Tips For Paperless Classroom Management
The article provides a very different approach in which Dan Davis discusses his experience as an English professor in both regular classes and paperless classes. This article, titled The Paperless Classroom. Professor Davis explores the benefits of a paperless classroom and slightly acknowledges the arguments against it.
I have trouble accepting an entirely paperless classroom, especially when it comes to English. I feel that the language is fundamentally speech, and it is necessary to use speech in order to effective teach English composition and literature. This is difficult to explain, but Professor Davis lists complaints other professors have about virtual classes, one being “the red pen.” He later states that with e-valuation, he does not write directly on the students’ work so they remain “pure.”
My most valuable possession is a collection of writing drafts with my professors’ comments in the margins. Yes, even some in red ink. I only wish I would have held on to more. I have four drafts of “The Hollow,” a poem I wrote in college. Each one has Professor Goodman’s comments and notes. I do not feel that I currently write poetry as well without this feedback.
Professor Davis may argue that I can get the same feedback through an online class. It is not the same. It is a different process. I think that our brains work differently when we type than when we write. I write differently on the typewriter than I do on paper. I don’t know exactly how to explain this, but it has to do with the differing fine motor activity. Handwriting requires different skill and different brain activity than typing. I write my papers by hand and then type them. I print most of the articles and some of the classroom discussion. And yes. I write on them, in red.
He also laments about a class he taught in a hanger. Well, the conditions were not ideal and as he notes, the students were exhausted. I don’t want to do anything for four consecutive hours. I do see how online instruction eliminates scheduling problems that lead to a class that is four hours long. I just feel a little insulted by his extreme examples. Like the bane of his existence was a load of paperwork that either wound up flying in the air or in a bin that he carried for two semesters that gave him back pain. It’s just a little too much melodrama.
This is not to say that I do not agree with most of what Professor Davis states in this article. Sure, I like online classes, and I firmly believe that hybrid courses are the ideal. There are many benefits to teaching online, but subjects like theater and English do require some interaction beyond email. I still plan to explore blackboard.com further. The site provides tools for instruction for elementary and secondary education. I will probably use both of the sites suggested by these articles. But I will do this because the resources are so good. Not because traditional resources are so bad.