Currents in Electronic Literacy

The CWRL Colloquium: A Window into the World of Computer-enhanced Teaching and Learning

by M. A. Syverson

  1. This special issue of Currents in Electronic Literacy is dedicated to work presented at the ninth annual Spring Colloquium of the Computer Writing and Research Lab (CWRL). Since 1986, the CWRL has fostered ongoing inquiry, experiment, development, and practice that explores the uses of technology to support teaching and learning in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate courses. While the majority of these courses are rhetoric and composition courses, the CWRL also hosts literature courses, such as Literary Contests and Contexts, and courses in the Division of Rhetoric and Composition's new concentration in Technology, Literacy, and Culture.

  2. Each spring, faculty and graduate instructors teaching in the CWRL share what they are teaching and learning in our networked computer classes, present projects they and their students have developed, and discuss ongoing research efforts. Although I have now been working in the CWRL for eight years, I always learn new ways of thinking, new practices, and new technological approaches at the colloquium.

  3. We are fortunate to have strong institutional support for the work of the Lab, which provides graduate instructors reduced teaching loads in exchange for staffing time; this time can then be used to learn new applications, experiment with a wide variety of electronic media, develop research projects, and informally share skills and knowledge. The value of this dynamic and robust ecosystem has been proven through the production of more than 150 publications and conference presentations; the creation of software applications such as the Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment, Critical Tools, and the Learning Record Online; and the development of an astonishing number of innovative courses.

  4. The articles presented here represent a tiny fraction of the many contributions CWRL instructors and faculty have made to our understanding of teaching and learning in computer-enhanced environments. I'm very pleased to be asked to introduce this window into the inspiring work currently in progress in the CWRL. We hope this issue will prove helpful to faculty and instructors currently teaching in computer classrooms as well as those who are considering the possibilities.
Please cite this article as Currents in Electronic Literacy Spring 2002 (6),