Based on the premise that computers have now become cultural and cognitive artifacts with which and not from which learners interact on a daily basis, this chapter focuses on best practices in preparing and engaging digital natives to become tomorrow’s leaders of a global knowledge economy that is increasingly dependent on electronic modes of communications. Using a study based on online tools in a writing course taught at the University of Victoria (Canada), we take a qualitative interpretative stance to explain the opportunities and challenges of learning and teaching in such environments. We comment on such aspects as the need to properly address learner’s functional skills (or lack off), the various tools that can be used to engage and motivate learners, and the need to go beyond methods based on delivery in order to better focus on the development of multiliteracies, in particular critical literacy and functional literacy. Our argument, grounded in cognitive and sociocultural theories of learning, favors an interdisciplinary approach while focusing on disciplines that are typically housed in the humanities, in particular second language academic programs. Our discussions and conclusions move from these case studies to a more general reflection on the extent to which electronic environments are reshaping higher education.
Caws, C.G. (2012), "Engaging Second/Foreign Language Students through Electronic Writing Tasks: When Learning Design Matters", Wankel, L.A. and Blessinger, P. (Ed.) Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Social Technologies (Cutting-Edge Technologies in Higher Education, Vol. 6 Part B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 91-119. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2044-9968(2012)000006B006Download as .RIS
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