In The Digital Writing Workshop, Troy Hicks explains the benefits of working with Internet writing to help student writing. He states, “Moreover, many students appreciate the way in which we build relationships with them through digital writing connections” (Hicks 35). This means, students can strengthen their writing habits by working with their teachers and classmates online. Also, if teachers have a course site online or students are researching something, typically there are links on that website leading to another one. Links in this sense are helpful to search through things because one website is leading to another, which will most likely contain similar content. This can then help the student better understand the subject with more than one perspective. For the reverse side of this, students could submit work online and have their sources at the bottom. This way, their teacher can click on the link to see their sources instead of looking them up by hand or not at all when students hand in paper copies of their work.
Hicks also states a benefit about online collaborative working. He explains, “Teachers and peers can also offer feedback using collaborative word processing…” (Hicks 36). Having this feedback online is easier to keep track of because there are not multiple pieces of paper the student is looking at once if it is all one document. Hicks concludes this idea by stating students are able to evaluate the progress of their work by seeing this.
There are disadvantages to always working online for school, whether it is with a blog, classroom site, or resource links. Hicks states that it can be confusing for students to following all of these tools because of the multiple accounts. Furthermore, this could get confusing if students have more than one teacher using online tools such as a course site and blog because students could loose track of which one is for which class. This could then hinder the instruction of writing because students may feel overwhelmed or confused with multiple online sites and not put as much effort in, especially if students are used to more classroom engagement using paper.
This article focuses on online courses for students and how it can be helpful since it can only consist of online group work: Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment