Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum (ECAC)
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) ECAC Home
Donna Reiss
Active Learning Online

Benefits for Students and Teachers
  1. Active Learning Pedagogy and Practice: As the remaining items in this list illustrate, students participate actively, using language, images, and media to interact with course content, with classmates, with teachers, and with others.
  2. Reflection: With asynchronous electronic communication such as email, Web discussion boards, and Weblogs, students have time to compose, review, and revise their writing before they submit it to teachers and others. One result is edited written interaction with asynchronous discussions not bound by time and place.
  3. Spontaneity: Chat, MOOs, instant messaging, and other informal, synchronous written interactions allow for brainstorming, planning sessions, quick student-teacher or student-student chats, and study sessions before exams not bound by place. In addition, these conversations produce transcripts that can be used later and shared with others not online during the chat.
  4. Audience Awareness and Accountability: When composing to and for classmates they know will read and respond to rather than assess or grade them, students develop awareness of authentic audiences that may motivate additional attention to their writing as well as improve their responses to topics assigned by their professors.
  5. Participation: Subject area classes become more communication-rich. Shy and less vocal students who are reluctant to speak in class or to talk with professors individually may feel more comfortable with online communication.
    • Students who have more confidence in their writing than in their speaking have a chance to demonstrate their thinking.
    • Students who have more confidence in their speaking than their writing have a chance to develop their writing.
  6. Editing and Publishing Opportunities: Participation in a class discussion list, discussion board, or Weblog is instant publication of student writing. Online documents are shareable for a variety of editing, revising, and publishing activities. More thoughtful and reflective individual and collaborative publications such as digital portfolios and Web projects may be shared with wider audiences.
  7. Collaboration and Teamwork: Various group and collaborative composing activities are possible, including small group discussions and complex Web research and development. These projects can be within or across disciplines; written and visual compositions or multimedia; and local, regional, national, or international.
  8. Rhetorical Awareness: Student writers, researchers, and media developers make rhetorical decisions for various purposes, audiences, genres, disciplines, and professions.
  9. Innovation and Variety for Teachers: Many teachers consider their teaching and research invigorated by the opportunity to use communication technology. They reflect on and revise their teaching for computer-enhanced, mixed-mode, or totally online classes. Teachers can take on a variety of roles: mentor, facilitator, expert, collaborator, authority, co-learner.
  10. Creative Expression: Students expand their literacy by making choices about which media to combine with which words and by developing original graphics and media as well as writing critically and reflectively about those choices.

ECAC Home | Active Learning Online
for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©1996 by
D. Reiss
modified slightly and copyright ©3 October 2014 by
D. Reiss