Friday, November 20, 2009

Research on writing for the Internet

Stanford professor Andrea Lunsford headed a five-year longitudinal study of student writing. She and her colleagues followed the writing -- in and out of class -- of 189 students during their four years at Stanford and their first year after graduation (about 15,000 pieces of writing). Some of the findings were:

  • Students are writing more than ever
  • Some of their “life writing” is profound
  • Their writing is done to achieve some purpose or goal
A recent account of student blog posts in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings supports the idea that life writing can be profound. We should not underestimate our students.

You will find two videos on this study and related work here:
  • Interview of Lunsford on the study, 12 min. 18 sec. (left tab)
  • Moderated discussion among four professors, including Lunsford, on digital literacy, 39 min. 30 sec. (right tab)
You may also be interested in following the research at the Center for Writing in Digital Environments at Michigan State University.

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