Studies Explore Whether the Internet Makes Students Better Writers

What influence does all of the brief-communication like texting, blogs, and twitter have on students’ ability to perform well in writing tasks for college, career and life? The article below cites a Stanford study exploring this very topic. While students are, arguably, writing more today than ever, the writing is of a brief nature. To get ready for college and career writing, students will need to think more thoroughly at the outset, review their work once the write it and often consider two or more drafts to get it high-quality. This is a process which most students will have to learn and high schools will need to teach so that students can be college-ready.

In the world of work, writing is often expedient. However, there are many times when writing cannot be done quickly without a high cost. Students will need to develop the judgment to know the difference.

Finally, faculty will need to understand the ways in which students write—texting, blogs, Twitter, FaceBook—so that they can help bridge the gap between what they do now and what they need to learn. If faculty cannot make this leap, they likely will not connect with students in ways that will be lasting.

Chronicle of Higher Education

As a student at Stanford University, Mark Otuteye wrote in any medium he could find. He wrote blog posts, slam poetry, to-do lists, teaching guides, e-mail and Facebook messages, diary entries, short stories. He wrote a poem in computer code, and he wrote a computer program that helped him catalog all the things he had written.

But Mr. Otuteye hated writing academic papers. Although he had vague dreams of becoming an English professor, he saw academic writing as a “soulless exercise” that felt like “jumping through hoops.” When given a writing assignment in class, he says, he would usually adopt a personal tone and more or less ignore the prompt.

“I got away with it,” says Mr. Otuteye, who graduated from Stanford in 2006. “Most of the time.”

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