Teresa, M. "’Trying To Make A Dolla Outa Fifteen Cent’: Teaching
Composition with the Internet at an HBCU." Computers and Composition
20 (2003) 359-373.
Redd begins with an account of the ongoing economic struggles of HBCUs and
the impact of such funding shortfalls on technological access. The article
introduces a technology profile of Howard University; Redd, a professor of
English who teaches composition and leads a WAC initiative, tells of the role of
computers in Howard’s writing courses, underscores the realities of the digital
divide with statistical support (363), and finally turns to pedagogical
resourcefulness or, that is, how to "make a dolla out of fifteen cent."
Computers first appeared in Howard’s composition program in 1990. Soon
thereafter, Redd taught in a wired classroom, but it was only because she was
invited by the engineering program to teach in a blended curriculum. Much of the
fanfare about technological improvements reflect changes in disciplines other
than English. Because of ongoing access problems, teachers tend to ask students
to partake in "low-level cognitive activities" (365).
Redd’s pedagogical response involves doing "culture work": creating "safe
houses" for African American English, engaging in intercultural collaboration
via email (students from Howard working with students from Montana State), and
"publishing Afrocentric material on the Web" (365). To conclude the article,
Redd refers to the HBCU Technology Assessment Study, which warns of the
continuing risk of a broadening digital divide.
Terms: digital divide (360), wireless umbrella (361), Howard Legends
web sites (369).
"Twenty years ago when Computers and Composition first went to press,
there were no computers for composition at Howard University" (359).
"To finance this high level of technology, Howard has assumed a higher
level of debt. But by investing in technology, we have leapt ahead of
practically every HBCU, most of which depend upon relatively slow T-1 lines (NAFEO,
2000), instead of high-speed T-3 connections like ours" (360).
"The shortage of wired classrooms is typical at HBCUs." (361).
"Contrary to what current theories would have predicted, both the Spelman and
Howard students were not interested in ‘freeing’ themselves from race within the
colorless space of the Internet but in situating ‘their cyborg selves within an
African American discursive tradition’ and making ‘their racial identity visible
to a networked diasporic community‘ (p. 236)" (369).
- Related sources:
- Johnson, Steven. Interface Culture. San Francisco: Harper Edge,
- Pratt, Mary Louise. "Arts of the Contact Zone. Professing in the
Contact Zone. Ed. Janice Wolff. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2002: 1-18.
- Selfe, Cynthia, and Richard Selfe, Jr. "The Politics of the Interface."
CCC 45 (1994): 480–504.