and economic influence (Kiefer, 2008).
Through the integration and refutation of different arguments for and against online writing teaching and learning, Kiefer manages to develop a comprehensive and strong argument that online writing courses are often inefficient. The article reveals extensive research through the incorporation of different arguments by experts in online education. Such arguments form a basis upon which Kiefer develops her arguments. For instance, while the majority argue for online writing, she identifies the shortcomings of the approach but agrees that effective implementation of the online writing classes can enhance effectiveness in writing. Moreover, the author outlines the different elements that limit the efficiency of teaching writing online in an articulate way that makes the reader understand the shortcomings of the method. However, she asserts that the concerns are often ignored as pressures to attract students remains a major issue of concern (Kiefer, 2008). The presentation of the ideas and the analysis of different arguments in the development of her arguments enhances the credibility of the article and makes it understandable and applicable in research on the topic.
According to Wankel and Blessinger (2012), textual interaction in online writing classes immerse students fully in situated writing when compared to the traditional classroom. The traditional face-to-face student-teacher and student-student interaction often do not concentrate or involve writing and thus may sometimes prove ineffective in teaching writing. However, I agree with Kiefer that interaction is critical for the overall development of the student as a writer and a learner, and thus the all-textual interaction of online courses limit efficiency in learning and teaching writing. The skills that the traditional classroom offers foster the development of critical skills essential for efficient writing such as creativity and social skills among others. While numerous authors support Kiefer’s arguments, they assert that online education remains under constant change as people pinpoint the shortcomings and improve them or adopt the new technologies that continue to emerge. Such changes have result in the development of online discussion platforms where students interact effectively and discuss (Stern, 2004).
In conclusion, I disagree with the
author’s argument that online classes may not work well and that online
students often lose more than they gain. As online writing teachers continue to
adopt measures that encourage students to remain focused on the course
objectives, sensitive, and motivated to minimize the influence of personal constraints
on their learning process, the efficiency of the courses continues to increase.
Moreover, I believe that the proper implementation of online teaching and the
integration of different online tools may make an online class more efficient
that the traditional classroom and students may gain more from the online
writing courses. For instance, personalized, transparent, clear and focused
feedback in online writing and creating a platform for student-student
interaction may cover for the face-to-face interaction offered in the
traditional classroom (McVey, 2008).
Kiefer, K. (2008). Do students lose more than they gain in online writing classes? In J. Lockard, Brave new classrooms : democratic education & the internet (pp. 141-151). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
McVey, M. (2008). Writing in an Online Environment: Student Views of “Inked” Feedback. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 20 (1), 39-50.
Stern, B. S. (2004). A Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in an Undergraduate Foundations of American Education Course. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal) 4 (2), 196-213.
Wankel, L. A., & Blessinger, P. (2012). Increasing student engagement and retention using social technologies : Facebook, e-portfolios and other social networking services. Bingley: Emerald.