Online Instructiion and Creative Writing

In the past six semesters I have used online courses in teaching EFL courses to freshman students. Blackboard and Nicenet were used as a supplement to in-class instruction. We used our PC's and internet connection from home. Students posted stories and poems that they read on the internet or in books and liked to share, and wrote short paragraphs related to the themes covered in class and textbook. I encouraged them to write for communication and not to worry about grammatical and spelling mistakes. I never edited their posts not corrected their errors. Positive comments were always given. Students commentated on each other's threads and were always supportive of each other. They were enthusiastic and felt free to write and not to worry about mistakes. Few weeks after the beginning of the semester (the first course), a student asked me if she could post anything. To my surprise, she posted a poem that she wrote. The students, as well as myself, were extremely thrilled. She received complements and I gave her extra credit and a gift. Soon few more students had the courage to post their own poems. In the following semesters, I started to tell the students that I had creative writers in my previous courses and would like them to write their own poems and stories and post them on the discussion board. Few would respond. In each class, I had between 5-9 students (about 5-10%) who were creative writers and who were able to compose their own poems, write their own short stories and paragraphs about their own experiences although they were in their first semester of college and were of an intermediate proficiency level.

Prof. Reima Al-jarf
King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/aljarf

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Tags: &, EFL, Technology

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