Gouge, Catherine. “Conversation at a Crucial Moment: Hybrid Courses and the Future of Writing Programs.” College English 71:4 (March 2009) 32-362.
WPAs need to anticipate, not react, to moves to create online courses and curriculum in their writing programs. By anticipating, they will be able to retain control over the design and assessment of the courses, a design and assessment that should reflect the goals of the entire program, not just respond to the constraints of the technology of online teaching. Gouge contests the idea that assessment in hybrid courses is more objective than in face-to-face courses by looking particularly at the hybrid courses offered through Texas Tech in its ICON (Interactive Composition Online Program). Gouge’s article includes a brief section of the origins of online teaching – pointing out that it has its roots in centuries-old correspondance studies – and explains both the advantages and disadvantages of “hybrid” courses.
“There is no such thing as value-free, objective hierarchy of power, even if that power is distributed” (relates to assessment in online courses.) (355).
“In spite of ICON’s best intentions to provide students wiht a fairer assessment process and in spite of its explicit claims of the possibility of objectivity in evaluation, the structure of the evaluating process ultimately undermines these claims and asserts the value of the subjective position of the classroom instructor – the instructor with the knowledge and experience to make him or her a final authority. The result is a program that propagates the myth that ‘fairer grading’ means that students should be evaluated objectively. However, the result is also a hybrid program structure that undermines what it purports to value and values what its structure is claimed to have been designed to prevent” (356).
“We need to be careful not to allow the technology to structure our programs, even if our programs are being restructured to incorporate the best uses of new technologies. Writing programs ought to be designed such that the program structure supports the logic of the rhetorical processes that the program intends to teach students” (342).
with hybrid courses – lead with the values of the program
WPAs have the responsibility to teach themselves about online teaching to act as the best advocates and designers for their programs